Image Copyright Court Letter

51 replies
Hi all,

A friend of mine who I've set up his website for has received a court letter from rbcopyright for a payment of around £900 for an image I inserted on a page of his garden maintenance website.

This was done a around 3 months ago as a quick fix to get his website up and running again after his old webmaster went awol ( another story altogether ) The thing is I didn't copy the image to be a permanent fixture as I copied the image as it was the correct size to fill in the space on one of his pages.

I've since completed 2 other websites and have learned how to use photoshop and re-size the images in the correct way, it's just that I haven't had the time recently to update his whole site as to be fair it needs a good full day spent on it.

I've taken the image in concern of his website, however where do we stand with the payment they are asking for as they've said it's £900/per year so 3 months is £225, also how do I even know if this image has a copyright assigned to it ?

Any help would be much appreciate, as I was just naive on this subject.

Kind Regards Paco
#copyright #court #image #letter
  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    If you're going to continue in the site-creation business, you need to familiarize yourself with copyright laws before you go any further. Simply resizing an image doesn't give you the right to use it. You need to purchase a licence, gain written permission from the copyright owner or, best of all, create your own images. There are also many services online that offer free-to-use images or charge a nominal sum. Search for "stock images" or look for one of several threads on this forum concerning the topic.

    As far as your current situation goes, you should ask for proof of copyright ownership from the sender of the letter - sometimes these letters are sent by potential scammers. And technically, it's your friend, as the owner of the site, who's liable. If the claim is genuine, your options are to either pay up or negotiate a settlement. You might get away with a reduced figure.

    Put this down to experience, and be sure not to risk it happening again.
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    • Profile picture of the author paco8723
      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it and fully understand is was the wrong thing to do, the company I temporarily copied the image from is over 100 miles away from our location so I can't see how they can claim loss of earnings from it.

      I do understand however it was the wrong thing to do.

      It was a quick fix to get his website up and running again, and stealing the image was wrong. It's been on there for around 3 months what do you thing I will have to pay.

      Many Thanks Paco
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        Originally Posted by paco8723 View Post

        It was a quick fix to get his website up and running again, and stealing the image was wrong. It's been on there for around 3 months what do you thing I will have to pay.
        Paco, it depends on whether the copyright owner wants to play hardball. First, discuss the matter with your friend who owns the site - if you haven't already. Ultimately, he'll be the one where the buck stops.

        Then, see if you can talk directly to the site owner who has the original image, rather than negotiate with a third party. Court action is costly and time-consuming even when you're in the right, so it's possible you could offer some kind of non financial benefit as recompense. Perhaps an ad on your friend's site if it's in the same area of business? Or maybe do some web work for him?

        The sum they're asking does seem a little high for what it is, so an alternative offer from you might be tempting.

        Good luck.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by paco8723 View Post

        Hi Frank,

        Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it and fully understand is was the wrong thing to do, the company I temporarily copied the image from is over 100 miles away from our location so I can't see how they can claim loss of earnings from it.

        I do understand however it was the wrong thing to do.

        It was a quick fix to get his website up and running again, and stealing the image was wrong. It's been on there for around 3 months what do you thing I will have to pay.

        Many Thanks Paco
        Paco, geographical location has nothing to do with it. If there is a valid copyright, you admit you violated it. Why doesn't matter.

        You said the letter came from a court. Has a suit already been filed? Or is it a threat of a lawsuit if you don't pay?

        If it does come directly from a court, you may be getting a notice of a default judgment. In other words, the copyright holder filed a suit and no one on your side responded. In which case, the judge automatically ruled against you. If this is the case, your best bet is to negotiate a payment and make sure the court is notified that the judgment is fully satisfied.

        Your only leverage is that just because a court enters a judgment against you doesn't mean they will help you collect it, at least in the USA. You can hire someone, but for the amount involved here, it's likely too expensive. If you don't pay, the judgment lives on, and may garner things like liens against personal property. Say they have a lien against a car. Title to the car can't be transferred until the lien is settled.

        Since you gave the amounts in pounds, not dollars, you need to find out what the local law says. If your area has the equivalent of Legal Aid, show them the letter and ask for their advice.

        [I'm not a lawyer, never played one on TV, and I even slept at home last night rather than a Holiday Inn Express, so obviously you should not take this as legal advice.]
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        • Profile picture of the author paco8723
          Sorry my fault, it's a letter from a company threatening court action if it's not paid.

