I've seen that Getty Images has been discussed quite a bit here but I don't see anything too recent nor that fits my situation.
I run a small online store. As such, I don't believe in putting ads to other sites on any of my pages. One exception, at the very bottom of my home page, I put a link to Greendimes who offer a service to help stop SPAM. The link and banner ad are hosted by Commission Junction. To tell the truth, haven't looked at or checked out that link in years. Never made anything off of it; it never got it my way. Turns out that they ended their relationship with CJ but the banner ad continues to display. Somewhere along the way, the image changed, too. Not sure when. (Bad Webmaster!)
Yesterday I receive "the letter" from Getty Images demanding $965 for use of one of their images unless I can provide proof that I purchased a license. I had no idea what they were talking about. I take all of my own photos of my products. I run sites with a minimum of flash and glitz - preferring a simple, clean layout. No way I used something belonging to someone else. I even created the layout, etc. myself - no template purchase for me. So, where is this image? Even in their grainy, b&w image, I don't see what they're talking about. Finally, I zero in on the banner ad to Greendimes.
Note: I actually did the photo manipulation and math and discovered that the banner ad uses 6.6% of the original photo and only as a lightened background. These guys are picky!
Anyway, I contact Getty Images to tell them they're idiots (I was nice to Nancy - she's just answering a phone). I tell her that the image in question is 1) not for my business, 2) is a banner ad for another business, and 3) isn't even hosted on my server. It simply appears on my site in the code provided by CJ. How can any of this be on me? She went on about how the copyright law says I'm responsible for what appears on my site. I don't know the law and I wasn't going to argue with her. I've written to CJ to get them involved since they are the ones hosting the image. The current Greendimes site looks pretty stale and doesn't have any contact info (I'll do the WHOIS thing soon enough). I DO NOT plan on paying this ridiculous fee. Period.
What I've ultimately come away with is that if the law reads the way Nancy at Getty says it does, no one in their right mind would ever allow an image-based ad to appear on their website ever again unless 1) they host it themselves and 2) they know that every aspect of that image is legal. You could never trust any outside source.