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BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience:  I am a tech attorney and I represent clients with technology, internet and intellectual property matters
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I have a question concerning copy write laws. I have a website

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I have a question concerning copy write laws. I have a website that sells pet supplies and all the pages were set by me. I received a letter from a company, Getty Imaging, accusing me of using one of the images with out licensing. I am not guilty of this accusation. First off, they showed me a picture of a bird that was with a sale price. I do not sell birds, only pet supplies. I went through all the Web pages and did not locate the picture that they said I used without licensing. Now they want me to pay $780 for something I did not do. They show the name of my domain with a lot of numbers, symbols, etc but it showed different birds and other animals that I do not sell. With todays programs and technology, pictures can be cut and copied onto other sites just to scam people. The company handed it to their legal department and said if I do not pay, the cost will be higher. How do I protect myself from a company like this. I already sent a complaint to the BBB and the Attorney General of Seattle. From the start, they were insistent and won't take no for an answer. I am a senior citizen and with a not so successful business, I can't afford to hire a lawyer for this nonsense. I hope you can help me.

My domain is www.petfriendlysupplies.com

Thank You,
Rochelle Liss

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm an Intellectual Property litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

Getty Images is notorious for doing things like this. Ultimately, the burden is on Getty to prove that you actually used this image on your website, and if they can't prove this - - which they should not be able to if you never used it - - then you should be ok legally speaking.

However, this doesn't mean that you won't be sued as you can't stop that unless you pay Getty some amount of money (usually, they will accept far less than the demanded amount). But, if you don't settle and they sue, you have a right to demand strict proof of their claim and the judge will hold them to that standard. If they can't prove their case, then you obviously would win.

At this juncture, you can ask Getty for strict proof that this image was ever on your website - - like a screen shot, etc. If they can't produce something, then their case is pretty weak. Also, it isn't usual (in my experience) for them to actually sue because of the cost involved. It's more of a bluff game.

Roger, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 31009
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Kirk,


 


They sent me a screen shot that was not one I put on the site. I think they are trying to scam me. They say that it is their proof, but in fact, it is not on my website when I check for it. I really know that they are harassing me to pay them money. How do I approach this?


 

Well, you should have data of your own to prove that this screen shot is not yours.

You should have some type of log history to prove what your site consisted of since it went online. I am NOT a computer savvy person, but I'm sure you or maybe a local computer engineer could extract the images ever used on your site to show that this one has never appeared.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Kirk,


 


Isn't proof alone that I do not sell birds? I do not have birds displayed for sale. I do not have access to a computer engineer and can't afford to hire one. How do I prove that they are notorious for doing this?


 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
I did not hear back from kirk Adams and was not quite finished with my question.
Hello, I will now be assisting you!

unfortunately it's not proof that you do not sell bird supplies as the image could have been mistakenly used and that mistaken use would constitute infringement.

Question: did Getty indicate in their letter a URL where they claim the image was? If they did, what happens when you go to that URL?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi,


It goes to my to the home front page of my site, but the picture does not appear anywhere. I am being harassed and I almost feel that I should turn around a sue them. I did not accidentally use the photo or create a page that they are showing.


 


 

In such case you need to send them a statement that says exactly that.:

That 1) this images never appeared on your site 2) that the URL they included is not a valid URL and the URL never existed on your site 3) that you demand that they cease and desist from further contacting you and harassing you and 4) that if they continue to make false allegation that you reserve the right to take them to court for fraudulent misrepresentation, harassment and collect any damages you incur in protecting your interests and good will!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Kirk,


 


Thank you for your assistance. I will write a letter stating what you suggested. If they choose to hire a lawyer to sue me, then let them take me to court.


 


My best,


 


Rochelle Liss

I am not Kirk. As you recall Kirk was not available and I stepped in. Therefore I believe you rewarded the wrong expert (I am the new expert that kept answering your all you questions)

If this is the case please let me know and I will ask customer service to re-direct your rating to me.
BizIPEsq., Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience: I am a tech attorney and I represent clients with technology, internet and intellectual property matters
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Hi -

I'm sorry, but for some reason I wasn't notified of your earlier post. Usually, questions are routed to us instead of another expert stepping into an ongoing conversation.

Nevertheless, the fact that you don't sell birds is certainly practical proof that your use of such an image is very unlikely. HOWEVER, this would not be sufficient legal proof. You will have to rely on documented evidence that you didn't use the image if Getty attempts to establish that you did.

Please let me know if you need anything further.

thanks.

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