          I think the best bet is to offer a settlement rather than proceeding to court, but if it's £900 per year and it's been on there for 3 months would you say an offer of £225 is fair ?
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          • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
            Originally Posted by paco8723 View Post

            Sorry my fault, it's a letter from a company threatening court action if it's not paid.

            I think the best bet is to offer a settlement rather than proceeding to court, but if it's £900 per year and it's been on there for 3 months would you say an offer of £225 is fair ?
            It doesn't matter what we think. It only matters what the copyright holder thinks (in terms of negotiations prior to case filing). I don't say this to be flippant. It's simply the case.

            I recommend doing some investigative Googling on the name of the company that contacted you. There are companies that do nothing but go after possible copyright violators. You might be able to find out how someone else handled their case with the same company. There's a ton of information out there.
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            If you want me to go on arguing, you'll have to pay for another five minutes.

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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    If it were me, I wouldn't give anyone a dime ... just yet.

    Offering to settle, if and when the accuser proves he has a valid claim, may come down the road ... but it's not time to give in until you have no other alternative.

    Are you dealing with Getty Images? They are notorious for actively scouring the Internet looking for possible cases of infringement.

    Regardless of who it is, make sure you have taken down all images, and then politely ask them to prove their claim of image ownership.

    After they have submitted everything to you, inform them that you don't own the site in question and that they should contact the owner. Whatever arrangement you decide with the owner for settlement or litigation is up to you. I'm just saying it's too early to start handing out money just because someone asks for it.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Regardless of who it is, make sure you have taken down all images, and then politely ask them to prove their claim of image ownership.

    After they have submitted everything to you, inform them that you don't own the site in question and that they should contact the owner. Whatever arrangement you decide with the owner for settlement or litigation is up to you. I'm just saying it's too early to start handing out money just because someone asks for it.
    If this were your site and you wanted to play games with it - fine.

    The OP caused this problem (and admits it) on someone else's site. If he decides to obstruct/delay - the company who owns the copyright may decide to simply file against his friend.

    Some people will do anything to get out of paying - and sometimes it's the smart way to go. When you KNOW you were wrong - and someone else is at risk.... I think you pay the piper. I'd make a lower offer and see what they do.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      If this were your site and you wanted to play games with it - fine.

      The OP caused this problem (and admits it) on someone else's site. If he decides to obstruct/delay - the company who owns the copyright may decide to simply file against his friend.

      Some people will do anything to get out of paying - and sometimes it's the smart way to go. When you KNOW you were wrong - and someone else is at risk.... I think you pay the piper. I'd make a lower offer and see what they do.
      Yep. I had a similar situation on a site I built 10 years ago for someone. Hired someone to do some graphic design. Could no longer find them to prove they legally obtained the rights to the image.

      Then along came a copyright troll. They took images down from one of the popular stock photo sites and then went after everyone using those images for proof that they had obtained the rights to the image legally.

      I couldn't provide proof because I could no longer find the freelancer I used.

      Had to settle for $500 on an $8000 claim.

      You can probably settle this pretty cheap. I would do it and move on, assuming they can prove ownership (or prove ownership on behalf of their client).
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    I would ask for proof of the copyright and then offer a cheap settlement and move on.

    You don't really have a legal basis to stand on. You used the image. Your friend is liable for what appears on his website.

    Let this be a lesson to everyone else too. If you hire someone to design a website for you, a single webpage, or do any kind of graphic design and they use existing images, make them provide you with documentation that they have the right to use those images. Them just saying that they got them off of a stock image site is not enough to cover you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    To be fair - this isn't always "copyright troll". Someone who owns the rights to an image has a right to protect that image.
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    Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      To be fair - this isn't always "copyright troll". Someone who owns the rights to an image has a right to protect that image.
      No it is not always. Whether it is a copyright troll or not though, you are still liable.

      And yes, image owners should actively protect their images.
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      • Profile picture of the author Karl Gambolputty
        It really depends on what kind of image it is and the presentation of that image.

        Calling your selfies "art" for example will not get you very far in court, and nor would any competent judge award the ridiculous sums I've seen mentioned in court.

        OP: Here's my advice. If the image you used was vaguely communicated and not a TIME magazine quality photograph (only you can know this), call their bluff.

