Today, more than ever before, you have to be especially careful about the images you use on your blog or website.
That's because companies like Getty Images are aggressively pursuing site owners who use images without the proper copyright.
It doesn't matter whether you use an unlicensed image accidentally or intentionally -- the consequences are the same.
If Getty (or Corbis or Masterfile) catches you, you will become the not-proud recipient of a settlement demand letter (AKA "extortion letter").
These settlement demand letters will usually demand that you pay an amount somewhere between $800 and $1,500 in "damages" to the company that owns the copyright.
Tens of thousands of settlement letters are sent out every year, and that number is growing. This is no longer about protecting photographers or pursuing copyright thieves -- it's a business model.
In fact, it's called "infringement monetization." Conservative estimates reveal that Getty is banking around $40 to $50 million per year from this strategy alone.
Anyway, in the summer of 2011, I received a settlement demand letter from Getty. I share my story in-depth here:
I also wrote a follow-up post a few days later. You can read that here: