We are reviewing the complaint. We believe it is based on a number of misconceptions, which we hope to rectify with the plaintiff as soon as possible. If that is not possible, we will defend ourselves vigorously.
The content in question has been part of the public domain for many years. It is standard practice for image libraries to distribute and provide access to public domain content, and it is important to note that distributing and providing access to public domain content is different to asserting copyright ownership of it.
Image libraries, archives and other businesses have long collected and aggregated content in the public domain, investing significant sums of money, time and resources in indexing, archiving, digitizing and making that content searchable and easily available to people to make productive use of it.
Some of the services Getty Images provides its users in addition to the above are image search tools and research support to assist them in locating the right image for their needs. We provide a variety of delivery services for users, with images being delivered by API or RSS feed or other mechanisms that suit their specific workflow and requirements. Getty Images also provides customers with legal indemnities for the use of images.
Image libraries are legally permitted to charge fees for use of images in the public domain.
LCS works on behalf of content creators and distributors to protect them against the unauthorized use of their work. In this instance, LCS pursued an infringement on behalf of its customer, Alamy. Any enquiries regarding that matter should be directed to Alamy; however, as soon as the plaintiff contacted LCS, LCS acted swiftly to cease its pursuit with respect to the image provided by Alamy and notified Alamy it would not pursue this content.
Can Anyone Use Public Domain Images?
By Nancy Wolff, Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA) Counsel