        Often this kind of activity equates to little more than a shakedown by the copyright mafia - if you don't think you infringed upon someone's actual livelyhood by doing this, then fight it.

        "Just say no" to extortion.
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        • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
          Originally Posted by Karl Gambolputty View Post

          It really depends on what kind of image it is and the presentation of that image.

          Calling your selfies "art" for example will not get you very far in court, and nor would any competent judge award the ridiculous sums I've seen mentioned in court.

          OP: Here's my advice. If the image you used was vaguely communicated and not a TIME magazine quality photograph (only you can know this), call their bluff.

          Often this kind of activity equates to little more than a shakedown by the copyright mafia - if you don't think you infringed upon someone's actual livelyhood by doing this, then fight it.

          "Just say no" to extortion.

          He already admitted that he did infringe on the copyright. That part is not in question.
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          • Profile picture of the author Karl Gambolputty
            Sure he did, I don't deny that.

            But if you aren't explicitly making money off someone else's IP, merely featuring it as a background on a website is not going to cause a judge to rule for the 900 pounds against him or whatever arbitrary sum he was threatened with.

            As stated most people are just terrified of going to court so they bow to these shakedowns, but a photograph for instance is not generally seen in the same light as say a painting, song or a film in terms of being a strong intellectual property, especially in an age where anyone with an iphone 7 can call themselves a "photographer". Where's the eye-rolling emoji?

            The technical details of copyright law are nebulous and tedious, sadly. That's just the nature of the beast and it's hard to say anything really specific without seeing the actual website, the image and the context in which it was used.

            For instance if an image is altered enough, it falls under the realm of "transformative" art.

            Bottom line: If these "trolls" had to fight everyone they demand money from in court, they'd go broke. But if people bow to their demands and capitulate, they'll just keep shaking the ol' money to kingdom come.
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        • Profile picture of the author koolphoto
          Originally Posted by Karl Gambolputty View Post

          It really depends on what kind of image it is and the presentation of that image.

          Calling your selfies "art" for example will not get you very far in court, and nor would any competent judge award the ridiculous sums I've seen mentioned in court.

          OP: Here's my advice. If the image you used was vaguely communicated and not a TIME magazine quality photograph (only you can know this), call their bluff.

          Often this kind of activity equates to little more than a shakedown by the copyright mafia - if you don't think you infringed upon someone's actual livelyhood by doing this, then fight it.

          "Just say no" to extortion.
          This is bad advice from someone who is not a lawyer. He clearly doesn't know what he is talking about, so please don't take his advice. My best advice is to reply to the letter and try to negotiate it down. Yes, make sure they are the true copyright holder. Otherwise, seek the advice of a lawyer and not a layman on a marketing forum.

          As a photographer, I have had this problem with theft of my photos in the past. It is an annoyance to me, and I take it very seriously when people think that they can do what they want with my images.

          FYI, there are actually lawyers and companies who specialize in finding and recovering damages from websites who steal images, and it has become big business for them.
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          • Profile picture of the author Karl Gambolputty
            No I'm not a lawyer, and he should definitely speak to one if he can find someone recommended with a cheap-ish consulting fee.

            He hosted an image that wasn't his, sure.

            But the point is, assuming he took it down already (I hope), what basis do you think someone has to demand 900 pounds right off the cuff, without even warning him of his infringement? No sane judge is going to award that if you were compliant and removed the infringing material upon initial notification.

            Also legally it will matter a lot if he is directly making money by using this image or not. If for instance it's just a blog roll about gardening, there's virtually no chance a judge would award that sum.
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            • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
              I think it is ridiculous how many people here actually seriously believe in bending over, folding and paying. No wonder so many are dirt poor.
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            • Profile picture of the author koolphoto
              So I guess you're saying when the police arrest a burglar who is in possession of a ring he stole and claims he is just giving it to his wife for a gift not to take him to jail since he is not selling the ring. Just saying...

              Sorry. I don't want to argue, but this is a passion of mine because I work hard on my photographs and others profit for free from my hard work. I actually make less money each successive year because of thievery on the internet. But it seems there are quite a few here that feel it is OK. Yet, you build your websites in hopes of making money by selling your pdf's or courses and heaven forbid that you get a return or even worse a serial refunder. Then you are pissed because they are then stealing from you and you can't understand how a low-life could do such a thing.

