Being billed for use of photo

by BurtL
67 replies
We client who's site we maintain maintains that was recently sent a bill for an image that was grabbed from another site and edited from about 2 years back. Being so long ago no one remembers who wrote the original post and where it came from.

The original site owner is claiming that the site stole the image from them and that they are billing our client. The catch is after looking at the original site and the image in question has photo credits to a completely different site.

We've removed the photo from the site.

Any advice as to what to say/do?
#billed #photo
  • Profile picture of the author rjames
    You can't just bill someone for using something...be it rightly or wrongly...the avenue they would have to go is an attorney so if that hasn't happened, ignore it...
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    • Profile picture of the author HeySal
      Originally Posted by rjames View Post

      You can't just bill someone for using something...be it rightly or wrongly...the avenue they would have to go is an attorney so if that hasn't happened, ignore it...
      Bull Sh** you can't. You use anything of anyone's without permission and they can send you a bill. You can refuse to pay it but if they can prove it's theirs, they can force you to pay in court - and since you swiped it, they get to name their price.

      The trick to this one is that someone is charging for use of something that isn't even theirs.

      What I would do first is to see if the site trying to charge you is still using the photo - then take mine down - and contact the owner about the guy who tried to charge you..........

      Then I would figure that it's pretty crooked (and can get complicated) to use someone else's material without permission and start dealing straight myself.
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      • Profile picture of the author rjames
        Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

        Bull Sh** you can't. You use anything of anyone's without permission and they can send you a bill. You can refuse to pay it but if they can prove it's theirs, they can force you to pay in court - and since you swiped it, they get to name their price.

        The trick to this one is that someone is charging for use of something that isn't even theirs.

        What I would do first is to see if the site trying to charge you is still using the photo - then take mine down - and contact the owner about the guy who tried to charge you..........

        Then I would figure that it's pretty crooked (and can get complicated) to use someone else's material without permission and start dealing straight myself.
        Sure...you CAN...you CAN do anything you want...doesn't mean I'm doing anything about it until your attorney contacts me...
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      • Profile picture of the author Maui Joe
        Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

        Bull Sh** you can't. You use anything of anyone's without permission and they can send you a bill. You can refuse to pay it but if they can prove it's theirs, they can force you to pay in court - and since you swiped it, they get to name their price.
        *if* they can prove it's theirs, and *if* they're going to make a copyright violation case, they need to provide takedown notice as a first step, not skip procedural law and jump right into suing someone for an alleged violation

        you guys need to read up on DMCA procedures. this is not how it's done. the biller is throwing a hail mary to get some money from this guy. he's going to [or should] ignore it these bottom feeders will exit stage left with the quickness. if they were serious about protecting their supposed copyright, they would have contacted an attorney to draft a takedown notice. they're clearly NOT serious, and anyone suggesting that the alleged violator will get owned in court is either unfamiliar with the DMCA (or rules of law in general for that matter), or has heard from someone who's heard from someone who heard from another guy about a case where a guy put a 100x100 image on his site and got sued for $100k (ie: we're missing important details)
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  • Removal of the photo should be sufficient. If they wanted to sue you it would cost them a ton of money at a slim chance of reward unless you made a ton of cash off that image. I would respond with something like "one of our users used that photo claiming it was theirs. We have now removed the photo as per your request". After that I wouldn't respond to them

    I got threatened once by Star Bucks because of one of my websites. I gave them a simple response basically saying "Sue me but you wont win and here's why". I never heard from them again lol. You should be fine
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    • Profile picture of the author NatesMarketing
      Sounds like some kind of phishing scam to me.

      I definitely wouldn't pay anything...the most I would do would be to remove the image.
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      • Profile picture of the author James.N
        Originally Posted by NatesMarketing View Post

        Sounds like some kind of phishing scam to me.

