WelI I have some interesting news. Today I received a Cease and Desist letter in the mail from Vanessa Bouchara of the French law firm of Cabinet Bouchara – Avocats over this website. It appears that Getty Images is now trying to censor the free speech of bloggers and
victims of their settlement demand letter campaign and anyone who happens to have a negative opinion of their business practices. Ignoring the fact that everything I state in my articles is backed up with documentation and the rest is my personal opinions, Ms. Bouchara / Getty Images seems to be under the impression that French Law supersedes American First Amendment / Freedom of Speech rights as applied to an American citizen operation in their own country and directing said articles towards American Citizens.
What is the definition of insanity?
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The last time Getty Images and I tangled, I launched a Nationwide campaign advocating that people who received Getty Settlement Demand letters, a.k.a. Extortion Letters (Oops, I just said one of those words Getty Images is trying to censor) file complaints with the Washington State Attorney General office, their states Attorney General’s Office, the BBB, the FTC and their Congressmen and Senator(s). This campaign had results I could track as these complaints are public records, Getty Images went from receiving an average of 4 complaints a year to 70+ a year. I documented the results here. So why would Getty Images think they can try to censor and harass me and not get the same results again? Insanity.
What is Vanessa Bouchara trying to do here?
I assume that Vanessa Bouchara of Cabinet Bouchara-Avocats (CB&A) is a competent lawyer and
knows the law as it applies. I had a chat with our website’s Legal Advisor Oscar Michelen of Cuomo LLC. today and he is well aware of these letters as Matthew Chan of ExtortionLetterInfo.com (ELI) and Defiantly.net has received the same letters for two of his websites as well as Ryan Healy and others. Mr. Michelen told me that even if Getty Images France were to try to sue me to have my articles removed, the French court would be required to base all decisions on the censorship and defamation laws of the country where defendant resides. I know a little something about the free speech /first amendment laws after the Chan v. Ellis case that ended up before the Georgia Supreme Court with a 7-0 decision in Chan’s favor. So if Getty Images / CB&A think I will just take down my fact-based articles supported by documentation and my personal opinions, they are crazy.
Here is a copy of the letter I received from Getty Images / CB&A
Over the next day or two, I will be drafting a response letter to Getty Images (who I hold responsible
for this) demanding a written apology from them, Vanessa Bouchara and CB&A for this letter. If I do not receive one, I will be more than happy to become very active in the fight against these settlement demand letters and Getty’s new war on free speech. I had become quiet over the last couple of years because I thought Getty Images seemed to be changing their ways, becoming more reasonable in their demand amounts, the tone of their letters (even though they were being sent out from LCS now), and my efforts and full attention were no longer needed. After seeing this, it seems I may have relaxed a little prematurely. Where we go next will all depend on Getty Image’s response. I did not stand by when Getty Images threatened me in the past with their extortion letter (Oops, I said it again) and legal threats and I certainly won’t sit idly by when they try to censor mine and others free speech and opinions now.
In a Washington Post article written by First Amendment advocate Eugene Volokh states that Getty Images claims they knew nothing about CB&A sending these letters, they have offered no apology and not said much about it other than claiming ignorance. I don’t buy it for a minute that Getty Images did not know about what Ms. Bouchara and CB&A was doing. I seriously doubt any law firm/ lawyer will send out all these letters demanding that blogs, websites and articles be taken down or face law suits all on their own initiative. No money is asked for in the letters, just an implied threat if the articles are not removed,CB&A is not going to do all this, pay for signature proof of receipt letters to be mailed out of their own pockets. It is my opinion they are billing Getty for their services, you know it, I know it and Getty damn well knows it..
Getty seems to have a history of the “We didn’t know” excuse yet in their demand letters they tell
people that it was up to them to know who owns the images they used but complain when the same standard is held to them. A somewhat recent case where Getty and the French Press agency got caught stealing and then selling someone else’s images, Getty Images had to pay substantial damages in the amount of $1.2 million to Mr. Morel. So again, I don’t buy Getty Images’ excuse.
I will post my letters to Getty Images and the results as they become available,