              I am sorry, but stupidty of people like you and asiboyz giving bad advice disgust me.

              I said my piece, and I think it is fruitless for me to argue with someone who has made up his mind and unwilling to change his opinion.
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              My name is Ken Katz and I am a Web Designer and Photographer. My motto: "If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." -Jim Rohn

              Celebrity Portrait Photgapher - My Photography Portfolio.

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  • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
    Did you actually receive COURT notice or just nonsense spam from some ambulance chaser lawyer?

    If its just typical threatening email from bottom feeders, I'd ignore it entirely, but replace image. And I would not pay anything. Those people almost never win in real court.

    But next time be very certain of copyright status of images you use, as eventually you'll run into heavyweight copyright troll who will push you through courts and win. Price of image is 5 bucks. Losing this in court can be thousands. Just not worth the hassle.
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    • Profile picture of the author paco8723
      Sorry, it's a threat of court action from a 3rd party company if it's not paid, but I'm going to negotiate tomorrow with them and ask for the copyright from the original owner.
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      • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
        Have you considered just buying that image from wherever its sold?

        If its stock, it is around $5. Perhaps less depending on image size you want.

        I still feel that best thing to do is just ignore them, but if you actually wanted to argue semantics with judge, purchasing image could make this simple ruling in your favor as the only issue then would be you stating you were not initially aware that it was not public domain, and minute you found out, you purchased it.

        Whatever you do, dont pay them without contacting EFF first.

        https://www.eff.org
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  • Profile picture of the author superowid
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Ridiculous to give advice that someone ignore a legal notice - but in these threads there are always a couple macho answers.

    Lot of advice - not a lot of ethics floating around. They would put your friend at risk.

    Please let us know how it works out for you.
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    Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

    I'm going to work on being less condescending
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by paco8723 View Post

    Hi all,

    A friend of mine who I've set up his website for has received a court letter from rbcopyright for a payment of around £900 for an image I inserted on a page of his garden maintenance website.

    This was done a around 3 months ago as a quick fix to get his website up and running again after his old webmaster went awol ( another story altogether ) The thing is I didn't copy the image to be a permanent fixture as I copied the image as it was the correct size to fill in the space on one of his pages.

    I've since completed 2 other websites and have learned how to use photoshop and re-size the images in the correct way, it's just that I haven't had the time recently to update his whole site as to be fair it needs a good full day spent on it.

    I've taken the image in concern of his website, however where do we stand with the payment they are asking for as they've said it's £900/per year so 3 months is £225, also how do I even know if this image has a copyright assigned to it ?

    Any help would be much appreciate, as I was just naive on this subject.

    Kind Regards Paco
    You should contact the company who issued that warning and ask them where you stand
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  • Profile picture of the author Arvind Kumar
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
      Originally Posted by Arvind Kumar View Post

      In Google image search you can filter images and find images without any copyright issues
      BAD advice. I've written before about how a Google image search said an image was okay to use but it actually belonged to Getty Images.

      Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Arvind Kumar View Post

      In Google image search you can filter images and find images without any copyright issues
      This bit of bad advice comes up on every thread like this.

      DO NOT rely on Google's filter to cover you. Even Google puts a disclaimer on the search.

      All the filter does is select images where the poster claims there's no copyright issue. There is no due diligence or actual vetting of individual images.

      Yes, you can use the Google filter as a first step. But before you use that image, follow up and make sure the person making the claim has the right to do so. "Google said it was okay" is not a legal defense.

      As for the keyboard lawyers telling the OP to ignore this notice, are you going to indemnify the OP if your advice is wrong? Going to cover his court costs and penalty if it goes to court and he loses? If not, quit giving advice about other peoples' legal issues.
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      • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
        If you have issue with people asking for legal advice here then correct way to proceed is to simply add to ToS that nobody should ever ask for legal advice here, and/or delete any and all threads that ask for one.

        Advising people to go waste time and money hiring lawyers or paying without a fight on issues some of us know quite a bit about and can give valid advice (in this case it is to IGNORE copyright trolls demands for payment) is just malicious.
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  • Profile picture of the author Karl Gambolputty
    @OP:

    "Fair use involves subjective judgments, often affected by factors such as a judge or jury's personal sense of right or wrong."
    (from http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview.../four-factors/)
    ^ And that is why you should talk to an attorney with an affordable fee if you can. IP & Copyright law is probably the single most subjective aspect of the legal system.

