Help with getty images threat

By : Forum Member
Published 9th April 2015 |
Read latest comment - 18th March 2022

Hello everyone. Hoping to get some advice.

I've had a threatening letter from Getty images who are saying im using images without a license and I need to pay $450 otherwise they instruct their lawyers and I'll go to court.

The images in question were taken from Google and I put them on my site but I didn't know they were getty or anyone esles images.

On another forum people have said just to ignore it and this is a normal tactic by getty to make money by scaring you. But I admit I'm now really worried and dont know what to do.

Has anyone had similar problems. $450 is a lot of money to me but I cant afford a legal fight.

thank you



I take it you have removed the photo?

Not sure if sites like this might help.


HI there..

I think the first thing you should do if find out if they are really are who they say they are ie it could just be a phishing attack on you.

Which browser do you use if it is firefox download Copyright Infringement Finder click on the right  image and check it,that often does give the right places where the image has come from ...not always but most times it worked for me

Also the thing is by taking images off the internet you can more than often find yourself in this position as you may find they do need a license .

Getty and a lot of places have scrapers that go around looking for images being used illegally that is why you may well have been found out ,although the best thing would be to just remove them for now to be on the safe side ... I don't know if changing the image slightly makes it yours but might be worth looking into    

Andy-C | Pewter World

The reply is usually from their lawyers not Getty themselves so check out the lawyers exist as above, could always be a scam - but Getty's real letters are popular!


Feel your pain, having been in your situation 

First thing, as above makes sure it's genuine. A real Getty letter will include details of the image in question, dates, URL, and also a link to their compliance page:

All the info you need is on there as there is an FAQ page.

What you actually do though is completely up to you 

I took a lot of advice, the majority from arm chair self proclaimed legal experts who kept banging on about Getty have no jurisdiction, never actually take anyone to court, it's all a big money making scam etc etc blah blah.

But when you're in the hot seat and the legal letter is addressed to you, it can be quite a stressful time.

Question is have you done anything wrong?

Yes. You took images from Google without asking the copyright owners permission. Just because you can right click an image in Google, doesn't mean you can save it and then load it up on your website.

Getty have a specialised bot that trawls the internet examining images. Not sure how they are tracked, header payload or some sort of pixel, but they are tracked.


1. Do nothing and wait it out

Maybe they will ignore you, maybe they will drag you through the courts. Just because you don't hear anything in 12 months, doesn't mean you have got away with it. Any follow up demand will include a higher payment demand. So if you are a worrier, then this isn't a good option. If you're made of stronger stuff, wait for the next demand and decide what to do then.

2. Pay up

You are technically in the wrong. Getty make make big money from chasing up copyright violations, but you can argue they provide a service (regardless how little private photographers end up with), so they are in their rights to chase you. 

Payment (and contact) details will be on the above getty link in case you are still worried it's a scam.

3. Negotiate (beg)

This is a little known tactic and few will advise you of it. 

Getty will come up with some kind of formula of how long you have been displaying an image, and the loss of revenue for the copyright owner, unlicensed time etc etc.

If you're site gets little traffic, tell them  Little traffic means no one has seen it. Or if the image is tiny hidden below the fold on an inner page, tell them. Apologise, you didn't realise the image was copyrighted, and due to the nature of the location of the image, you think $xyz would be a realistic counter offer. Go for half, or be ballsy and try a third.

They can only say no, so you haven't lost anything, plus you have made contact, so are not ignoring it.


Our situation was part naivety, part technical cock up on our part. An SEO bod had taken out a full listing with us, and uploaded a Getty image. Being an SEO bod, his email was throw away, so 12 months later when we couldn't contact him for renewal, we deleted his listing. But unknown to us the image cache was still live to the world.

So I negotiated, told them what happened, thanked them for bringing it to our attention, told them we had tightened our procedures (which we have), and reduced the bill by 50%.

Problem solved, done over the phone, no stress and a quick answer. Other people say I was mad and should have just ignored it, but time is money and this was a quick and easy fix.

Does that help? Let us know how you got on.

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

I have just been contacted for a similar thing.

But the company in question is AUGUST, not Getty.

Has anyone come across ? 

The interesting thing is the address of the company calling themselves License Compliance Services, AUGUST is actually the address of Getty in London.                                            (Look here:

On the Wikipedia though it says black on white that August is a competitor of Getty.

