• Native Americans from different tribes participate in a rally outside US District Court in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers to protect their water and land from the Dakota Access Pipeline. A federal judge in Washington considered a request by the Standing Rock Sioux for a temporary injunction against an oil pipeline under construction near their reservation straddling the North Dakota-South Dakota border. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Native Americans from different tribes participate in a rally outside US District Court in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers to protect their ... water and land from the Dakota Access Pipeline. A federal judge in Washington considered a request by the Standing Rock Sioux for a temporary injunction against an oil pipeline under construction near their reservation straddling the North Dakota-South Dakota border. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (The Associated Press)

  • In this undated photo provided by Carol M. Highsmith, Carol Highsmith poses with her camera. The accomplished Maryland photographer, who has donated thousands of pictures of America to the Library of Congress, is suing Getty Images for over $1 billion, saying the company is selling them without permission. (Carol M. Highsmith America Collection/Library of Congress via AP)

    In this undated photo provided by Carol M. Highsmith, Carol Highsmith poses with her camera. The accomplished Maryland photographer, who has donated thousands of pictures of America to the Library of Congress, is suing Getty Images for over $1 ... billion, saying the company is selling them without permission. (Carol M. Highsmith America Collection/Library of Congress via AP) (The Associated Press)

  • This June 15, 2005 photo provided by Carol M. Highsmith, shows a landscape of an Idaho farm and field. Highsmith, an accomplished Maryland photographer who lets the public use thousands of her images taken across America for free, is suing Getty Images for over $1 billion, saying the company is selling them without permission. (Carol M. Highsmith America Collection/Library of Congress via AP)

    This June 15, 2005 photo provided by Carol M. Highsmith, shows a landscape of an Idaho farm and field. Highsmith, an accomplished Maryland photographer who lets the public use thousands of her images taken across America for free, is suing Getty ... Images for over $1 billion, saying the company is selling them without permission. (Carol M. Highsmith America Collection/Library of Congress via AP) (The Associated Press)

Photographer seeking $1 billion from Getty Images agency

Markets Associated Press

An accomplished photographer who lets the public use thousands of her images of America for free has sued the Getty Images photo agency in New York for more than $1 billion, saying it's improperly selling her work and sending threatening letters to those who don't pay.

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Carol Highsmith says she became aware Getty was selling her work when she received a letter from an affiliated company accusing her of copyright infringement for using one of her own photographs online.

Highsmith lives in Takoma Park, Maryland. She wasn't in Manhattan federal court Wednesday for a conference on the lawsuit.

Seattle-based Getty says the lawsuit is based on misconceptions. It says it's standard practice for image libraries to distribute content in the public domain. It says fees are legal to cover costs of indexing and digitizing images.