Monday, June 11, 2012

Destroying My Blog - I Don't Want to Be Dishonest Like Getty Images

The Internet was supposed to be this wonderful playground for us all to explore and make friends... But it isn't that at all. It's full of traps and minefields that one must be ever mindful of. If you blog, you must be particularly careful as, if your blog becomes popular (and that is the point of blogging, right?) then you will become a target.

Recently, I've destroyed my daily pages views numbers. A few weeks ago, I got a particularly nasty email from a lawyer representing Getty Images (insert booing here) who claims that they want to sue me for use of their images (well, no... That's not right. They want to sue me for use of one image). This is the trap.

Why is it a trap? Well, I guess I must be confused, but if you have something that you want protected, but you don't protect it, then you are negligent if someone else comes along, picks it up and borrows it. 

I certainly didn't steal it. They still have it to use as they wish.

Say you left a baseball bat on a baseball diamond and some kids came along and started using it... Then you come along and then you think you can claim that they owe you money for rental fee? Ha! 

If you go to Google image search and search for some particular picture (all blogs are nicer with pictures) then you will see lots of pictures that are watermarked, "Getty images" or the like. Many aren't. In fact, after I checked, you'll see the exact same images that have the Getty Watermark and some that don't.

Being stupid (or thinking like most people would think) then if they aren't watermarked, they aren't copyright protected. WRONG! You could get sued. As I was threatened with. I think that Getty's way of doing business is quite distasteful and disturbing (I can see them asking that you delete - but aggressively and threateningly - like Yakuza - screaming at you over the phone over court? And for one image on a freaking blog!???)

Two men playing Chinese Chess. This looks exactly like a Getty Image...
But it's not. I took it. Use it all you want!

So now there are no photos on this blog at all unless I or my wife or friends took them. No Getty Images at all... My company will never use Getty again and I will make sure our designers at the media and broadcasting section never do again either...

I think Getty is sneaky and dishonest... I do know that their way of doing business is very bad business and they are getting tons of complaints from people all over Japan. I don't like it. I especially don't like their lawyer (who talks with an Osaka Yakuza accent) screaming at my wife (who has no idea what they are talking about) over the phone. Sure, it's nice that someone is out protecting the rights of artists (well, hell, they're getting paid to do so)... But the tactics are deplorable.

Getty Images in Japan is run by a bunch of a*sholes... Poor public image will ultimately result in very bad business. You'll see, Getty. (Here is the horrifying story of someone who has dealt with this in Japan. Use Google translate:

That also means that if you see an image you like on this blog, then use it as you wish. Just call it my little war with Getty. Over time, I will have thousands of images (and I hope that you will do the same if you are a blogger) that people can use freely as they wish.

Businessmen at Tokyo intersection at lunchtime (use this photo free!)

Blogs need photos. It's no big deal to take your own as I do from now on. Please use any images on this blog as you wish.

This has also caused me to go through this entire blog and delete every single photo that I didn't take (and even some that I did because I wasn't sure)... That means the cheesecake photos of the sexy Japanese girls won't be appearing anymore.

And that brings me to the next part of this missive; I've written many times that this blog is an exercise and study in how the Internet and Google search works. I've pretty much figured most of it out until Google comes out with a new algorithm for its search engine.

And that's where I've destroyed my blog page views!

They say that 70% of all Internet users are guys. They also say that 70% of all Internet surfers surf porn. Well my research bears this out!

Before the hassle with the photo Nazi's at Getty Images (insert booing here) this blog consistently rated between 7,000 ~ 9,000 page views a day, every day. Now after deleting all the photos of sexy girls, as well as a few hundred others, where do we stand?

I'm down to about 2,000 a day... (But the number has been steadily rising these last 2 weeks.)

That's OK, though. This blog is about Japan, marketing and the media.... Guys sitting at their computer and looking at hot girls and masturbating are not exactly my target audience...

I mean, I don't look at this particular blog for that, I don't expect that my readers do either.

I've also found out how to turbo and "double" my page views simply by using a different format for the blog, but I find that sneaky and dishonest too. That's why I am now back to the old format (sort of) that I used for the first 1.5 years of this blog's existence.

Sexy Japanese girls photos and others do not exist on this blog site anymore. I do not use sneaky blog templates that double or triple my page views. I've bled lots of page views (readers?) because guys don't come here to masturbate to photos anymore.

Unless, of course, you like long, hard things like subway trains in tunnels (use this photo free!)

Making a blog and using tools to drive people outside of my target audience to this site is dishonest and sneaky.

I don't want to be dishonest and sneaky. I don't want to be like Getty Images. I don't need people masturbating to the images on this site.

If my writing can't make them feel good or feel like masturbating, then maybe my writing isn't good enough for 9,000 readers a day. That's OK. 

At least it's honest.


Read the follow up to this article: Why Getty Images Cannot Sue You For Damages in Japanese Court and Win; Why Japan Doesn't Allow For Damages Claims in Court  


Anonymous said...

