Friday, October 16, 2009

It Really Is A Shame

Here is a link to a post on the Copyright Action forum called, "The Real Cost of Being Sued By Getty [Images]."

A small company used one unlicensed image "about the size of a postage stamp" on its website. Getty sent them a bill for unlicensed usage for £1,700 (the image could probably have been licensed for a tenth of that, or a similar image licensed royalty-free for a hundredth of it.)

They relied on advice from "experienced business people," Internet lawyerin', and all the old tired arguments we hear when such issues are discussed 'mongst the crowd.

Net result?

They paid the license fee, they paid lawyers, and they paid Getty's legal bills. They won't disclose the final amount but it is surely north of £25,000, or roughly Forty Thousand US dollars.

It was a small company, the error was inadvertent (and made by a third party web developer) and... it cost them a significant portion of their operating revenue. It could very well end up bankrupting them. Not to mention the enormous stress it placed on multiple employees of the firm as well as diverting time and resources from operation of the business.

Bottom line?

If it isn't yours, don't take it.

If you do, and somebody calls you on it, 'fess up, pay up, and move on. If you admit fault (when you're clearly caught) and offer to negotiate, they'll probably work with you. Start relying on Internet Lawyerin', and, well, you end up where these poor folks did. And that doesn't really help anybody.


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