Comment: Controlling illegal use of copyrighted material on the Web

Fines for the misuse of a copyrighted photo are too high, critics say. Though agencies deserve a fair fee, negotiating with users is preferable to big penalties.The letter arrived at Dave Formella’s Long Beach travel agency the other day. It’s fair to say it freaked him out.”It has come to our attention that you are using an image represented by Getty Images for online promotional purposes,” the letter from the photo service began. It demanded $1,000 in damages, or $900 if Formella agreed to pony up the cash within two weeks.”We were really surprised, because we didn’t think we were using any copyrighted pictures,” Formella, 51, told me. He said he immediately pulled every photo from his company’s site, which had been put together by a Web-design firm.,0,7434261.column

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