DoctorC - 7:47 pm on Aug 19, 2011 (gmt 0)
Freedom, they do have accounts, but their users post websited with images obtained legally, illegally or where the user does not know the law or does not believe the image to be licensed (certainly not Rights Managed). What small business would knowingly use a $9,000.00 RM image on page 3 of their website? Alternate artwork that is RF for $1.00-$5.00 is the way to go, but the site builder may not know that they just used a seemingly free image that is claimed to be worth $9,000.00. So many people just do not know about copyrights.
Also, the possible users that would see the site could be concentrated to a 10 mile radius and that is not the same as a magazine with a circulation of 300,000 users.
Putting up a website is not that hard with the software tools that are readily available. Making it legal with RF media is also easy and I would say cheap too. But how many people know about the Getty Image lawsuits? Everyone should know and everyone should get licensed artwork.
When people get demand letters (some are for amounts like $4,000 and $9,000.00), then the small business owenr needs to deal with the legal hassles, the payment, Etc. That leaves less money for marketing, less money for website development and of course more badwill for Getty Images.
DO YOU THINK GETTY IMAGES IS A SNOW WHITE ANGEL? Lookup the lawsuits aganst Getty Images. They are being sued by photographers in a class action lawsuit where expensive RM images got bundled for as little as $2.00 each, thus diluting the artists value as an artist. In a recent case, a famous court sketch artist is now suing Getty Images and Associated Press for selling her drawings (some for more than $10,000 each)and she has NO agreement with them. Getty has the Mercedes-Benz logo in some of their images and that violates trademarks. Do you think that Getty knowingly does this or is it an accident? Unlike 99.9% of the websites or people that use images, Getty Images has full knowledge of copyright law, yet they accidentally screwed up a few things. I do not feel bad for them, THEY should know better. I cannot say the same for the other 99.9% of the website owners.
Suing small businesses for $1,000.00 or more is indeed causing attention to be paid ot this. It is causing web-bot blocking, directory blocking, image removal, licensed image purchases (mostly RF I would think) and of course the purchases are probably not with any Getty Image owned sites, so they are helping their competitors.
Yahoo and AOL hosted sites do not necessarily have legal images. These sites might not contain legal media. Let's inform the public that they need to pay attention to this. I don't want any of my clients to get a demand letter. I am sending out a newsletter to 1,600 of my contacts so that they know the problem and can pass it on to their customers. But I am also blocking Getty's bots just because I can (oh, and it is legal too, but their bots might not be, see the eBay case).