Getty Images Demand Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if I believe I have received the Getty Images Demand Letter from McCormack Intellectual Property in error?

Please contact us immediately at or dial 206-381-8888. Please be sure to provide the reference number found on your settlement demand, as well as your name and company contact information.

** Text and Images Courtesy of Getty Images **

Who is Getty Images?

Getty Images represents imagery, footage and music created and owned by some of the world’s best photographers, filmmakers and artists, as well as by entities such as National Geographic, Time Life, Agence France Presse and various professional sports clubs and leagues. Getty Images has contractual agreements with its contributors to represent and license the use of digital content to companies all over the world. Businesses license thousands of images daily on our website,

Customers such as graphic designers, advertising agencies and publishers license our imagery for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to print advertising, billboards, newspaper and magazine articles, brochures and websites. Our license information is clearly available from each page of our website (see “License Information” link at the bottom of every page). Customers are not permitted to use imagery without paying a license fee and agreeing to the terms of our license agreement. Getty Images, on behalf of itself and its represented photographers, filmmakers and other contributors, is committed to protecting its imagery from unauthorized use.

What if someone else created my company’s website?

Getty Images understands that a third-party designer, employee, or intern may have been contracted to design and develop your company’s website. However, if no licenses for use of the images from Getty Images exist, the liability of any infringement ultimately falls on the company displaying the imagery, which is considered the end user. If this situation applies to your company, please contact the third-party to inquire if there are any licenses from Getty Images for the specific use of the images in question. If this is the case, please contact us as soon as possible to provide the Getty Images invoice number or sales order number information and we will research accordingly. If a third party who supplied the images is willing to settle on your behalf, that third party may contact Getty Images to settle this matter. If the third party is unable or unwilling to settle this matter on your behalf, Getty Images will continue to pursue your company as the end user of our imagery. Any pursuit by you of reimbursement from the third party would be between you and the third party, separate from our claim against you.

What if I remove the images? Could I simply consider this matter closed?

While we appreciate the removal of our represented images from your website, removal of the images alone does not settle the matter. Since your company has already infringed the copyright by using the images without a valid license, our photographers are entitled to compensation for the use of their work. Therefore, Getty Images will continue to pursue settlement of the demand. We are seeking payment for the unlicensed use of the images, and would be happy to work with you on correctly licensing any future use.

I found the images on the Internet or the Getty Images website; aren’t these free or “Royalty-Free” images?

Although we understand you may have believed the images were available for free use, all images represented by Getty Images require an appropriate license for their use. “Royalty-free” does not mean that the images are free; it is an industry phrase that refers to a licensing model where the user pays once and has the continuing right to use the image without additional royalty payments. In any event, the images referenced in our settlement demand are not available from Getty Images under a royalty-free licensing model.

I did not know the images were represented by Getty Images and required a license; what can I do to resolve this situation?

Although your company may not have known the imagery is represented by Getty Images, use of the copyright protected images without proper authorization is still a violation of copyright law. If no valid licenses exist, your company has violated the copyright by using the images without permission from Getty Images or its represented photographers. Since the unlicensed use has already occurred, and copyright law has been violated, payment of the settlement demand is required. Please keep in mind that in a copyright infringement lawsuit, Getty Images would be entitled to seek damages as well as costs and interest. This is an attempt to settle this matter amicably without litigation.

I purchased the images from a company I found online as part of a web template, so was the web template company responsible for licensing the imagery?

As the end user of Getty Images’ imagery, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that you have obtained the appropriate rights to use the imagery. If you acquire imagery from a web template provider or other such company, your company is still liable for copyright infringement if that provider or other such company did not properly license the imagery from Getty Images for your use.

How does Getty Images calculate the settlement demand amount?

The settlement demands are based upon the fair market value of a license, taking into consideration several factors such as usage, size, placement, duration, and territory. The settlement demand is calculated by taking the average length of use and the average cost of licensing for that period, plus a portion of the costs incurred related to the pursuit of the unlicensed use. Because you used the images without first obtaining a license, you are not eligible for our lowest pricing. We have incurred additional costs due to your unlicensed use, and any settlement amount we are prepared to accept must reflect those costs.

I do not want to redesign our site with new imagery. Can I pay the amount due for the previous use and purchase a new license so that I can continue to use it?

Yes, we’d be happy to assist you in this effort. Once the prior unlicensed use has been settled, Getty Images will help you license the images properly. The only circumstance in which we would not be able to issue a license for future use is if another customer has purchased exclusive rights to the same image that clash with your desired use.

Can I settle this matter by purchasing a future license or by trying to purchase a backdated license?

No, use of another’s intellectual property without authorization is a violation of copyright law. Purchase of a future license or license subsequent to notification of the unauthorized use does not address the copyright violation. Accordingly, Getty Images does not accept either approach as settlement of our unlicensed use claim. Payment of the settlement demand is necessary to settle the matter.

I am willing pay the amount due for the unauthorized use but cannot afford to continue to license such an expensive image. Are there less expensive options available?

Getty Images offers imagery at a variety of prices; including Royalty-Free content on, and

For more information about Timothy B. McCormack or McCormack Intellectual Property Law PS please visit us at

For more information about Getty Images please visit them at

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