If you are a designer, boycott Getty Images

It seems as though Getty images has turned their legal department into a revenue generating business arm. Using intimidation, Getty Images has scoured the web looking for small business websites that have used unlicensed images from their collections and then demanded large settlements or threatening legal action. Getty Images is preying off small business owners who do not have a clear understanding of their rights and fear negative publicity associated with their business in such a rough economy. The now infamous¬†Getty Images Settlement Demand Letters are certainly a legal grey area, but the company has found that it can make a killing by extorting small business owners with settlement demands. The company does not issue a cease and desist letter, rather it claims that “damage has already been done.”

Designers, there are other options out there. Please note that Getty Images owns iStockphoto. We are asking designers to:

Boycott Getty Images

For those of you that are currently facing problems of extortion by Getty Images we ask that you band together and Tweet, blog and call both local and state officials for help.

Also, we found this page to be quite useful as well. It provides some background on the issue: http://extortionletterinfo.com/

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