        I definitely wouldn't pay anything...the most I would do would be to remove the image.
        was thinking the same thing. I would be hesitant that some scammer is just trying to get money from suckers. If you removed it from the site I wouldn't worry about anything else.
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        • Profile picture of the author cashcow
          Originally Posted by quadxnet View Post

          was thinking the same thing. I would be hesitant that some scammer is just trying to get money from suckers. If you removed it from the site I wouldn't worry about anything else.
          Who's the scammer? The client getting the bill admitted to taking the image from the site. I don't know where you come from, but where I come from that's stealing.
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          • Profile picture of the author iwowwe4you
            Originally Posted by cashcow View Post

            Who's the scammer? The client getting the bill admitted to taking the image from the site. I don't know where you come from, but where I come from that's stealing.
            May be I missed something, but I did not saw in the original post that they admit to steal image from another site. They say it was 2 years ago and no one can remember where it did came from.
            Also they did nit say claimant provided any proof that image belongs to them. It looks like it is just one huge soap bubble...
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinDupre
    Pretty sure Getty Images does this all the time. Eff em. They're just fishing for suckers that think they have to pay.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    There was a guy in here about a year and a half ago who had the same thing happen. And the owner of an image certainly can bill someone if they're using it. The guy ignored the initial contact and the owner of the image pushed. They were eventually awarded an $18,000 civil judgement. You need to talk to an attorney immediately.
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    • Profile picture of the author rjames
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      There was a guy in here about a year and a half ago who had the same thing happen. And the owner of an image certainly can bill someone if they're using it. The guy ignored the initial contact and the owner of the image pushed. They were eventually awarded an $18,000 civil judgement. You need to talk to an attorney immediately.
      garbage...if you pay the bill you are an idiot...if the communication did not come from a lawyer then you dont have to pay anything...if you get contacted ny their lawyer, THEN contact yours...you dont have to do anything at this point...
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        There seems to be a knee jerk tendency to talk tough on situations like this...but this is a unique problem.

        It's the OP's CLIENT who is at risk here - and the OP admits the image used was "grabbed from another site and edited".

        If this is a half hearted attempt to collect money - you might get by with taking the image down and an explanation your client can pass on.

        If it's a serious bill from a company that pursues image violations - your client is at risk. That's why you need to take this seriously and do what you can to "cover" your client.
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      • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
        Originally Posted by rjames View Post

        garbage...if you pay the bill you are an idiot...if the communication did not come from a lawyer then you dont have to pay anything...if you get contacted ny their lawyer, THEN contact yours...you dont have to do anything at this point...
        Um.

        It doesn't matter if the bill comes from a lawyer or not. ANYONE can send bills. I could send you one and then take you to small claims court if it's not paid. All without an attorney.

        Garrie
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        • Profile picture of the author SunilTanna
          Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

          Um.

          It doesn't matter if the bill comes from a lawyer or not. ANYONE can send bills. I could send you one and then take you to small claims court if it's not paid. All without an attorney.

          Garrie
          In the US, copyright is a federal law claim that goes on federal court, not small claims.

          Afaik the only way that that small claims would ave jurisdiction would be if you admitted you were liable for the bill, but then refused to pay (in which case it is now a dispute about an unpaid bill rather than a copyright claim).

          Also, afaik, Getty have never sued for a single image infringement, dispute issuing thousands of demands. Like I said, take a look at extortionletterinfo.com. I have no association with that site, and don't necessarily agree with everything on it, but you can read about other people's experiences in similar situations and maybe get a feel for what your best options are.
          Of course I am not a lawyer.
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        • Profile picture of the author rjames
          Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

          Um.

          It doesn't matter if the bill comes from a lawyer or not. ANYONE can send bills. I could send you one and then take you to small claims court if it's not paid. All without an attorney.

          Garrie
          my point exactly...anyone can send a bill...doesnt make it valid...
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          • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
            Originally Posted by rjames View Post

            my point exactly...anyone can send a bill...doesnt make it valid...
            Doesn't mean it's not valid either. The OPs client should investigate it instead of simply dismissing it as you suggested.

            Garrie
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            • Profile picture of the author rjames
              Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

              Doesn't mean it's not valid either. The OPs client should investigate it instead of simply dismissing it as you suggested.

              Garrie
              dismiss it until you are contacted by someone who actually has the authority to do something about it...thats what i would do...i could afford to stroke a check for whatever the amount...but i wouldnt do it...hes free to do whatever he likes though...
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              • Profile picture of the author tpw
                Originally Posted by rjames View Post

                dismiss it until you are contacted by someone who actually has the authority to do something about it...thats what i would do...i could afford to stroke a check for whatever the amount...but i wouldnt do it...hes free to do whatever he likes though...

                Will you pay his legal bills if you are wrong?

                I didn't think so...

                So perhaps, the OP would be safer seeking his own legal advice, rather than trusting the word of another Internet Marketer?
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                • Profile picture of the author rjames
                  Originally Posted by tpw View Post

                  Will you pay his legal bills if you are wrong?

                  I didn't think so...

                  So perhaps, the OP would be safer seeking his own legal advice, rather than trusting the word of another Internet Marketer?
                  Exactly...so don't ask a legal question on an IM forum...
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        • Profile picture of the author Maui Joe
          Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

          Um.

          It doesn't matter if the bill comes from a lawyer or not. ANYONE can send bills. I could send you one and then take you to small claims court if it's not paid. All without an attorney.

          Garrie
          people can send "bills" all they want. don't bet on collecting until and unless it can be proven that a) the billing party has sole intellectual copyright to the image, and b) the user has used the image in an unauthorized manner. even then, there are certain circumstances of "unauthorized" use being lawful.

          it's a DMCA issue, and the individual or company "billing" the guy as a first step is falling outside those procedures. no court (and certainly no appeals court) would put a judgement on someone who was billed x amount without having been served with proper DMCA takedown notices.
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      • Profile picture of the author AlphaWarrior
        Couple of points:

        1. Remove the image since it is not something that you originated. I think that you have already done this.

        2. Do not pay anything or even respond for that matter because it could be interpreted as an admission.

        3. If you receive a letter from a lawyer, have a lawyer respond to the lawyer. Do not respond yourself to a lawyer because you really do not know what you should or shouldn't say. Also, when you have a lawyer respond, the other party knows that there may well be a legal fight which will cost them money.

        4. If you receive (by mail or from anyone) documents that say Summons or Complaint, go to a lawyer ASAP because you are being sued and, if you do not respond within the specified time, normally 30 days, then the other party can get a default judgment against you. See the post above about an $18,000 judgment. It was probably because the person did not respond to the lawsuit because he/she didn't think that he/she owed any money.
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    • Profile picture of the author Maui Joe
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      There was a guy in here about a year and a half ago who had the same thing happen. And the owner of an image certainly can bill someone if they're using it.
      sure he can. doesn't make it valid or lawful

      The guy ignored the initial contact and the owner of the image pushed.
      emphasis mine. there's an abundance of details missing there, and I'm betting that it includes following proper DMCA protocol if this was a US case.
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      • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
        Originally Posted by Maui Joe View Post

        sure he can. doesn't make it valid or lawful

        emphasis mine. there's an abundance of details missing there, and I'm betting that it includes following proper DMCA protocol if this was a US case.
        My initial point was really simple. I sited a situation where a guy ignored a demand. He did that because someone on a message board told him to ignore that demand because it's "okay to use anything floating around out there in cyberspace as long as he credited the actual owner in writing."

        As a result of listening to that bogus information he did nothing even after repeated notices. He simply ignored it all and ended up getting an $18,000 default judgement against him.

        Then I strongly suggested the individual involved (the op's client) contact an attorney. Why? Because we don't have nearly enough information to know what's going on and listening to the stuff flying around here got another guy into an expensive jam. That's it folks.
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        • Profile picture of the author Maui Joe
          Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

          I sited a situation where a guy ignored a demand. He did that because someone on a message board told him to ignore that demand because it's "okay to use anything floating around out there in cyberspace as long as he credited the actual owner in writing."

          As a result of listening to that bogus information he did nothing even after repeated notices. He simply ignored it all and ended up getting an $18,000 default judgement against him.
          your citation is incomplete. there is zero information as to what type of demand was issued, who it was specifically from, what the circumstances of the "demand" were, how it got to court, what evidence was produced by whom, and what the judgement stipulated.

          it reminds me of that Seinfeld episode.... "so this guy ignored a bill and yada yada yada he's out for $18k". incomplete information.
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  • Profile picture of the author SunilTanna
    Go to extortionletterinfo.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Sue McDonald
    It sounds like they are just after the money. If you have removed the photo there should be no problem. It took them 2 years to find it - that does seem like a long time.
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  • Profile picture of the author troy23
    It's not worth stealing images from other sites.
    There are plenty of places that charge little to purchase images that you can use in your work.
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinPlatt
    Use another picture, and in future get pictures from somewhere like iStockPhoto to avoid this. You can prove that you paid for it, and they're not that expensive.

