I first heard about Adlife Marketing back in October 2016 when I was shown several settlement demand letters asking for $8,000 for the use of a single image. Before delving into the meat of my thoughts, documents and comments, let me state that I am not a lawyer, nor do I give legal advice, I try to show all documentation
when it is available to me and the rest are my opinions. I am a firm believer that an artist should be able to protect their work and collect damages. I feel no pity for those who knowingly steal and use others work. I am strongly opposed to artists/companies who try to use questionable tactics, bully, harass and threaten people into paying them far more than the work (generally an image) is worth and in my opinion more than a court would award. These people and companies are what I consider to be Copyright Trolls and likewise I have no pity for them when they get what they deserve in court or through government actions.
What I have been able to find out so far is that Joel Albrizio CEO of Adlife Marketing had images mainly of food and food products available on iStock. Either Mr. Albrizio or iStock removed the images (I have read conflicting stories on this point), and as a result customers who have purchased these images in the past are no longer able to see their purchases on their account page. Adlife Marketing finds where these images are used and then sends out a fairly heavy-handed settlement demand letter. These letters remind me a lot of the very early Getty Images Demand Letters in that Adlife Marketing does not say “We noticed you are using one of our images and we can’t find a record of your purchase, can you please provide us a copy of the receipt for the image or if you don’t have one then we need to talk about a settlement. No, they use phrases like…
“used by you or your agents or representatives without its permission or authorization”
“With the knowledge available to Adlife today the cost of this infringement is $8,000.00. The sole purpose of any conversation with Adlife will be limited to why this is not a willful infraction and/ or how the individual or company intends to pay this amount. Any infractions not immediately settled will be referred to Federal Court. “
Please keep in mind that AdLIfe Marketing is well aware that people who purchased from iStock can no longer see their purchases of his images and must call customer service who has to do a history search in order to find it. Many will look for and not see the purchase they have made. Not realizing the problem, they think they did not purchase the image and succumb to the pressure and threats ending up paying thousands of dollars for an image in reality they already purchased.
Another tactic used in these type of letters is an unreasonable time frame to respond. Adlife states in their letter…
“If Adlife does not hear from you within 10 days it will assume that you do not intend to resolve this matter amicably and it will take all necessary action without further notification. “
Let’s see now, Adlife Marketing drops the letter in the mail, it takes several days to get there leaving pretty
much zero time to respond before the “deadline” runs out and the threat of legal action begins. Again, knowing the letter recipient can’t find a receipt on iStock and if they know they purchased it, call customer service it will take a day or more to search through all the records to find the purchase. So we have heavy handed letters that don’t even bother to ask for proof of purchase or allow for that possibility, you basically say that you “willfully infringed, give unrealistic deadlines to respond come right out in the first letter threatening legal action and ask for $8,000 for an image that can be purchased as part of a collection of 50 images for $149.00. I am seeing a lot here that would qualify as the term Copyright Troll.
I will continue to post updates and new articles and more information and people come forward.