Copyright is such a fascist concept. Because all it says is "I do believe it's right for me to use the power of the state in order to force people to give me their money for otherwise they would have probably not". Let it be clear, people are not worried (at all) about them not "owning their image" - they still have one copy with them. They want the state to force people to channel their money to them. For you can't really have copyright without having a strong fascist state. One calls the other. Anyway, if I have to choose between a society where Bruce Willis makes millions fighting helicopters with nothing but bare hands, and a society where all the poor people from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe all have free access to all the information all the encyclopedias all the pictures all the classes all the videos for nothing but the price of a used computer, there can only be one position... which is, "sorry Bruce". :) - Marc Abela

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm the only one? But I did like - Just - looking at the photos of the pretty girls.
Especially after reading seriously deep economic and political stuff.

Also, I absolutely Love your rant/approach with Getty Images.

Awesome photos on the prior blog entry too. Very nice.

- clark

Ghoti said...

You might find this link useful:
Bad enough the Getty scammers pull this in the US, now they hire it to thugs in Japan.

Andy "In Japan" said...

I've been expecting this sort of explanatory blog ever since the sad day all of the photos disappeared. I'm no lawyer, but I would have to believe that this Getty Images racket would have a hard time winning a lawsuit against you for using a photo they didn't label as their own.

The truth is, the blog is less appealing without the fun photos.
Is there another source for interesting photos on the internet where the owners grant free permission to re-use the images?

Anonymous said...

Say, I clone your blog with all its articles, change the title and replace your name with mine. Then I place advertising on it and make money off your intellectual property. Would you enjoy that? Or perhaps ask for a share? You'd certainly call me an asshole.

mikeintokyorogers said...

Anonymous above is confused. The issue is not what they claim. What anonymous asks is a question of intentional fraud. Fraud. There was no misrepresentation in my case at all. There is no advertising on this blog at all. Never has been. No one was fraudulent here. A photo was used. I never said I wouldn't pay for a mistake.

Would you like a share of the revenues from this blog? Sure, you can have 100%. There are no ads or pop up on this blog and never have been. Take it all!

I complained about heavy handed tactics (search the internet and you'll find 1000s of other complaining)... Go ahead photographer, sign a contract with Getty... See how well you do.

mikeintokyorogers said...

PS: I wouldn't ask for a share. Use everything I made or wrote as you please. I am not a hypocrite. I would hope that you could read what I wrote. What part about, "Use as you please" do you find hard to understand?

mikeintokyorogers said...

PPS: I'm no Johnny Come Lately either. I said long ago, "Use as you please!"

Anonymous said...

Talk about a complete non-sequitur! The notion that stealing a car and painting it and selling it is like what you did is just crazy. Your comparison with the bat on the field is closer to the truth than Anony's....
PS: In court, Getty would have to prove they had suffered damages due to your use of their image. They couldn't. They suffered none. They can't win.
If you used their photo to make money or sold it, as a misrepresentation, then they'd have a case against you. As it stands, they don't. I know. I was a lawyer in Japan for 4 years (and San Francisco for 25).... Mark Herrick
PS* Smart move though, to remove all images.... There's always some lawyer looking to go to court.... hy not? That's how they make money... The photographers will only see pennies for every ten dollars they take. Anonymous is living in a fantasy world... Of course, most artists and photographers are clueless.

Anonymous said...

"I want to conclude by saying that I am no fan of copyright infringement. More often, I am on the side of the small company or startup that puts out content only to have a larger company or rival take its idea and profit off of it. What I am against is hard pressure tactics designed to scare someone into paying a claim and also masquerading a claim as a debt that is in collection.
Were I Getty’s counsel, I would have recommended a Cease and Desist Letter and then brought a claim only if the party persisted in the use, unless I had proof of an intentional infringement. I believe this issue may tarnish Getty’s reputation in the end. Who knows why they are taking this approach? I only know that it subjects innocent people to undue stress and concern. I hope that my efforts and this website’s efforts help to alleviate that stress somewhat.
Oscar Michelen"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ June 11, 2012 6:16 PM Just doesn't seem to "get it." As an avid reader of this blog, I know that if I took this blog (and especially this particular post) and reposted it without your name, you'd not care... In fact, any thinking person would know that you'd be ecstatic if they did.... May I? - R.D.

Mr. Nobody said...

Greetings Mike,

My condolences to your situation. It seems that in our modern era, that right and wrong, or even what is in ones heart, matters less, than who has the ears of the government.

For the life of an ordinary adult at our current time, how does a business act any different than a criminal organization?

Perseverance grows character, and I hope at the end of this, you will have come out of this even better than before.

Hopefully the story of the hottest forge producing the strongest metal, (or should I say mettle?), rings true for you.

What can I, (or we?) do to help?

All the best,
Mr. Nobody

mikeintokyorogers said...

Thanks RD. Please do!
Mr. Nobody.... Stay tuned! When I told them that I was the former GM of one of Japan's biggest broadcasting stations, their attitude completely took a 180 degree turn..... I hate people like that....

Anonymous said...

How much money is enough money for those who have too much? More. Much more! Pretty sick.


Marc Sheffner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marc Sheffner said...

If it looks like a copyrighted image, but isn't, you can safely use it. Right?

Read this.

mikeintokyorogers said...

Thanks Marc,
Absolute and total insanity.

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