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Catalyst Complaint Cover Page

405582

Complaint
Number 405582 Date 3/21/2012 Status Assignee Actual Savings Amount Disputed Estimated Savings Closed Holbrook, Ruth E $0.00 $5,645.00 $0.00

Location Bellingham - Consumer Protection Division NAICS 541920-Photographic Services

Complainant
Name Alejandro Hernandez Saenz 11746 NE 149th St Kirkland, WA 98034 Phone Day (425) 785-0211 Phone Evening Email ahs101@hotmail.com

Respondent(s)
Name Getty Images 605 5th Ave S Ste 400 Seattle, WA 98104 Contact Phone (206) 925-6753 Toll Free Email copyright.complian ce@gettyimages.co m

Referral(s)
Name Contact Phone Contact Phone Email

Practice(s)
Code 019 300 Practice Inadequate Disclosure Excessive Price or Charge

Activities
Date Added 3/26/2012 3/26/2012 4/13/2012 Activity Type Email to Respondent Email to Complainant Email from Respondent Activity R First Letter to Respondent To: copyright.compliance@gettyimages.com C First Letter to Consumer To: ahs101@hotmail.com

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Catalyst Report
Complaint Description
Description Today, my wife received a mail package in her new business office, this package coming from gettyimages contained detailed information and accusations of copyright infringement, and demanded by their very harshly letter the payment of an exaggerated amount of $5,645.00 for the use of 7 images in my wife new business website. There are multiple reasons for why I am filing this complain: Primarily because gettyimages uses fear and treating in order to exhort or I would say extort my wife to feel shameful and afraid of a lawsuit. They clearly use the fear tactic by mentioning that if not pay the damages "as well as costs and interest" defined in the settlement, they will go for a litigation against you. Secondary, they make the offender feel shameful, guilty and a criminal for the copyright infringement. I have spent the last few hours counseling my wife that has cried for how bad this company has called her. The emotional distress that this letter impacts in the person is by no mean neglectable, needless to say that this letter was crafted with the intention of causing such distress and affecting the recipient thru guilt and fear to abbey to the outrageous demands. This leads to the third complain. The required "fair" settlement payment as they mentioned is significantly elevated. In some cases, the use of the image would cost $25 for royalty-free where in their "fair" assessment they charge $780, this is a 31200% increase. I search and research how to approach this matter and I soon encounter that this is not an isolated case, and it seems to be a common practice (by the number of people affected) for gettyimages to havethis kind of "business model". I will be contacting my attorney in order to resolve the matter for the copyright infringement. I am complaining for the lack of professionalism and ethics in the way how gettyimages (or representative) is behaving with respect to their copyright compliance. I feel sorry for the many people, like my wife, that have receive such letter package and gone to the emotional, verbal abuse and distress of this practice. Thank you for providing a way to inform and file a complaint for companies like this. Alejandro Hernandez-Saenz. Expected resolution details: Sent a cease and desist notification first. Define clearly (currently hidden) in their webiste that copy-paste practices are copyright infridgements. Remove the guilt statements in their notifications. Truly make fair settlements of their product.

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RuthH

4/13/2012

From: Copyright Compliance [mailto:Copyright.Compliance@gettyimages.com] Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:50 PM To: ATG MI Bellingham CRC Subject: To Ms. Ruth Holbrook RE: 405582 : A notice from the WashingtonState Attorney General's Office ®

605 Fifth Avenue South, Suite 400, Seattle, Washington 98104 Tel 206 925 5000 Fax 206 925 5001 www.gettyimages.com April 12, 2012 Via e-mail to BelCRC@atg.wa.gov and Fax to (360) 738-6190 Ruth E. Holbrook Program Specialist 3 Attorney General of Washington Consumer Protection Division 103 East Holly Street, Suite 308 Bellingham, WA 98225-4310 Tel: (360) 738-6188

Re: Alejandro Hernandez Saenz Your File Number: 405582 Our Case Number: 1178539 Dear Ms. Holbrook: We are in receipt of the complaint filed by Alejandro Hernandez Saenz that you forwarded to us on March 26, 2012. We appreciate the opportunity to respond to Mr. Saenz’s concerns. By way of introduction, Getty Images is the leading creator and distributor of still and moving images. More than 4,000 images per day are licensed on our website, www.gettyimages.com, which features wholly-owned content (i.e., images to which we own the copyright), as well as
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exclusively licensed content (i.e., third-party contributor images which are licensed exclusively through us). Customers such as graphic designers, advertising agencies, and publishers license our imagery for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to print advertising, billboards, newspaper and magazine articles, brochures and websites. Our license information is clearly available from each page of our website, and we do not permit the use of our imagery without a license. Notwithstanding the license requirement, like other digital media companies, Getty Images does fall victim to individuals pirating its intellectual property. To combat this, Getty Images uses both employees and digital image recognition software to locate entities that have used Getty Images’ imagery without paying a license fee. One such entity recently identified as having used unlicensed imagery from our collections is Dulcy Hernandez’s business, Dulcy Hernandez Counseling (“Hernandez Counseling”). On March 15, 2012, we sent Dulcy Hernandez a letter with notification that we had found unauthorized use of seven of our images on her website, www.dulcyhernandez.com. The images are part of Getty Images’ Rights-Managed collections (the “Images”), and can be found on our web site at http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/83727457 , http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/104206489 , http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/103737584 , http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/104480215 , http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/200127057 -001 , http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/sb10063222n-001, and http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/82775354. We informed Ms. Hernandez that use of the Images without licenses constitutes copyright infringement, and that she must either (i) provide evidence that licenses were issued, or (ii) pay a fee for use of the Images. In this instance, the total of the fees was $5,645.00, and we provided an invoice in that amount, which featured a thumbnail of the Images and their associated image numbers, along with “screenshots” of the Images as they appeared on the Hernandez Counseling website. The amount invoiced is in line with what typically would be charged for licenses of these Images under these circumstances. We note that the Images have been removed from the Hernandez Counseling website. While we appreciate the removal, the Images are protected by copyright, and were previously displayed on that website. Copyright law holds responsible anyone who publicly displays an image without authorization of the copyright holder. As the end user of Getty Images’ imagery, Hernandez Counseling is ultimately responsible for ensuring that it has obtained appropriate rights to use the imagery. As a result, Hernandez Counseling’s use of the Images without licenses constitutes copyright infringement, for which we are entitled to seek damages. At this time, Mr. Saenz has not raised any valid defenses. We would prefer to resolve this matter amicably, but in the event that Hernandez Counseling remains unwilling to pay for the Images unlawfully used on its website, we reserve the right to continue to pursue this matter as copyright infringement. Getty Images has acted appropriately and in good faith in pursuing the unauthorized use of our intellectual property. Should you require any additional information about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us. Regards,
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