Getty claims man stole as many as 3,400 of its images, resold them on Facebook

getty files lawsuit over 3400 images execs
Code words and a private Facebook group weren’t enough to keep Getty Images from uncovering the illegal resale of as many as 3,400 of its photos. The stock image company filed a lawsuit on June 8 against an Ohio man, Walter A. Kowalczuk, who allegedly downloaded and then resold images through a private Facebook group.

Kowalczuk appears to have gained access to those images through the unauthorized use of a paid account, though how he obtained the login information is unclear, according to Photo District News.

According to the court documents, he allegedly used code words within the Facebook group, like “spaghetti” for Getty and “apples” for Associated Press. A screenshot included in the court paperwork indicates the images were resold for about 75 cents a piece in bulk quantities.

Getty discovered the resales when Photo File, a distribution partner of Getty’s, contacted Kowalczuk last year about purchasing some Chicago Blackhawks images offered for sale through the Facebook group. According to the lawsuit, Kowalczuk then “gave specific instructions for ordering the images, directing that each image be identified by the catalog number assigned by Getty Images.”

Getty then conducted its own investigation into the matter, purchasing 29 images from Kowalczuk’s Facebook group on March 29, April 1, and April 29, 2015. Most of the images that were allegedly resold were related to sports — including NHL, MLB, and NFL games. According to Photo District News, Getty is still working to identify some of the buyers. Getty is known for pursuing even the smaller offenders when it comes to unauthorized image use.

Kowalczuk is facing charges for willful copyright infringement, contributory infringement, computer fraud, and Digital Millennium Copyright Act violations. The case is being reviewed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Photography

Authentic, holistic, retro photography is in: Here are 2019’s predicted trends

What types of imagery are we most drawn to? According to recent stock photography data from Adobe, StoryBlocks, and Shutterstock, authentic, holistic, and humanitarian content will be in high demand in 2019.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Photography

Going somewhere? Capture more than your phone can with the best travel cams

Hitting the road or doing some globetrotting this year? Bring along the right camera to capture those once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories. Here's a list of some of our current favorites.
Photography

From 4K powerhouses to tiny action cams, here are the best video cameras

Although not as popular as they once were, dedicated video cameras still have their benefits. From travel vlogging to home movies to recording your kid's little league game, here are the best video cameras you can buy right now.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Photography

This A.I.-powered camera follows the action to produce epic selfie videos

Want to capture more epic action selfies? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action. Using a handful of different modes, the camera works to keep the action in the frame.
Photography

Sony crams its best camera tech into the new $900 A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.