I am confused and not sure about the validity of the company who has sent me the following letter and called me as well. Any idea?

Any advise on how to avoid paying the fee would be very helpful and highly appreciated.


The letter: 

Subject: Unauthorised Use of AUGUST Image(s) - Case Number 379123616 (Ref: 4U60-

EUVL) - United Kingdom

License Compliance Services, AUGUST.

101 Bayham Street, London NW1 0AG, United Kingdom.

Email:,Telephone: 0800 376 2514.

09 April 2015

Case Number: 379123616

Dear Style by Lina,

It has come to the attention of AUGUST that imagery represented by AUGUST is or has been

used online by your company. According to our records, this use was made without a valid


You can view the imagery in question as used on your company’s website at

Using imagery of AUGUST without a valid license is considered copyright infringement (Copyright

Design and Patents Act of 1988) entitling AUGUST to seek compensation for infringing uses.

TO RESOLVE THIS MATTER - (Case Number: 379123616)

You are requested to take action within 10 business days of the date of this email, as follows:

If your company has a valid license/authorization for the use of the imagery, please email

the license purchase/authorization information to

If your company does not have a valid license for the use of the imagery:

A £316.80 settlement payment should be remitted (see payment options below).

We are willing to offer you, ex gratia, a 5% discount off the

abovementioned settlement payment amount, provided that you submit

payment within 10 business days from the date of this email. Failure to do so will result

in the settlement amount being returned to its original amount upon the expiration of

the aforesaid time period.

Cease using the imagery immediately


Ceasing use of the imagery does not release your company of its responsibility to pay for the

imagery already used. As the unauthorised use has already occurred, payment for that

benefit is necessary.

You may have been unaware that this imagery was subject to license. However, copyright

infringement can occur regardless of knowledge or intent. While being unaware of license

requirements is unfortunate, it does not change liability.


Online payment: You can remit your payment online at:

Alternatively, you may contact us at 0800 376 2514.

AUGUST is committed to protect the interests, intellectual property and livelihoods of its


We believe that prompt cooperation will benefit all concerned parties. If you would like to continue

to use the imagery in question, or if you believe you have mistakenly received this letter, please

contact us by email at, or call 0800 376 2514. and we will assist you.

This letter is without prejudice to AUGUST’s rights and remedies, all of which are expressly



License Compliance Services, AUGUST.


Hi Lina

Hadn't heard of August, but a little digging and it appears they are from the Getty stable, but specialise in celebrity images.

Following the link they have sent, you have clearly used an image on your homepage which I assume you haven't asked permission for. So you will struggle to defend yourself which then goes back to my 3 options above, do nothing and see what happens, pay up or negotiate and reduce the amount.

Moving forward, make sure your images are copyright free. You have replaced the ones on your home page, I hope you have permission to use those otherwise you will have the same problem.

For your line of work, I would have though images would be a straightforward case of taking them yourself and asking your customers permission to display them. Genuine gallery pics are always much better than stock ones, plus you own the copyright.

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

this thread has made me look at my website ,just to make sure I have no copy-write images on mine ... There are only 2 in the slider that aren't mine ,but had permission to use them before he went under

Andy-C | Pewter World

Been trying to find a website that can find any copy write images on your website.. Anyone know if there is such a place

Andy-C | Pewter World

Been trying to find a website that can find any copy write images on your website.. Anyone know if there is such a place”

Not that I'm aware of.

Google images is a good starting place. Right click the image you want to examine and select search google with this image. (at least using a Chrome browser).

Will then show you any search results of the same image that live in the Google image cache.

Getty and the like hide something in the image and use an automated bot to hunt round the net looking for new targets.

These days, you should 100% clear where any of your images are coming from. A lot of e-commerce sites simply display images of the product which is supplied by an affiliate or central supplier, so they will be ok.

But for any images you have added yourself, be sure you know where they came from. The image that we got stung with was a picture of a bunch of paint tins. Nothing particularly arty in IMHO, and certainly didn't look like a professional image.

If you use someone else's image, get permission. If required, give a credit link back to the author. I'll be honest, there are exceptions, some regurgitated images on social media, humour etc, where it's hard to try and identify the original owner. But I would only use on a light hearted forum post and not for commercial gain, eg like on a directory page.

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn