Design for Web + Print | By Stephanie Zahalka

Are your site images stolen?

well, this is crazy….

i have heard quite a bit recently from friends, associates and collegues around the area and back in san diego about getty images takin it to them.

these people all have websites and have all gotten a letter from getty images demanding $1000′s of dollars for stolen image use.     some of these people purchased their website or got when they bought the business or found the images randomly on the net, not on a getty images website or had a chance to purchase.

getty does not allow for ignorance. you HAVE to pay up and remove the image.  very legal and scary.  they probably have a huge team of people that just troll websites looking for unlicensed image use, then send a letter demanding $1000′s of dollars.  very profitable part to the business i’d say.

i had a client contact me just last week with this problem. i designed her new website. the client sat here with me while i designed and searched for images etc..  well she got a letter saying one of the images was a getty stock photo and she had to give them proof of license or pay up $1200 AND take down the image.

i panicked of course because i always buy stock photos unless a client provides me with their own images which i am not responsible for.    thank god i did a little digging around and saved the whole entire old site that she used to have before i re-designed.  the image was from her previous site, designed by someone else.  when a client provides their own images, they are then responsible when it comes to ownership and copyright.

what a relief it was.  i was freaking out.  but i know that i obey copyright issues, especially as a designer with my own work out there.  i always buy stock photos and make sure everything i use is owned and licensed.

you can get them to lower the price. never stick with or pay out the initial demand price. they usually will work with you and lower it a bit.  so fight it tooth and nail if you didn’t knowingly steal it.  you can’t get out of it legally, but you can get the cost reduced.

so, all of you out there with websites, please check your images for licensing etc…. even if you found it on google, it could still be owned by someone or getty who charges an absolute fortune for stock photos.  always buy your images or take them yourself.  its the safest thing to do and will also prevent a scary letter demanding $4000 for an image that you didn’t even know was stolen.

Luxury is a vibe. High-end is an energy.


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