Getty Images was the company which cost us over 870 Euro, despite our engaging an intellectual property lawyer to defend ourselves, for using a 180 x 90 pixel image on another of our web sites.
I can confirm that our experience with Getty was in line with the cases described in today’s Guardian, which cites several cases where thousands of pounds were demanded for images Getty claimed were theirs. They give examples of Getty sending in debt collectors to enforce their demands and Getty making completely unrealistic valuations in the first place. In our case the original demand was for over 1770 Euro – for an image 180 x 90 pixels used on a web site which gets a few tens or hundreds of hits per month!
Getty Images is not an easy company to deal with. In our case, the correspondence was in German, written from a London address, posted in the USA and the bank account we were supposed to send the money to was in Ireland. Why they chose to write in German when the web site was completely in English? I imagine they hoped that we wouldn’t fully understand the letter, which was full of legal terms, and that that would increase the anxiety level for us.
According to the Guardian, the company to contact, if Getty Images hassle you is LimeOne – something we didn’t know at the time.