Tigard woman upset over copyright fee

TIGARD, Ore. - A Tigard woman is facing a big fine from a major company for using a copyright image.

Jane Davies admits she used an image of terriers racing on her blog last year, but said she didn't know it was protected by copyright at the time.

"I would always look to make sure that (pictures I use) weren't copyrighted and oftentimes it would have a water mark so you would know not to use that," Davies said.

Davies found out it was protected by copyright when she received a letter from Getty Images demanding she remove the picture and pay them $480.

"I support the arts. And they should get paid. And I totally believe in that. But this was just going too far," Davies said.

It's the price of her mistake Davies has a problem with.

She said she immediately removed the picture, but didn't pay the $480.

Six months later, she got a letter from a law firm representing Getty demanding $926.

"To me it's a form of extortion, because it's intimidating people. It's very frightening, and I've lost sleep over it," Davies said.

KATU checked with a local copyright attorney who said what Getty is doing is legal and, in fact, becoming common.

Parker Higgins, an activist with Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he believes the price is tactically set.

"It feels like the value that the letter asks for is just low enough that it's not worth talking to a lawyer or expert," Higgins said. "And it feels like the only way out is to pay a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars."

Getty sent KATU a statement Thursday afternoon saying in part the increase in demanded payment comes from legal fees.

The statement also claims Davies is still using the image on her site, but KATU found the link to the image to be broken.

You can read Getty's full statement here.