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1.8 Letter to Getty 07-03-12 Redacted

1.8 Letter to Getty 07-03-12 Redacted

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In this letter to Getty since they have refused to provide proof of their claim to myself and my lawyer I have told Getty that unless they drop their claim against me I will start a letterwriting campaign against them filing complaints with the Washington stateAttorney General's Office, Washington state Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, Congressman Michael Turner, Sen. Rob Portman, and the Ohio state attorney general's office.
In this letter to Getty since they have refused to provide proof of their claim to myself and my lawyer I have told Getty that unless they drop their claim against me I will start a letterwriting campaign against them filing complaints with the Washington stateAttorney General's Office, Washington state Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, Congressman Michael Turner, Sen. Rob Portman, and the Ohio state attorney general's office.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Copyright Anti-Bullying Act (CABA Law) on Aug 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/10/2012

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Yeah, We Do That.
3023 Ash Court Mason, Ohio 45040-1400 
Gregory A. Troy (513) 544-7069Owner July 3, 2012Getty Images605 5
th
Ave South Suite 400Seattle, WA 98104Case#1182895Dear Douglas. Bieker:I am writing to you today one final time with the hope of settling this matter once and for all. Despite myreasonable request made in my letter containing a list of information to show proof of claim you haverefused. As a businessman myself I could never get away with telling any client of mine who requestedinformation justifying the total of their bill that I would only reveal this information to them when I suedthem and took them to court. To date all letters I have received from you and your company while beingpolite have been written in such a way as to instill fear of a lawsuit if unreasonable sums of money are notreceived within 14 days while providing no proof that the money is owed other than as you basically saidto me in one of your responses go to our website, enter this image number, view the picture and that is allthe proof you need. If this is the way things work I would like to send you an image of your building alongwith a bill for back rent since you have occupied the building, I will place the picture on my website and letyou know if you have any doubts as to my claim all you have to do is go to the website and view thepicture of your building and that is all the proof that you need, now pay me within 14 days. Kind of sillyisn't it?Shortly after receiving the first letter from your company while researching what to do online I cameacross the ELI community and forums. I am now a member of ELI (extortionletterinfo.com) and I havegone public on the forms with my identity and my story in hopes of showing the nearly 1000 members thatthey did not have to stand by and be bullied, harassed and threatened with legal action by a companywho has decided to use these letters as a business model for profit rather than truly protecting the rightsof the artist that you represent as you claim. I do firmly believe in copyright law and the protection of artists intellectual property in this is why I am so vehemently opposed to what you are doing, instead of using your resources to go after willful infringers you instead choose to go after innocent de minimisinfringers making a fast buck by charging many times what a court would award if the case were notthrown out. I have had conversations with the founder of Eli, Matthew Chan via phone and e-mailcorrespondence and he has told me that because of my coming forward and willingness to fight that Elihas my back and Matthew has also publicly stated in the forms and I q
uote “it
is safe to say Eli will
support you if there's any retribution by Getty”
 
 
Besides the fact that I would never pay a claim or a bill without proof that I owed anything, the companyyou represent has a poor record when it comes to providing proof of exclusive rights. Let's take a momentto look at the Getty v. Advernet case which I am sure you are aware of, if not allow me to inform you, thecompany you represent sued Advernet for the use of 35 images on their website(s), you won this case bydefault. That's right you won this case, even if it was by default, you won the case yet the court ruled thatyour company would not receive $24,275 you are asking for. Why is this? Because there was issues withevery single image and the court ruled that because of these issues you are not legally able to pursueclaims on any of the images. I am now not convinced if you even have any paperwork relating to theimage you allege I infringed on and that is the reason you refuse to send along proof when requested.When another member of the ELI forums requested the same proof that I had, they received a reply backfrom Getty compliance team specialist Nancy Monson. This person posted the message with the personalinformation removed in which Ms. Monson states:
Getty Images has contracts with its contributing photographers who are the copyright holders and owners of the images. The contributor agreement contains representations and warranties that the contributor is the sole copyright owner.
Consequently, Getty Images does not require contributors to provide Getty Images with certificates of registration and leaves the option of copyright registration to the individual photographer 
.” 
 How can you make claims on images and threaten legal action when you don't even know if they areregistered?So in conclusion I want to state that I would still like this matter settled and for it to be over and done withso here's where I'm at. I know that you will not send me any of the items of proof of claim that I havereasonably requested so I am attaching a formal complaint letter that I have ready to go and am preparedto send to the following people and places. This complaint asking for help with my situation as well as theinvestigation into the practices conducted by you and your company and will be sent to the following:Washington state Atty. Gen. Rob McKenna, Ohio State Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine (a copy of this letter issent here since I do business in Ohio and you have sent your demand letters to me across state lines towhere I do business all of which is conducted within a 30 mile radius of my address), the Federal TradeCommission, the Washington State Better Business Bureau, the Ohio State Better Business Bureau, Sen.Rob Portman and Rep. Michael Turner. The last two are the senator and representative for the district inwhich I reside and operate my business, the letter will be modified in such a way as let them know thatyou and your company are using tactics which I consider extortionistic to threaten and bully people intopaying you over alleged innocent infringement cases that if they did go to court would be considered
deminimis and only rate a $200 fine. Yet even after having been provided with proof that any allegedinfringement is non-willful and innocent you still continue to demand $850 and up. In light that this is anelection year and Pres. Obama is talking about how he wants to make things better for businesses I thinkthere should be a Congressional and Senate hearing into stock photo companies like Getty, HAN, Corbisand Masterfile trying to extort money from individuals, mom-and-pop companies, and small businesses.
I realize that your next step in the process is most likely NCS, I am going to save you the time trouble andmoney of forwarding it there as I will include a letter you can forward to them stating that this is a claimand not a debt, I am dealing with you, I have a lawyer and I wish absolutely no contact from them tomyself or my lawyer. So in effect kick you right back to you.The step after this usually goes to your legal department, Timothy B McCormack of McCormack IP lawoffices. I am informing you now and you should let Mr. McCormack know as well, that if this goes to him
 