    This is another of those lawyer questions that you want to ask the lawyer about.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    I'm actually amazed by some of the responses in this thread that just treat copyright infringement like some kind of joke. Maybe we should click on some sites in your signatures and just go and use your images and content illegally until we are contacted by your lawyer, right? Oh but that would be different right, because it was happening to you?

    Unbelievable. It is no wonder our market gets a bad rap with some of the people in it.
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    • Profile picture of the author iwowwe4you
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      I'm actually amazed by some of the responses in this thread that just treat copyright infringement like some kind of joke. Maybe we should click on some sites in your signatures and just go and use your images and content illegally until we are contacted by your lawyer, right? Oh but that would be different right, because it was happening to you?

      Unbelievable. It is no wonder our market gets a bad rap with some of the people in it.
      you are welcome, content that I create is for any one to use the way they want and I store it here:

      sucesssecret | Come and learn how to earn online!

      If you want to re-use any thing, you are mostly welcome, you don't even need to ask for permission, lol.
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    • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      I'm actually amazed by some of the responses in this thread that just treat copyright infringement like some kind of joke.
      I wouldn't have a problem with the mods deleting all legal advice threads. They generally have more bad advice than good. The gung-ho amateurs get pretty vocal with their bad advice and it drowns out the few people that know what they are talking about.
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      • Profile picture of the author David Keith
        Originally Posted by DubDubDubDot View Post

        I wouldn't have a problem with the mods deleting all legal advice threads. They generally have more bad advice than good. The gung-ho amateurs get pretty vocal with their bad advice and it drowns out the few people that know what they are talking about.
        I wouldn't have a problem with the mods deleting all MARKETING ADVICE threads. They OFTEN TIMES have more bad advice than good. The gung-ho amateurs get pretty vocal with their bad advice and it drowns out the few people that know what they are talking about.

        This would be funny if there wasn't so much truth to it.

        I have said for a long time that bad marketing advice given on this forum has cost many more people way more money than the bad legal advice has cost folks.
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  • Profile picture of the author SurrealPSD
    As an image creator, I have succesfully recouped at least a thousand dollars from people that have stolen my images (mainly for myspace layouts back in the day, plus flyer designs internationally, and other places)

    I only ever have a go at people that use the work for profit - if it's a Youtube background or a kid posting an image on their FB profile, I don't mind at all; actually appreciate the exposure
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  • dont pay! ive had some colleagues get similar messages in the past.
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  • Profile picture of the author merezza
    Ok here's the thing, if the photo on the original site credits a completely different site, then it's not their photo to bill on. I don't even understand how they could prove that it came from their site if it's a photo that they bought/borrowed from somewhere else.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Something is weird about the tone of many of the answers here. We're all marketers, supposedly. We're all out to make money. Some here create products and expect to be paid for their work. So why is it that someone who writes a letter to try and collect what's due him is the enemy?

    I understand that it could be a phishing scam but I doubt that is the case as the op readily admits the image was pinched at some point. So what's up? I wonder how many people who are saying, "f" them would be screaming bloody murder if the tables were turned. Too much.

    Here's a common myth: It's okay to use any image you want as long as you credit the person who created it. That's bogus because there many variables around it. The person who created it may have sold the rights to it and no longer has an interest in it. So in this situation it could very well be true that someone completely new to this is now the owner. And maybe that new owner is going to push his rights. We don't know. But to advise the OP to completely ignore it is not the answer. I'm amazed at some initial of the responses to the OP.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      f the photo on the original site credits a completely different site, then it's not their photo to bill on.
      You don't know that. You have no idea what the terms of use were, what credits were required or what fees were paid for use of the image.
      What you do know is the OP admits he "grabbed" the image without having any rights to use it.

      We're all marketers, supposedly.
      I think "supposedly" is a key word here.

