p2pnet view P2P | Freedom:- p2pnet is a small, one-man site based on Vancouver Island in BC, Canada. In a recent comment post, “I’m one guy with no resources who’s running at a loss”, I said. “I write about what I see and hear, and what I believe … ”
And that’s always been the case.
Because p2pnet isn’t a business, it’s a commitment, and I’ve been on the verge of shutting down several times, the most recent being when I (once again) ran out of money.
In November, 2009, “It was looking as though this coming Yuletide season might have been the last for p2pnet”, I said, going on >>>
But Christmas has come early.
Cliff Haerden, who runs MultiBox.be in Belgium and who’s also a p2pnet regular, is donating a server, with all the bells and whistles.
And that means p2pnet will keep on truckin’.
‘Pay 700 Euros – or else!’
p2pnet is under threat again, this time because of Getty Images.
The company sells pictures and it’s going after someone hosted by my friend Cliff and his partner and former schoolfriend, Bart Colemont, over in Belgium.
They’ve been running Multibox.be since 2003 and, “One of my clients (around 500 unique visitors a month) had an image on her website found on Google images with a resolution of 100 x 100 pixels”, says Cliff. “All the other photo’s on the site are selfmade.
“No problem until today she got a letter demanding 700 euro’s within 14 days.
“The company sending this crap? Getty Images.”
The Getty demand could mushroom to include other Multibox clients and if it does, it could mean Cliff and Bart would have to close down, cutting off 30 commercial sites and about 150 free sites “things we support like p2pnet” and “clubs, personal pages, family sites , etc …”
Cease & Desist
But the Multibox client isn’t alone.
Getty Images, sold to to private equity firm Hellman Friedman for $2.4 billion in 2008, according to the New York Times, is run by Mark Getty (right) and Jonathan Klein (left), and a long-established part of their business is to send extortionate demands to alleged transgressors of their alleged copyrights.
Said Random musings from a computer business owner in 2008 >>>
Recently, a client of mine who shall remain anonymous received a nasty letter from Getty Images, claiming copyright infringement and demanding an immediate “settlement amount” for images they claimed my client was using on their website without a license. The client had the website designed by an Indian firm many years ago and the content of the site was (obviously) represented to him as being completely OK.
My client, if in fact engaged in copyright infringement at all, was not willingly and intentionally doing so. The images were kind of stupid in my not-so-humble opinion anyway, and being the inheritor of the site’s maintenance tasks (or lack thereof, since nothing’s been changed beyond link targets), I removed the potentially infringing images, despite the fact that the threatening letter forwarded to me for review contains no actual proof of copyright.
The content of this letter is malicious, to say the least, and attempts to deceive the recipient into ignoring their legal rights. Furthermore, the letter asks for an outrageous “settlement” to the tune of $1,000 PER IMAGE…for images that aren’t even 300 dots across! I can’t imagine why anyone would pay fifty cents a pixel for ANY image. (Unless it’s porn, because you’d be shocked at just how many people look at the stuff and wreck their computer in the process by executing something claiming to be, say, a “Scarlett Johansson private porn movie” when it’s really a virus. Sheesh.)
I started searching for info on these people after this event occurred, and that’s when the really interesting tidbits started popping up…
A Google search for “getty images letter” yields ~856,000 results. They’ve been damned busy. Most of it is forum postings, but the real gem was this website that says it all, and I’ll leave you with a delicious excerpt from it:
Why is This Being Called “Legalized Extortion” and an “Extortion Letter Scheme”?
This is a descriptive term for Getty Images’ deliberate, malicious, bullying, and presumptuous letter campaign that engages in what is tantamount to legalized extortion. The letter in its entirety is both well-worded and well-constructed. It has been clearly been well thought out. Because of the deliberate construction and planning that goes into this letter campaign, it qualifes as a Scheme.
The Letter automatically presumes guilt of the recipient. The letter recipient is expected to provide proof of their innocence. In effect, the letter recipient is presumed guilty unless they prove their innocence.
Although the letter does provide for the possibility that the letter recipient was unaware and unintended of the alleged infringement, the Letter takes a heavy-handed and unforgiving approach of stating that they are responsible for all alleged “damages and liability”. The Letter automatically presumes Getty Images has been “damaged” whether or not that is actually true or proven.
Because this scheme relies heavily on the letter recipients ignorance of due legal process and people’s inherent fear of legal conflict as a result of that ignorance, it is considered by many as legal extortion.
That’s all, folks. On that site, you can find a lawyer who will represent you for $150 an hour against Getty Images, should you receive a nasty letter from them and feel the need to respond. Note that Getty Images has not filed one single lawsuit against ANY recipients of their extortion letter. This is no different than the RIAA extortion scheme attempting to sue “file sharers” even though no proof of actual sharing (and thus no damages) exist.
It appears Gettty Images isn’t so diligent in paying the people to whom it, in turn, owes copyright fees.
The same year “Kreindler & Kreindler LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against Getty Images in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of dozens of professional photographers whose images were incorporated without their permission into Getty’s new product ‘Premium Access’,” said the law firm, adding >>>
According to Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, Premium Access is not a rights managed product. “Getty has shirked its responsibility as a picture archive to track the use of plaintiffs’ images, and to set pricing per use in good faith on a commercially reasonable basis.” As a result, photographers have lost the ability to track the uses being made of their images.
Among the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit are some of the world’s leading photographers. Their photographs have been licensed by Getty to major media clients for as little as $2.08 for extensive, untracked use. According to Nelson “Getty’s prices have severely undercut the market for comparable photographs, damaged the future market for these photographs, and violated both the Rights Managed Image Distribution agreements Getty signed and the Uniform Commercial Code.”
Do not conduct business with Getty Images or any of its surrogates, such as iStockPhoto.com, because this kind of abuse should not be rewarded. If you have received a “settlement letter” from these scumbags, you can probably ignore it. I would recommend (A) removing the alleged infringing images anyway, (B) removing all copies of your site from archive.org’s Wayback Machine, and (C) waiting for Google’s cache of your website to refresh or vanish, before you initiate contact with Getty Images again, if you do so at all. You can also add entries to your robots.txt file to disallow the Internet Archive’s bot from caching up and archiving your site, and you can add META tags to each page that disallow ALL caching by robots; this will effectively reduce the chance that some third party can verify that the images ever existed, and give you plausible deniability: “I’m sorry, but no such image exists or has ever existed on this website. You did an excellent job of mocking up a screenshot, though; we appreciate your need to locate customers, but you are in error and we do not wish to license images from you if you choose to approach us this way.”
Meanwhile, Cliff and Bart will be talking to their lawyer about this latest example of a corporate copyright jackal in action.
Jon Newton - p2pnet
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian & military participation ~ Marshall McLuhan
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