    What a knowledgeable IP lawyer will do is give you a rundown on "precedent" cases featuring situations like yours and what the outcomes are most of the time, to help give you a better understanding of the situation.

    But before you call an attorney, read up on that Stanford legal article about fair use, and see which category your usage of that photo falls under. If anything else it might assuage some of your fears.

    Good luck sir
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Why is it the most vociferous arguments in 'legal' threads always come from those advising someone to ignore a legal notice? Unless you are an attorney in the OP's country - you have no clue what the law will do.

    Once you have given your armchair 'legal' opinion - continuing to argue is nothing but right fighting and not helpful to the OP or anyone else.
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    Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

    I'm going to work on being less condescending
    (Condescending means to talk down to people)
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    • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
      Why are you so hostile?

      Any decent lawyer will tell you, privately, that best course of action is to simply IGNORE most nonsense requests. It is what every single large company does. Ever try to contact Paypal, eBay, Google, Facebook, Twitter? They ignore all but tiny number of emails. And out of those they respond to at all, it will be with copypasted form response filled out by someone earning under $1 per hour.

      The WORST thing anyone can do when receiving blackmail notices is to acknowledge them. Minute you choose to reply, state that you are in fact guilty, and offer any amount, you set yourself up for easy loss in small claims.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    You are drawing conclusions about legalities in another country - and not just making your views known but arguing them. You are talking about contacting google and blackmail and on and on - are we inventing scenarios?

    Legal advice on a forum (both mine and yours) is useless. IANAL and I doubt you are, either.
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    Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

    I'm going to work on being less condescending
    (Condescending means to talk down to people)
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    • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
      I am not a lawyer.

      But, you do not use lawyer to go to small claims court, nor arbitration. The amount of request is under 5000, so that would be small claims. And I have gone to small claims maybe two dozen times over past 20 years. Several times over copyrights, as one of things I do is recycle Public Domain.

      Notices by "3rd party copyright agencies" are blackmail. Extortion really. Even when notice comes from large stick image company, its usually just extortion attempt and they go away if you ignore them. I probably got thousands of those by now. I paid grand total of zero. No lawyers.

      I use lot of autoblogs, among other automation tools, and that results in plenty of these notices. We could say that I am not really concerned with ethics, but we are not on ethics forum, we are supposed to give real world advice to help fellow marketers, and while I havent been here since "Alexa" had everyone thinking his Russian Model fake accounts were real, that shouldnt have changed much.

      Without anyone giving you legal advice for free, you are stuck paying some lawyer (who might not actually be good, nor right). Here, thats hundred bucks just for lawyer to listen to you 60 minutes tops. And those copyright trolls count on that, and on people being afraid.
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  • Profile picture of the author KelvKelv
    Vex Vane has one of the best advice in this whole thread, and there's nothing more to add, really!!!

    Those who are saying to pay or to reply to the extortion are just scared shitless, they have no clue, just giving advice out of fear. No wonder so many are dirt poor indeed.

    I have had these letters before, I just ignored them and after several attempts they gave up. It's more expensive for them to persecute in actual court and the only actual way they make money is send to so many people with hope some will be scared shitless and pay (like many who have replied here, lol).

    If you are too scared, then do what Vex Vane recommended, look for the image in stock sites and buy it, but still ignore the extortion letters and wait for the actual court summon, which will never come by the way. But if it does come, you actually bought the image and can use Vex Vane's suggestion:

    "if you actually wanted to argue semantics with judge, purchasing image could make this simple ruling in your favor as the only issue then would be you stating you were not initially aware that it was not public domain, and minute you found out, you purchased it."

    Problem solved!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author DURABLEOILCOM
    I suggest contacting a lawyer to solve this issue. This is not something to take lightly.
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  • Profile picture of the author asiboyz
    I've been working on a webhosting company for 8 years. Our job is almost everything, from technical support to billing to legal cases.

    We received tons of cases regarding copyright infringement to images.

    We as tech support only notify the owner (via email) to take down the photos and if they do not respond within 24 hours, we as webhosting company will take down the site temporarily...

    The secret is....

    Do not reply or respond to their letter asking for copyright infringement fee...

    just take down the image and that's it!

    The copyright trollers can never ever pursue the site owners for legal claims, especially if the image is no longer on the site.

    Just Don't REPLY no matter what...

    even the webhosting company cannot provide full personal information about the website owner to some troll lawyers threatening the person who copyrighted the image... so that means there is no way they can contact you...

    and even if they contacted you, just do not reply and just ignore it... as long as you already removed the image, no need to worry...

    Trust me... i've been into this for 8 years....
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    • Profile picture of the author Karl Gambolputty
      That's some really helpful info mate, thanks for the tips.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    Hey don't feel to bad Paco. What's done is done.

    We all make mistakes but hopefully we learn from them.

    I made mistakes myself.

    Once I copied a clip from the 2012 movie Battleship.

    It was the scene where lead actor Harper leads the charge onboard the USS Missouri.

    I had done a blog post and you tube video on the Power of Perseverance.

    So since I mentioned this movie scene in my personal video...I also said to my readers that I would include this movie scene lower down on my blog post.

    So silly me went out and copied a 2 minute clip from this movie and then uploaded it to you tube.

    This was a major no no for breaking Copyright Laws.

    Within minutes of me publishing this video on my own channel...

    Guess who contacted me through YT?

    Universal Studios.

    But luckily for me they didn't sue my ass.

    They just said in their technical terms...Don't ever do this again!

    But to mt surprise...

    They let me keep it on my channel after I explained my reason why I did it.

    However, they outright told me that I can not ever use it to run ads.

    Don't even think about doing this Newbies.

    It was my lucky day.

    They could have sued me big time.
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    • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
      Originally Posted by Rory Singh View Post

      Hey don't feel to bad Paco. What's done is done.

      We all make mistakes but hopefully we learn from them.

      I made mistakes myself.

      Once I copied a clip from the 2012 movie Battleship.

      It was the scene where lead actor Harper leads the charge onboard the USS Missouri.

      I had done a blog post and you tube video on the Power of Perseverance.

      So since I mentioned this movie scene in my personal video...I also said to my readers that I would include this movie scene lower down on my blog post.

      So silly me went out and copied a 2 minute clip from this movie and then uploaded it to you tube.

      This was a major no no for breaking Copyright Laws.

      Within minutes of me publishing this video on my own channel...

      Guess who contacted me through YT?

      Universal Studios.

      But luckily for me they didn't sue my ass.

      They just said in their technical terms...Don't ever do this again!

      But to mt surprise...

      They let me keep it on my channel after I explained my reason why I did it.

      However, they outright told me that I can not ever use it to run ads.

      Don't even think about doing this Newbies.

      It was my lucky day.

      They could have sued me big time.
      I see so many people making "top 10" or list type videos on YouTube and they do this all the time. They either use small clips from the movie itself or they will pause the movie and take a screen shot and then use the image.

      I'm not saying it's right, but I'm really surprised that Universal Studios went to the trouble of actually contacting you like that since there must be thousands and thousands of people doing this.

      Many of the YouTubers that do this are popular and have tens of thousands of subscribers and millions of video views.

      Maybe they obtain permission before doing this?

      Maybe the studios don't care in this instance since so many people are going to see the video they consider it free advertising.

      I'm not really sure how they get away with it.

      In 10 years as an Internet Marketer, though, I've never received one copyright warning. I think that's mostly because I always create my own original videos and images. In the rare instances that I don't, I use public domain stuff or royalty free stuff that I've purchased a license to use.

      All I know is that people don't take this stuff seriously enough. I don't think people truly understand just how much it can cost them if the copyright owner really wants to get nasty. I mean, it can be "bankrupt your business" serious.

      At any rate, I know it's a fine line sometimes and it can be really easy to make a mistake.

      I think the best thing to do if anyone should get themselves in that type of situation would be to contact a lawyer. That's the only advice you can really count on in the end.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by Vex Vane View Post

        But if he does, Electronic Frontier Foundation offers free legal advice and there are millions of lawyers willing to go Pro Bono on internet copyright case that is so obviously abusive in nature.
        Finally, a bit of solid advice amongst the macho bluster. Thank you.

        The trick, whether this is the OP or a "friend" is proof of culpability. That's why many of us couched out advice to settle with 'if they show proof of rights ownership'.

