The ad-subsidized Web is at a crossroads: faced with pressure from social media platform, publishers are accepting ever-more-intrusive ads, which combine with the mounting public concern over privacy and tracking to encourage ad-blocking, which, in turn, makes publishers more desperate and more biddable to the darkest surveillance and pop-up desires of advertisers.
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Getty Images recently billed a German women's geek culture blog $868 for a 2012 blog post that contained Socially Awkward Penguin meme images. Getty also insisted that the blog, Geek Sisters, keep quiet about it.
Socially Awkward Penguin is a 6-year-old meme that has appeared countless times on Reddit, blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts. The penguin photo in the meme was taken by George F. Mobley for National Geographic and usage licenses are available from Getty.
Get Digital, the parent site of Geek Sisters, paid the fee, but it is not keeping quiet about it as Getty insists. Here's a post about Getty's threat to bring in the attack lawyers if Geek Sisters mentions having to pay the fee (original text is in German, the following is from Google Translate):
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After some more exchanging e-mails with the answer Getty became clear: Since the legal situation appeared quite clear we agreed on paying the amount claimed and of course we deleted the images. As a result Getty pointed out that we were obliged to maintain silence about this case otherwise their lawyers would take over. : O
Of course that is something we can not accept. We informed Getty that we would agree on everything (including the payment) except for the confidential treatment. Apparently this is not acceptable for Getty as they repeated their answer saying that in this case an agreement would not be possible and they would hand it over to their lawyers. Here is the presumed reason why it is NOT POSSIBLE to find anything about this case on the internet:
Getty is simply threatening to contact lawyers in order to force the affected persons to maintain silence and just pay the amount claimed!
Potential Prostitutes is only the latest sleazy site to wed personal photos to public humiliation. Its offer to publicize anonymous claims of sex crimes, however, is a novelty: any woman may be be anonymously tagged as a prostitute.
The site accepts anonymous submissions through an online form and promises to post uploads in a browsable "offender" database seeded with mugshots of convicted prostitutes. Entries may be removed by those listed—so long as they pay a hefty removal fee. Read the rest