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Jan 08

Is Adlife Marketing The Newest Copyright Troll?

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

Is Adlife Marketing The Newest Copyright Troll?

Is Adlife Marketing The Newest Copyright Troll?

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

Adlife Marketing - 8k for an image you can buy for as little as $10.00

Adlife Marketing – 8k for an image you can buy for as little as $10.00

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.

 

3 comments

2 pings

  1. Amy Stewart

    Hi Greg,

    My client was one of the many innocent license holders targeted by Joel Albrizio and Adlife. He dropped the pursuit of my client after I provided proof of purchase– no easy task, considering how unintuitive it is to find proof of purchase for deleted images– but he sent me a threatening email telling me he would come after me if I continued to speak publicly about what he is doing. To date he has not followed through on his ominous threats, but he has managed to get my negative Yelp review removed, and he is obviously going after Robert Krausankas in a vicious manner.

    I noticed today, in attempting to retrieve an old image from my iStockPhoto download page for a project I’m working on, that their usability is now even worse than before: now, you are forced to search for files in 90 day increments!

    I’ve been an iStockPhoto license holder since 2004. So if I wanted to see my full download history, it would take 52 separate searches! Even worse, iStockPhoto has NO WAY OF SEARCHING ANY FASTER. It took a CS rep about 3 hours to provide me with an excel spreadsheet showing my 270+ purchases I’ve made over the course of the past 13 years. But the list ONLY shows a file name and date of purchase, which is totally unhelpful, since I’d still need to do as many as 52 individual searches to locate an old file, unless I happened to remember the 3-month window of its purchase (yeah, right)!

    To make matters worse, their date selector is broken. I am using Safari, and was unable to type in the dates of the search. The only way I was able to enter a date was to manually click-click-click one month at a time on each of the beginning and end dates. And it’s very finicky about the 90 day limit, constantly popping up an error message that I can only search 90 days at a time. After 15 minutes, I gave up.

    Today I filed written complaints with iStockPhoto as well as Getty Images about the horrible usability of their new download page. While the iStockPhoto reps are helpful and sympathetic to the wave of complaints they’ve had since these changes, they are unable to modify the functionality, because they say their hands are tied by Getty, who has ordered this change in the way the download page works.

    A call to Getty’s help desk was fruitless; they tried to forward me back to iStockPhoto.

    What does this mean? Massive additional wasted time for valid license holders and iStockPhoto employees, and a heyday for trolls like Joel Albrizio who love wasting innocent people’s time in their relentless pursuit of cash.

    1. Greg Troy

      Hi Amy and thank you for your comment. I would be very interested in seeing/sharing the emails from Mr. Albrizio threatening you. I have the threats he made to Robert and other information I am in the process of organizing, vetting and deciding what to do with. If you are willing I would very much like to share those emails in an article I am finishing up, I think it would fit in well with it, if that is okay with you. If not I would keep them to use with my other information at a later time but would not be shared online.

      If you feel comfortable in sharing them with me you can send them to GregTroy at CABALaw.org Also let me know how I may use them (online or other non-internet use)

      I agree from what you are saying that iStock has a long way to go in improving their websites ease of use. I am glad to hear though that the customer service people try to help and are aware of the situation.

      If Mr. Albrizio has made threats against you if you speak out about your dealings with him and AdlIfe MArketing you are certainly within your rights to file a complaint with the Rhode Island Attorney General, the your states Attorney General, the BBB and others. The consumer protection unit of the RH AG is located here If you feel you have been treated unfairly this is an option but should not be done lightly. If you would like to pursue this and need help I have experience with this and can offer advice and my opinions. I am not a lawyer and can not give legal advice.

      Thank you again for your comment, I appreciate you sharing this.

      1. Amy Stewart

        Greg, I am happy to share all the details of my experience with Joel Albrizio of Adlife. I sent you an email. He needs to be stopped from wreaking havoc on innocent people.

  1. Why is Adlife Marketing Pulling It’s Images From LSA? »

    […] « Is Adlife Marketing The Newest Copyright Troll? […]

  2. More Evidence Linking Joel Albrizio VOJF »

    […] which was sending out $8000 demand letters for copyright infringement. You can read more about the details and the tactics used here. Mr. Albrizio took exception to Robert’s posts and called him. Robert states that the phone […]

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