What were you thinking?
In the last couple days, the backlash over Getty Images latest faux pas seems to be gaining steam. If you are not aware of what has happened, it appears someone at Getty Images decided it was time to try and clean up their justifiably
tarnished online reputation. I will admit that in recent years it seemed to me that Getty was improving. They had toned down the language in the letters which became kinder and gentler as well as reducing their demands to more reasonable amounts. In fact, things seemed to be so quiet on the Getty Images front, I had not felt the need to make any updated posts for almost two years. Then someone had the brilliant idea to send letters to everyone who has written anything negative about the company, staff, and/or policies asking them to take the posts. blogs or websites down.
I would have loved to been a fly on the wall for that meeting. The corporate brain trust decided to have a law firm send a typical threat letter demanding all offending posts be removed in 8 days or legal action would be initiated. Just like they say in the infomercials “But wait! There’s more!” Let’s not only send out our standard threat letter that has worked so well in the past, but we now have to send them out now to try and remove posts people made about our threat letters. Hey, we can have the French Law firm of Cabinet Bouchara – Avocat send them citing French Law too!
Since these letters started appearing, it has caused an immediate outcry, the story has now been covered in the Washington Post by Eugene Volokh, by our own legal advisor Oscar Michelen in his Courtroom Strategy Blog,and today by TechDirt.
Getty has issued the following statement to Mr. Volokh:
“Cabinet Bouchara was retained as our outside counsel in France, having previously been granted limited permission to act on Getty Images’ behalf in this region only. The firm were under no means sanctioned to contact sites outside of this jurisdiction, including in North America, however it has come to our attention that this has in fact unfortunately occurred.
This practice has been ceased immediately and we apologize for the error.”
I have talked with several people about this and the consensus seems to be there was no way Getty Images was not aware of what was going on. Cabinet Bouchara – Avocat started issuing apology letters shortly after Getty’s statement. I had not received one so I proactively reached out to the law firm with a demand for an apology from both Vanessa Bouchara as well as her client Getty Images USA. I received a quick response stating I was mailed a letter from the law firm but that was it. I will be sending a follow up letter asking Getty to issue me an apology letter as well.
No matter how it happened or which way you look at this it’s not a good time to be Getty Images. I think Getty Images could have summed this up with a one word statement….D’oh!
I will continue to post updates as I have them.