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I'm being blackmailed for $850 for a 'copyright image' from "License Compliance Services"

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by JimmyTwoTimes, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. JimmyTwoTimes

    JimmyTwoTimes Registered Member

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    I've received nasty letters from a company called "License Compliance Services" which is owned by Getty Images (they are trying to look independent). They've sent me a bunch of letters all with legal threats and saying that if I don't pay $800 now then there will be legal repercussions etc etc....it's extortion and it's really really bad. It's an appalling way to do business.

    Let me explain their 'business model'....they (LCS Global and another bunch of idiots in a company called '500px') invite professional photographers to copyright their images and they (LCS Global) will go ahead and then launch bots to find their copyrighted images. Obviously it's in the interest of the photographer to plant their images all over the web hoping to snare someone to "commit crime" and then be hounded by Getty Images.

    My crime? An image - is apparently - under copyright? Really?? No DMCA, just straight-up - pay $800 or legal issues. What if the image was sourced from a resource that looked legit? Then what?

    I'll happily fight them all the way for various reasons and I'm going to demand to see the agreement that they have with the 'photographer' etc etc.

    Long story short - these guys are really crooks. All was required was a simple DMCA, take it down, and move on - the immediate demand for money without any evidence aside from some shitty screenshot is appalling. I've got a pair of balls and I'll fight them back but imagine all those mom and pop type of online businesses and other people that might feel intimidated and pay up. It's a classic move - fear people out with 'legal threats' and legal jargon and scare them into paying. It's total bullshit.

    It's really bad.

    Thoughts? Has anyone else be hounded by these idiots?
     
  2. johnwild77

    johnwild77 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I wouldn't even pay attention to it. Legally in court they wouldn't have a foot to stand on. How do they even quantify the $800?
     
  3. patriotnews

    patriotnews Senior Member

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    Just be aware that if they go forward with a copyright claim suit, you could be facing a max penalty of $150,000 PER infraction(as the law allows it).
    Be careful attempting to negotiate, as that admits fault and can be entered into evidence.
    Also save ALL communications from them, because if they are literally saying "pay or else" or really close, it can help you in court if they decide to sue.
    Also, it helps you to show that image ALL over without protections(watermarks, etc), not just on client sites or their site, but on Google images as royalty free, Flickr royalty free, and free picture sites, find the image and screencap where AND note the location; again this can help you in court if they decide to sue.

    I have been the person who has had their copyrighted work stolen and have gone after people for it: so take my legal advice with a grain of salt.
    I have also had someone come after me for claiming I infringed on their copyright, so I have been in your shoes there: so take my advice as learned.
     
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  4. NSMITH15

    NSMITH15 Newbie

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    These companies work similarly to the firms that send out mass violation notices to people caught pirating movies online. They use an automated system for flagging and contacting offenders in the hopes that they will obtain quick payouts. If they send out 100,000 of these notices and get say 1% of people that are scared enough to pay out the payoff that still represents $800,000.

    Do they have legal grounds to go after you? Yeah they do, you used something that isn't yours for a commercial gain.

    Will they? Probably not.

    This is actually one of the few topics brought up on BHW that I actually have enough experience with to comment on. Haha
     
  5. PaperToy

    PaperToy Regular Member

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    It happened to me last year and I had to pay it or else the total court costs would have exceeded $5,000.

    Once they find you've used a copyrighted image, you're screwed. There's really no way around it. Anything related to "Getty Images", you want to avoid.

    The only thing you can do is "negotiate" the price down, so you end up paying like $600.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  6. offwhite

    offwhite Regular Member

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    I would take the image down straight away
     
  7. patriotnews

    patriotnews Senior Member

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    I have gone after people for stealing my artwork before. I have asked for varying amounts, from $400-2000. I have come to those figures based upon traffic of site, also size of image used, also what is usage(I charge more for advertising then in an article), also there are tools out there that help calculate the usage fees you can charge, then I personally, usually tack on an extra couple hundred for a "finder's fee" of me having to find my own work.
     
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  8. patriotnews

    patriotnews Senior Member

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  9. Eternal1912

    Eternal1912 Power Member

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    Simply contact a good lawyer who knows what to do in such cases. Pay him 20-100$ for the consultation and he will tell you how to proceed with this. Delete the copyrighted image and talk only after you've consulted a lawyer.
     
  10. Hawkster

    Hawkster Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Take it down and ignore the fuckers
     
  11. JimmyTwoTimes

    JimmyTwoTimes Registered Member

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    Love it :) Couldn't agree anymore. I don't like bully's (who does) and their behavior of precisely that. What's wrong with a DMCA - no, these pricks end up PAY PAY PAY LEGAL DEATH THREAT PAY LAST NOTICE etc etc
     
  12. NSMITH15

    NSMITH15 Newbie

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    Just be careful man, although those notices are bullying people for a quick payoff copyright infringement for commercial use can actually make it financially viable for them to go after you. Like others have said, spending the $100-$150 and get a consultation with a copyright lawyer is what I would do in your situation. They could potentially really hit you hard.

    Saying f**k the system is great until the system f**ks you back.
     
  13. PaperToy

    PaperToy Regular Member

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    You can't just ignore them. They'll send a court order for ten times more than the damages from the initial contact. You'll end up paying $5,000 or more very easily.
     
  14. patriotnews

    patriotnews Senior Member

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    And just a point of clarity: all images, when created possess copyright, but registering it with the US Copyright office entitles someone to sue for MORE, plus damages.
     
  15. SkyrocketSEO

    SkyrocketSEO Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    If you are not from USA/EU you dont have to worry about it. Are you?
     
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  16. ritafairclough

    ritafairclough Regular Member

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    I had one of these years back. I just removed the image and ignored them, job done and I didn't hear anything back at all.
     
  17. JimmyTwoTimes

    JimmyTwoTimes Registered Member

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    yes that's my plan. I haven't confirmed receipt of any of their letters. There comes a point when, surely, if they can't get hold of me - what's the point? They can escalate the fees but people move address and mail can go unopened etc etc - or am i wrong?
     
  18. MoneyValue

    MoneyValue Junior Member

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    Extortion? Blackmail? I'm not sure you know what those words mean.

    In your case, you simply used an image that you were not allowed to use, and now the company is coming after you. They are not required to send you a DCMA and leave it and that. They can go straight to asking for money to settle this matter privately before escalating it to the courts for a larger sum.

    There is nothing to fight here, it's a losing proposition. You used an image that you didn't have the license to use. Unless you can produce the rights to use that image, no matter what you tell or show Getty, you will lose in court.
     
  19. JimmyTwoTimes

    JimmyTwoTimes Registered Member

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    Getty Images goes after small business owners who don't have the legal resources to fight and continually barrage them for use of the images that they may, or may not, own a copyright for. In my opinion, it's a predatory company with bad moral principles - ok, not quite mafia style but near enough...
     
  20. MoneyValue

    MoneyValue Junior Member

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    Not quite.

    Getty Images would LOVE to go after large businesses that infringe on their copyright, but large businesses know better than to just grab a random image of Google and run with it.

    Small businesses on the other hand prefer to stay oblivious to what is or not allowed, and end up infringing on things such as copyrights in this case.

    It's not a case of who is Getty targeting, it's a case of who fucks up most aka small businesses