Getty Images sued for Copyright Infringement…Again!

A pair of prominent courtroom sketch artists Shirley and Andrea Shepard filed suit on March 24, 2015 against Getty Images (US), Getty Images (Seattle) and Agence France Presse (AFP)for copyright infringement of some of their sketches. As many as 160 or more according to the complaint.

Seems AFP has been a client of the plaintiffs and had entered several licensing agreements, which were non-exclusive, non-assignable, and usage was limited to one-day editorial use. Further it was agreed and understood that said images
could not subsequently be sold, licensed, or sub-licensed.

The Shepards never agreed to transferring the copyright of any of their images to AFP, nor were they ever commissioned or on AFP’s payroll.

From the looks of the complaint AFP thought it was a good move to license said images to Getty, which Getty then made available for further licensing on their web-site without first vetting the image sources (sound familiar?) So in a nutshell we have AFP who appear to have infringed, Getty Images who have appeared to infringe and who knows how many others that purchased a license from getty to use the image..Some of the images even have a Getty Images watermark with them (Getty) claiming copyright, while other have an “AFP/Getty Images” watermark..none of them appear to credit the actual artist and owners of the copyrighted works..

I can see it now, getty will respond with something like “we did not know AFP did not own the images” and “that watermrk appears on all of our images on our site..”

The complaint also mentions who Getty Images is known for it’s heavy handed copyright enforcement, which I find equally amusing as this lil nugget Item #31 of the complaint) “Upon information and belief, Getty has engaged in a pattern and practice of failing to use due dilligence to confirm its copyrights in its collections, in failing to check the copyright status of the content it obtains/obtained from AFP, and has acted in continuing deliberate and/or reckless disregard of content creators’ rights in these collections.”

Will have to watch this closely and watch Getty Images squirm their little trolling asses off!

Read the Complaint Here

1 Comment

  1. I’m thinking Getty must believe that it is cheaper to pay their lawyers than to do the due diligence necessary to insure proper copyrights to the images on their sites, simply because they have been following this pattern of behavior for so darn long.

    Any real business that wanted to stop this practice, would have put in controls years ago to verify proper copyrights. It’s odd that they don’t seem to respect the very laws they quote when practicing copyright trolling.

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