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Jan 12

My Response Letter To Getty Images / Cabinet Bouchara – Avocats

Two days ago on January 10, 2017 I received a cease and desist letter from the French Law firm of Cabinet Bouchara – Avocat on behalf of Getty Images stating I was guilty of “acts of gross disparagement”  for reporting on Getty Images business model and using phrases like “…The settlement demand letter sent out by Getty and McCormack, in my opinion, are designed to panic and instill fear in the letter recipient.”   You can read the entire letter in the link above.

 

Needless to say I was not happy with the letter or the attempt at censorship by Getty Images.  I had thought Getty was improving, their letters had been toned down and less threatening, the amounts they were asking for seemed much more reasonable.  In fact until receiving this letter I had not felt the need to write an article about Getty in almost two years.  The letter appears to be an attempt to remove negative comments throughout the interwebs,

I now am riled up again and have opened my folder of ready-to-go complaint letters and am getting ready to start informing all those who received these attempted censorship letters the can respond with complaints to the proper agency.  There is a definite legal threat in these letters as they state if the articles/site/blog are not removed within 8 days of receipt of the letter then they have been instructed by Getty to “initiate all appropriate action against you”.

 

Here is the letter I drafted and sent in reply….

 

January 11, 2017

Ms. Vanessa Bouchara
Cabinet Bouchara Avocats
17 rue du Colisée – 75008 Paris

 

RE: Getty Images Cease and Desist Letter sent to GettyImagesMustChange.com

 

Ms. Bouchara,

I received your cease and desist letter in the mail on January 10, 2017 by registered letter. You sent it to the wrong address and it took a few days to catch up to my new address. I must say I was a little surprised by it.  After looking you and your law firm up, I see you claim to be intellectual property specialists. I was very confused as to how you assume French Law would apply to me and my website being an American citizen operating a U.S. based website directed at U.S. citizens.  My site contains document-supported, fact-based reporting accompanied by my personal opinions on your client’s business practices.

The Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage (Speech Act) states that foreign defamation judgements are unenforceable in the U.S. unless the foreign findings are consistent with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  All statements on my site that are not document-supported are my OPINION which is fully supported by my First Amendment rights. I also believe that under French Law, any claim against me or my site must be made within thirty days of the original posting, not 30 days from when you noticed it. Prior to receiving your letter, my last post was almost two years ago. This is a moot point anyway, as I stated my opinions are protected speech.

You accuse me of “acts of gross disparagement seriously damaging Getty Images’ image” yet I believe it is your client who is doing it to themselves by doing things like having foreign law firms send me letters threatening me with legal action over protected speech using foreign law.  This, Ms. Bouchara, is the type of letter I refer to as “harassing”, “bullying“ and “unethical“ and the type of behavior I have come to expect from your client.  Why does your client not attempt this with a U.S. lawyer?  Because, in my opinion, they know it has no merit and are hoping that the letter recipients will panic and fear the implied imminent lawsuit and take their websites, articles, or blogs down.

You state in your letter that if I do not comply with your client’s demands, they will “initiate all appropriate action against me”.  Again, it is vague but threatening and definitely an implied legal threat.  I will tell you right now that I have no intention of complying with your client’s demands and fully intend on reporting on all this and your clients attempts at censorship of free speech.  The last time your client threatened me with the possibility of legal action after refusing to negotiate in good faith, I ended up launching a campaign to inform recipients of your clients letters that if they felt as I did and Getty Images refused to provide proof of claim or negotiate in good faith, they could file complaints with the Attorney General and other agencies.  It appears this resulted in 117 complaints filed with the Attorney General in the 18 months. I tracked it.

Your client’s new letter attempting to remove free speech they do not like has irritated me enough that I am considering starting the campaign up again reaching out to all those you have sent these letters to.  I really do not want to do this, I have better things to do with my time.  I am willing to let everything go and dismiss this if I receive an apology from you, Ms. Bouchara, and your client along with dismissing this claim.  If I receive these apology letters or emails, I will do a follow up article showing your client has withdrawn their claim and apologized.  I truly hope we can end this amicably.

Regards,

 

Greg Troy

GettyImagesMustChange.com

 

I will now wait and see if I get my apology or not. As always, I will keep you posted.

 

1 comment

1 ping

  1. Russ Butner

    Well said. I doubt that they will reply.

  1. Who at Getty Images Thought This Would End Well??? »

    […] 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 […]

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