        Lacking such proof, consulting with bona fide experts in the matter before settling is a wise course. With such proof, the best course is negotiating a settlement.
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  • Profile picture of the author koolphoto
    This link is to an article about copyright. Not exactly what this discussion is about, but it is very similar. It ended up costing this person a lot.

    https://petapixel.com/2017/07/01/pho...tel-cost-2800/
    Signature

    My name is Ken Katz and I am a Web Designer and Photographer. My motto: "If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." -Jim Rohn

    Celebrity Portrait Photgapher - My Photography Portfolio.

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    • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
      That guy was stupid and just paid. That is precisely what I say NOT to do.
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    • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
      More specifically, he received court papers, ignored them, then paid. When he could have contested execution of that Austrian order in Netherlands, and easily won.

      Just because Nigerian court decides that you are guilty, does not mean American one will feel the same. You can stretch these things at virtually no cost, for DECADES, perhaps lifetime.

      Either way, he CHOSE to pay. He did not bother to fight at all, and that is just plain dumb.
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      • Profile picture of the author paco8723
        As I own the domain I spoke to the company and got them to email my friend explaining that he's not liable, as he was worrying himself to death, it's now down to me to pay them and guess what ??

        I'm not giving them a penny !!

        The image was on the wesbsite for less than 2 months, it was a novice error and I will be ignoring all future letters.
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        • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
          And now the story doesn't make any sense.

          You got them to email your friend saying he had no liability. Now you are going to screw them by not paying them?

          What kind of company sends a notice of no liability without payment first?

          Not taking the time to understand the law before you made your novice mistake doesn't excuse or exempt you from any liability.

          I love how threads like these show people's real colors. Lots of your friendly forum buddies would screw you over in a heartbeat and at the same time cry foul if they were the victim of theft.

          Mark

          Originally Posted by paco8723 View Post

          As I own the domain I spoke to the company and got them to email my friend explaining that he's not liable, as he was worrying himself to death, it's now down to me to pay them and guess what ??

          I'm not giving them a penny !!

          The image was on the wesbsite for less than 2 months, it was a novice error and I will be ignoring all future letters.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    As I own the domain..
    Interesting how the stories change....initially it was "a friend's" garden maintenance site.... The friend never was at risk except perhaps of having the site taken down.

    Wonder how much righteous indignation there will be if the company goes to court or takes on the hosting provider.... Oh well, not my risk.
    Signature
    Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

    I'm going to work on being less condescending
    (Condescending means to talk down to people)
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    • Profile picture of the author paco8723
      I'm following the advise of Vex Vane and others, If I have they take me to court and have to pay I will make a payment plan to the munimum monthly payment as I own no assets, until then I will not pay them anything.
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      • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
        Originally Posted by paco8723 View Post

        I'm following the advise of Vex Vane and others, If I have they take me to court and have to pay I will make a payment plan to the munimum monthly payment as I own no assets, until then I will not pay them anything.
        I would be really careful about this because if this was to go south that girl Vex wont be around to help you

        BTW you never did explain how you/friend got the letter by post or email?

        Though I must say coming to a marketing web to asked advice when half of the replies are from serial sig spammers was not the best idea

        And some of your answers just dont ad up ! well sure you will sort it out

        Jason
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        • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
          I am not a girl, and he should not need anyone to help him with obvious extortion attempt.

          But if he does, Electronic Frontier Foundation offers free legal advice and there are millions of lawyers willing to go Pro Bono on internet copyright case that is so obviously abusive in nature.

          Who cares if his answers add up? People post here saying 'friend' instead of "I" all the time when worried about consequences. I think it is fairly obvious what happened, and I clearly stated how that is dealt with properly.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    Before giving anyone a dime, you need to obtain proof that the people demanding payment actually own the copyright to the image.

    If they are not willing or cannot provide proof, then I would wait for further communication from an attorney.

    If they do provide you with proof, then you need to try and negotiate a settlement. Usually they will negotiate with you.

    If you did violate copyright, try and see it from their perspective. You used their intellectual property and put it on a website that potentially made you money. They are owed compensation. It's only fair.

    The amount of compensation, however, is the real question.
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    • Profile picture of the author paco8723
      Yes, they have yet to show me proof of the original owner of the image, so I will wait.

      Thanks Paco
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