Friday, August 9, 2013

Are Those Images on Your Dental Website Really Yours?

I was asked if it was legitimate.

Yes, it is.

Call it what you like, scam, extortion, mean spirited, etc…

It doesn't matter - the law is on Getty’s side.

They have all the documentation and facts. Without a valid, up-to-date license to use the images on your site, you will lose in court.

Here is a paragraph from WomenInBusiness on talking about how Getty finds you: 

Getty uses automated robots that crawl the Internet looking for its images. Getty's tools are so sophisticated that if you use even a part of their images in a logo, banner, or button, they can recognize an unlicensed image. Their crawlers can locate images that have been altered, inverted, flipped or turned upside down, regardless of what you rename the image file.

When a Getty image is found, it is compared to their license database. If there is no match between the image and the site where it is found, they send a snap shot of the image(s) found on your site, the name of the image (as they sell it) and demand a huge sum of money for copyright infringement.

The minimum fine is $1,500 plus you pay all court and legal costs.

The maximum fine is $150,000 and you pay for everyone’s legal fees and court costs.

This is per occurrence.

If you hired a web firm to build your site and you did not get warranties/indemnification from them that all the content was original/unique/legally obtained, you are the one who is liable.

Again, hate it or love it (if you are Getty) this is the law.

From what I have read, you can negotiate them down slightly in the fines.

I've also read that many other license holders of images besides Getty are getting into the game, because anyone can go to Google images and right click copy/paste almost anything. And the onus is on you to find the owner of the image, not on them to provide it for you.

What can you do?

1.     Check and see if you have up-to-date valid license agreements for all of the images on your website (and any printed collateral material).
2.     If you don’t, remove the pictures and replace with legally obtained pictures.
3.     Ask you web design firm (if you outsourced this) for copies of all the licenses for content/images.
4.     We hire professional photographers to take pictures of our offices, staff and client’s offices. We pay between $175 - $600 for a full shoot including post production editing. We also retain the full legal rights of usage of these images (and trust me, if someone stole them and tried to pass them off as their own, they would get a letter from me).

How can you tell if you have images on your website that are used elsewhere?

1.     Go to
2.     Select Images
3.     In the right hand portion of the search bar is a camera icon, click on it
4.     Go to an image on your website and right click on it
5.     Select copy image url

6.     Paste that into the Google Image camera icon search bar


Elizabeth Osterhoudt said...

Great info and good advice! Is it okay to use an image from a product/provider's website without permission when you offer the product? For example, posting an image owned by Invisalign when offering Invisalign's product.

The Dental CPAs Team said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I would recommend asking the product/provider for permission. Usually they can give you a higher resolution image.

If you like, I can consult with an IP attorney.


Andrew Rose