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On August 20, 2014, our firm filed a lawsuit on our own behalf against Getty Images, Inc.  Why did we do it?  Here is why.

On July 1, 2014, our firm received an unsigned letter from Getty Images Inc. that claimed unauthorized copying and display of a Getty photograph on this website and demanded immediate payment of a $380 licensing fee or legal action would follow.

There was a problem, however.  We never copied or displayed the Getty image referred to in Getty’s letter.

We looked more closely at what Getty was doing and were shocked to discover what was really going on.

You see, Getty is apparently using an image recognition system to generate its letters to accused infringers. Getty’s system identified a thumbnail image on our website here.  Getty matched the thumbnail to an image more than six times the size on Getty’s site.

We are not responsible for the thumbnail.  The thumbnail is displayed on our website because we use the Zemanta plug-in for WordPress. Zemanta put it there, something that should have been obvious to Getty.

But Getty did not bother to look.  If it had, Getty would have seen that we are simply employing web-feed syndication, a common and generally accepted Internet publishing and search engine optimization practice.

We refuse to simply cave in to Getty’s demands.

So we filed our lawsuit seeking a declaration from the court that no infringement was committed, and for an injunction against Getty to stop it from further committing unfair or deceptive practices by sending out letters demanding payment of licensing fees and threatening lawsuits where no such claims exist.

We will keep you posted.



Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.