White Plains, NY
Photographer sued Getty Images for $1Bn by for Copyright Infringement
When Getty gets caught in a mistake, it's like blood in the water. In seeking a settlement on the use of one of their catalogue photos, they contacted a Carol Highsmith with a $120 settlement demand for using one of 'their' images without permission. Highsmith, a professional American photographer, was actually the creator the image in question. Furthermore, the image, (along with other works), was previously licensed to the Library of Congress for public use, royalty-free. However, Highsmith still retained the copyright.
Despite having received confirmation that the case against her had been dropped December 2015, the companies: Getty Images, and its affiliate Alamy, were still also making available more than 18,000 of Highsmith’s other photographs on their websites.
In a lawsuit filed July 25, 2016 in a New York District Court, Highsmith’s lawyers make their position clear.
“Nowhere on its website does Getty identify Ms. Highsmith as the sole author of the Highsmith Photos [and] nowhere on its website does Getty identify Ms. Highsmith as the copyright owner of the work.”
Highsmith asserts in its complaint that Getty is liable for statutory damages in excess of $460,000,000. With the potential for treble damages due intentional or negligent infringement, the award could exceed $One Billion US Dollars.
Mark Saku Bikangaga, Esq. Attorney-at-Law (Washington)