      This could a serious - or not so serious - problem for the OP and his client. It may be fun to give quasi-legal advice but the OP would be a fool to take it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Farish
    Originally Posted by Screen Text View Post

    The original site owner is claiming that the site stole the image from them and that they are billing our client. The catch is after looking at the original site and the image in question has photo credits to a completely different site.
    It is quite possible that the people who contacted you paid for exclusive rights for the photo.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by SunilTanna View Post

      In the US, copyright is a federal law claim that goes on federal court, not small claims.

      Afaik the only way that that small claims would ave jurisdiction would be if you admitted you were liable for the bill, but then refused to pay (in which case it is now a dispute about an unpaid bill rather than a copyright claim).
      Sunil, you don't know far enough.

      In the US, there's a difference between copyright infringement, which would seek actual and punitive damages, and simple billing for service (like an unpaid license for using an image).

      If the person sending the bill is simply seeking what could be construed as licensing fees backdated to the time of posting, they could easily file such a claim in most small claims courts. As long as you pay the small fee, and what you seek is within the limits of that court, you can indeed send a bill and sue for non-payment.

      As far as admitting responsibility (not 'liability'), that has nothing to do with the ability to file a suit. It may have some bearing on how likely you, as defendant, would be to prevail, but that's a different kettle of fish...
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      • Profile picture of the author SunilTanna
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        Sunil, you don't know far enough.

        In the US, there's a difference between copyright infringement, which would seek actual and punitive damages, and simple billing for service (like an unpaid license for using an image).

        If the person sending the bill is simply seeking what could be construed as licensing fees backdated to the time of posting, they could easily file such a claim in most small claims courts. As long as you pay the small fee, and what you seek is within the limits of that court, you can indeed send a bill and sue for non-payment.

        As far as admitting responsibility (not 'liability'), that has nothing to do with the ability to file a suit. It may have some bearing on how likely you, as defendant, would be to prevail, but that's a different kettle of fish...
        An unpaid bill requires it to be an unpaid bill for something, some form of contract. A contract requires two parties to agree, then one party can use a court to enforce a contract and collect the money or whatever.

        If there is no contract, there is no bill or other term for the court to enforce. That is why you are in copyright infringement territory which is a federal law claim.

        One party doesn't get to unilaterally invent an amount that the other should have paid, but never agreed to - that is to say unilaterally impose a contract on the other party. Use a simple thought experiment to see why your idea is incorrect - what is to stop somebody unilaterally saying their photo is not worth $100 or $1,000, but $1,000,000 or heck even $1,000,000,000 and then speculatively invoicing for that, and going to state law to enforce the claim?

        Or you can look at any number of professional bodies in the copyright enforcement area, speculative invoicing of this type is never suggested, e.g. What To Do When Your Image Is Stolen Online

        Anyway, I believe I am correct having some personal experience in this area, and having spent a lot of money on lawyerly advice when my stuff was infringed. But if you believe what you believe, I don't really see the point in discussing that particular point endlessly.

        Fwiw, just to be clear, I'm not condoning copyright infringement, but it is also possible for people to do it inadvertently (for example, by buying a product from somebody which contains an infringing image). It is also possible for people to be wrongly accused - by somebody who doesn't own the relevant copyright, for an image which is actually used legally, for a wrongly identified image, or an image which isnt even on the accused person's site and never was. Plus it's possible for people to face outrageous And grossly inflated demands for de minimis infringement, or for wrongful accusations, or things which probably fall under fair use.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    Well, i have been doing business online for damn near 18 years now. I have been on about 13 different sides of this story...meaning, i have stolen others images (not something i do, but i have done it...i dare say many of us have stolen a checkmark or something at some point), i have had stuff stolen, i have hired guys who stole without my knowledge.....and many more crazy scenarios.

    The absolute best thing to do would be to document anything and everything you can about this event and the one that triggered the bill sent to your client. Then contact a lawyer.

    Now for some more practical advice from someone who is not a lawyer or qualified to give legal advice, but from someone who has been down many similar roads before.

    First, i see you are from the philipines. Is your client located in a western (civilized) nation? Is the person sending the bill located in the same western nation.

