Getty Images, a massive image licensing company, has earned quite a reputation for aggressive copyright enforcement over the past several years. But the company says it wants to turn that around.
Until now, Getty’s strategy has been to comb the Web for illegal reproductions of its images using special software and to send threatening letters to anyone who appears to be infringing. Getty has told the targets of its letters that it will pursue an expensive lawsuit unless those who re-post the images agree to pay settlements that include penalties and licensing fees, sometimes amounting to hundreds or several thousand dollars. Generally, Getty Images tends not to pursue its claims in court, instead favoring the so-called “settlement demand letters” which bill the alleged user of an unlicensed Getty image for the use of the image, as well as a portion of the “enforcement fees.”
But that won’t be the case any longer. Earlier this week, general counsel for Getty Images John Lapham told GigaOm that Getty’s “enforcement polices are being ramped down.”
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