So here is why this is just BS extortion. If one goes on the Getty site and chooses a similar image (but much better quality and higher res than the one my staff used inadvertently) the cost is $150. So why not just ask, or even demand $150? For them to simply demand 10x what their standard asking price would be is extortion. As I said, this is what pisses me off, not them simply asking to be paid their standard fee. And somehow justifying it as maintaining shareholder value is also BS.
As others have said, the cost of sale to a legitimate purchaser would probably be lower than managing the cost of infringement. If the operating costs are to be split equally between clients (those who do the right thing) and infringers (those who don't) and everyone pay the same fee, why should legitimate users bear the additional costs? Why should infringement be as cost-effective as doing the right thing in the first place? If the cost of doing something right (legitimate up-front right-to-use) or wrong (publication without permission), are the same, where is the incentive to do the right thing in the first place?
I'm a small business, licensing images to clients. The scale is different, but the principle of seeing a shareholder return (in my case income) is the same as any business. I regularly find my images used without permission and it goes something like this:-
1. Find the infringing use.
2. Document and record the use
3. Contact the infringer detailing the use, required payment etc
4. Be ignored, send a follow -up letter
5. Respond to their solicitor's letter denying liability
6. Respond to their solicitor's letter offering a paltry fee
7. Repeat steps 6 and 7 as required
8. Prepare court papers
9. Serve papers on infringer, add costs such as court fees, paperwork etc
10. Be paid just before the case is heard
You are right on one point; there is a lot of BS floating around. Its present in steps 5 & 6 as the infringer tries to avoid liability and actually paying. I usually welcome their BS. Generally, it provides more evidence of wrong-doing than defence...
Steps 1 - 10 usually take between 1 and 10 months.
Step 8 alone requires diligence and takes typically a half day. This is time when I could a) be out creating something new or b) selling something else. And this is a serious point; dealing with infringement is a significant overhead preventing me from being out diving/creating something new...but without the fees from infringers, the creative process is completely unsustainable and I would have stopped had redress not been possible.
Now let us consider the legitimate route:-
1. Respond or pitch image use to a prospective client.
2. Ship high res image(s) under agreed use rights & fee.
3. Raise invoice
4. Receive payment.
What route do you think is more cost effective for both parties? Why should my legitimate clients bear the additional costs on their business? The subject of business ethics has been raised, and I would question just who exactly is being the ethical party? The infringer? The business who does the right thing and publishes content they have a legitimate right to?
And as we are discussing the cost of business, this might be worth a read. It details the cost of trying to defend a Getty claim here in the UK:-
Edited by decosnapper, 13 August 2013 - 06:54 AM.