    My experience is that relatively small thefts like this very rarely go past a threatening letter if they involve 2 different countries and thus all sorts of legal hurdles.

    also, was the image stolen from a site that makes their money by selling image rights....ie getty images? If thats the case the likelyhood of litigation goes up exponential vs an image stolen from a random blog or something.

    so basically, if your client and the accuser are in different countries or if the accuser is not a site that makes their money by selling image rights, then you are probably fairly safe deleting and ignoring this unless/until you here from a lawyer...which would surprise the hell out of me honestly.

    if however, the letter came from a site that makes their money selling images rights, then i sincerely advise you to seek legal advice immediately. Those folks wont just go away.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Sunil, you make good points. I believe I did make a distinction between the ability to file such a claim and the ability to win it.

    As for your thought experiment, what stops someone from billing $1M or $1B in small claims court is the limits imposed by being "small claims" - typically ~$2,500 to $5,000.

    Since most people in small claims court do not have professional legal representation, the rules tend to be a little bit looser. Both sides state their case, and a judge rules. How they rule depends on how they see the laws involved.

    Having had to sit through a few days of small claims court, I can tell you from experience that what might be termed 'implied contracts' make up a big share of the cases.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Here's the reality:

      The OP has not come back to this thread to explain further. We don't know who contacted his client - the site owner himself or owner's attorney.

      We don't know how much the bill was or who owns the image rights.
      He has not answered whether the client and "other site owner" are in the same country or not.

      I wonder how many other clients have images on their sites that were "grabbed and edited"....
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      • Profile picture of the author iwowwe4you
        I would take them to court for threatening...
        Well, if they think you stole their image they should ask you nicely to remove it before threatening. Then if you refuse/ignore they have to provide you with a proof that image originally belongs to them. I am sure you did not saw any proof...
        Next stage is they did provided you with a proof and you refuse to take it of, then they may send you a bill for using their image (they should have some documentation for that image and regulations for someone to use it. It can not be backdated. So if they date it today they may send you a bill from today. Then if you still ignore them, they should go to court to bill you.
        Ignore any other approaches.
        Someone tried to charge my friend for using a slogan, that they thought belong to them. But we proved that it was our slogan and they paid a compensation.
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  • Profile picture of the author OrangeBull
    I would want more facts:

    1) Perhaps they "grabbed" am image from a site where they bought a license. Licenses are not all PERPETUAL, some are of a limited duration. Maybe their was no intentional copyright violation, perhaps there was a misunderstanding of the licensing agreement, as this would explain the billing.

    2) If this isn't a license duration issue, then, perhaps this is a copyright infringement issue, but as the word billing is used, it appears to be a potential failure to pay the ongoing licensing fees issues mentioned above.

    3) What kind of client is involved here: was this a web design client whom the author created a product for, who "grabbed" the image, the designer or the client. Or is this a web host with a client wherein the web host received a DMCA take down notice, in which case the proper course of action is to take down, and let the client know so they can file any counter-notice should they choose to do so.

    4) Someone is correct, just because someone else is credited as the author of an image does not mean that the website where it was grabbed hasn't become the exclusive owner of the copyright. The terms of the purchase agreement would likely require credit to the original author.

    I want more facts before I would even posit a guess as to giving someone real advice in this situation, but of course I do think like a lawyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Diice
    There is so much crap in this thread, from just about everyone. The only person to have provided any evidence or value has been Sunil Tanna. Half of you are acting as though you are lawyers.

    No, if you steal an image from someones website, they can not simply "name their price". It doesnt work like that. WillR made a fair point, we are marketers and should not go around stealing other peoples content, but it happens anyway, and we are all guilty of it.

    I do not agree that you should just dismiss this bill. I would not take it too seriously, as he has no authority to charge you for use of the image without first consulting a lawyer of some sort. This is regardless of whether he is the original owner or not.

    The real worry here is for your client, which is why you should definitely be cautious and seek professional help. Dont let your client pay the price because you made a mistake.

    Infact, why not be courteous and send the potential owner an email. If he is professional he will most likely understand and drop the bill. (Which you are under no obligation to pay at all) but you should certainly be wary of it.

    Also, i havent spotted anything throughout this thread so far, how much is he trying to charge you for use of the image?

    Diice
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    • Profile picture of the author David Keith
      Originally Posted by Diice View Post

      There is so much crap in this thread, from just about everyone. The only person to have provided any evidence or value has been Sunil Tanna. Half of you are acting as though you are lawyers.