and I or my lawyer receive one letter from him or his office without
all
of the proof I have requested in myletters I will immediately send another round of complaint letters to all of the places and people listedabove plus copies to the Washington, Oregon and Idaho State Bar Association's where Mr. McCormackis licensed to practice law filing formal complaints with them.I am not sure if you were aware of a person by the name of April Brown or Linda Ellis. April Brown whoruns a charity auction posted a poem that was sent to her on her blog. The poem was written by LindaEllis, credit was given to Ms. Ellis as well as a link back to her site but Ms. Ellis responded by sending her a $7500 demand letter for posting her poem. Of course Ms. Brown is fighting this and one of the meansby which is fighting this is by appearing nationwide on local and national radio and TV talk shows. Youcan read more about this and listen to her interviews on the Eli website under the April Brown/Linda Ellisforums. I have spoken with Ms. Brown on the phone and found that she is doing this by sending out asimple news tip to the radio and TV stations and they were not aware of these issues and are more than
happy to bring her on and speak to her about it. She is using this as a campaign that she calls “BewareDon't Share” in which he warns people not to share or post this poem
, as the author will pursue them for copyright infringement to the tune of $7500. She is also exposing the tactics and threats that Ms. Ellisuses to extort this money from people who share this poem most often at funerals. I have modified thisnews tip to reflect my situation and will start a similar campaign warning people about the dangers of innocent infringement and how you and your company will come after them with escalating threats of impending legal action. With one phone call I am sure Ms. Brown will not hesitate to provide me with a listof all the stations that have currently been willing to do interviews with her so that I may contact them andstart my own campaign. I will also ask her while talking to the producers of any future shows she is on tomention if they would like to speak to somebody on the Getty side of this issue to give me a call. To date Ibelieve she has done well over 20 interviews and still turning them out at the rate of 2 to 30 week. Of course in addition to using her list of stations that are willing to talk about this issue I will send my newstips to stations across the country and when doing interviews with stations that have local TV newsaffiliates I of course will be sure to mention that while watching the news you will often see a credit toGetty images on pictures posted during the newscast and are they aware that this company who by their own words is the world's leading provider of stock image photographs chooses the pursuit of innocentinfringers as they are business model as well as uses a lawyer who when Googled the results are mainlyfor his demand letters and being labeled as a copyright troll using extortionist tactics. I will also let themknow that Getty images already has a $12 million class action lawsuit filed against it in Israel for thesesame practices and according to recent articles momentum is moving towards a similar suit in the UnitedStates.So Mr. Bieker here is my final offer, I will log into the Getty system with the login and access codesprovided in your letters in 14 days if my account does not show that is closed I will begin mailing myletters, news tips and starting my campaign to let the country know the way you and Getty Imageschooses to conduct business and treat innocent infringers. As I have said in the past, you have it withinyour power to end this and I sincerely hope that you will choose to do so and we can part company andgo our separate ways. However, should you decide to continue to pursue this matter I am prepared todevote all of my time I am not running my business with the sole purpose of sending out letters, doinginterviews, and using every means at my disposal of getting my message out and fighting Getty.I have spoken with my legal counsel and showed him my evidence and he is convinced that the best caseyou could make if it were not thrown out would be for a de minimis case and how much would it cost your company to go after a $200 judgment. Look at the recent Corbis the Nick Star decision where the courtruled in favor of Corbis. The court cut the amount Corbis was entitled to for legal fees as well as the

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