      No, if you steal an image from someones website, they can not simply "name their price". It doesnt work like that. WillR made a fair point, we are marketers and should not go around stealing other peoples content, but it happens anyway, and we are all guilty of it.

      I do not agree that you should just dismiss this bill. I would not take it too seriously, as he has no authority to charge you for use of the image without first consulting a lawyer of some sort. This is regardless of whether he is the original owner or not.

      The real worry here is for your client, which is why you should definitely be cautious and seek professional help. Dont let your client pay the price because you made a mistake.

      Infact, why not be courteous and send the potential owner an email. If he is professional he will most likely understand and drop the bill. (Which you are under no obligation to pay at all) but you should certainly be wary of it.

      Also, i havent spotted anything throughout this thread so far, how much is he trying to charge you for use of the image?

      Diice
      Well, i can say with certainty (from experience) that several points in this post are just flat out wrong.

      I think its damn funny that you accuse others of acting like lawyers and then in the same post go on to offer legal advice...all be it very bad legal advice. I am not a lawyer or qualified to give legal advice, but i have had more experience with lawyers than most folks simply due to my being so active in online business for so long.

      no lawyer or even smart person will advise you to have any contact with someone who has made any hints that they might even possibly come after you via legal proceedings.... the only thing you can do is hurt your case...thats it. You can't say one single thing to make it better. You can only provide evidence that WILL be used against you later.

      also, if you steal an image, there is a ton of legal precedent that puts the value at astronomical values. Maybe its not "name your price", but its damn near...a quick google search will confirm that.

      As for the need to follow the dmca principals before initiating litigation...Again that is just plain wrong. The dmca standard was adopted as an easy alternative to full on litigation. Essentially its another option, but not necessary at all.

      If you steal content from me, I am under no obligation at all to file a dmca...none. I can go straight to litigation. Most choose not to go that route because the dmca system actually works pretty well, is much easier, and much cheaper for all involved...but its not required for me to protect my content at all via litigation.

      As far as how much the bill is for? Its basically irrelevant. Along the same lines, even if its for $20 and most here would say "just pay it"....That could very easily get you into a really big pickle. Essentially by paying a small fee you are admitting guilt and thus opening yourself up to other legal action...unless you have ever "i" dotted and "t" crossed. That is definitely something the crooked among us do.

      I could go on and on....
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    • Profile picture of the author iwowwe4you
      Originally Posted by Diice View Post

      There is so much crap in this thread, from just about everyone. The only person to have provided any evidence or value has been Sunil Tanna. Half of you are acting as though you are lawyers.

      No, if you steal an image from someones website, they can not simply "name their price". It doesnt work like that. WillR made a fair point, we are marketers and should not go around stealing other peoples content, but it happens anyway, and we are all guilty of it.

      Diice
      I am not a lawyer, but I have team of friends who are layers and I been involved in to over 40 cases either for my self or helping them. Also because law is something I am really interested in we often discuss stuff with them and share opinions. Then see results - court decisions. So basically, from the information provided in the original post he does not claim they provided any thing to prove their rights for the image and it is only letter-bill that came through. Also Here in UK you must keep every thing related to the business for many years, I don't know if this is the same in Philippines, but if it is not, other side probably does not has any proof as well.
      Also I am not supporting any one stealing something from someone including images or text or what ever it is. I did it at the very beginning of my business practice, around 18 years ago, when I had no clue, it is wrong. I had people who stole stuff from my site, in fact my ex business partner stole my old site design, even my translation, that I spend few month to complete manually in a very pro way... But because the template was bought from other company who sells them I was not able to make here remove it. I charged that company for double sale as I bought it for sole use (it was an option to tick and add £45 to the price for solo use). Then when I separated from my business partner, she bought the same template from the same company.
      Well after that company paid my bill the are out of the business, by the court decision. Business owner was charged fine as well. What ever, but I still have solo right for that template and she bought the right to display 2 years after I got solo rights. In the documents my solo rights are in place for 100 years.
      Court dismissed my claim against her 3-4 times as soon as she provided right to display paper.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Keith
      Originally Posted by Diice View Post

      Infact, why not be courteous and send the potential owner an email. If he is professional he will most likely understand and drop the bill. (Which you are under no obligation to pay at all) but you should certainly be wary of it.

      Diice
      If he takes your advice he is making one of the biggest mistakes normal people make when dealing with legal issues. They talk to much and try to handle things like other normal daily things are handled. This aint a dispute with your wife who will probably forgive, forget, and move on. These people want money that was stolen from them.

      You also advise him that he is under no obligation to pay at all.... of course we dont have all the facts, but he basically admitted they probably lifted the image...Given that he IS very likely under obligation to pay. It will just come down to how much and if the accuser decides to enforce the law.
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      • Profile picture of the author Diice
        Originally Posted by David Keith View Post

        If he takes your advice he is making one of the biggest mistakes normal people make when dealing with legal issues. They talk to much and try to handle things like other normal daily things are handled. This aint a dispute with your wife who will probably forgive, forget, and move on. These people want money that was stolen from them.

        You also advise him that he is under no obligation to pay at all.... of course we dont have all the facts, but he basically admitted they probably lifted the image...Given that he IS very likely under obligation to pay. It will just come down to how much and if the accuser decides to enforce the law.
        Okay fair enough, maybe contacting him would not be the best idea.

        He did not admit to taking the photo, he said he used the image 2 years ago, and has forgotten the source of the picture. Yes this person could possibly be the original owner, but that doesnt mean the image was copied from his website. Someone else could have stolen it, and permitted use of the photo on their own site, to which other people can copy at the click of a button.

        If i were to post an image today, which someone stole and put on their own website, bu then loads of people copied it off his website (Maybe he permitted this use) - There could then be multiple innocent users of this image, whom were not aware this is a stolen image.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          He did not admit to taking the photo
          Yes, he did admit that.

          a bill for an image that was grabbed from another site and edited from about 2 years back
          The OP is in the Philippines so he may be fairly safe. If his client is in the US and the other site owner is in the US - his client is not safe.
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        • Profile picture of the author David Keith
          Originally Posted by Diice View Post

          Okay fair enough, maybe contacting him would not be the best idea.

          He did not admit to taking the photo, he said he used the image 2 years ago, and has forgotten the source of the picture. Yes this person could possibly be the original owner, but that doesnt mean the image was copied from his website. Someone else could have stolen it, and permitted use of the photo on their own site, to which other people can copy at the click of a button.

          If i were to post an image today, which someone stole and put on their own website, bu then loads of people copied it off his website (Maybe he permitted this use) - There could then be multiple innocent users of this image, whom were not aware this is a stolen image.
          your last part is very true. however, inadvertently stealing or using an image does not remove ones liability at all. If an image is on your site, its your job to know you have the right to use it. There are no innocent users of stolen images...only users who are unaware they have broken the law. But that doesnt mean they havent broken the law.

          as i said in my original post, i have been on about 13 sides of this issue. I have had litigation attempts made towards me from all sorts of different scenarios. using free images is a surefire way to get sued. I now pay for any image that goes on any site I own.... I have a receipt and license to go along with every image.

          From experience i can tell you that unless you have a receipt and a license that states you have the right to use an image, then you don't really have the right to use the image.

          You may very well think you do, and you may have made good faith attempts to procure images that can be used freely, but if you ever find yourself on the business end of a lawsuit the only thing that will matter is your ability to PROVE (with documentation) that you have the right to use the image in question.
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  • Profile picture of the author Diice
    I did not give legal advice, i suggested that he seek professional help. I also suggested that he be cautious regarding the bill he has received, particularly given that it involves a client.

    Hardly giving legal advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    *if* they can prove it's theirs, and *if* they're going to make a copyright violation case, they need to provide takedown notice as a first step, not skip procedural law and jump right into suing someone for an alleged violation
    No they don't. They could file suit first and do a DMCA to limit damages at the same time.

    If it was me being stolen from, I would send a "bill" to get it taken care of quickly. If I had to hire an attorney, the "bill" would be a lot more.

    Garrie
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    • Profile picture of the author Maui Joe
      Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

      No they don't. They could file suit first and do a DMCA to limit damages at the same time.
      sure, and watch how quickly the suit gets throw out when it comes to light that without having provided the alleged infringer with a takedown notice, and after being unable to prove damages for the alleged infringement which you just discovered. DMCA is subject to procedural law. if you're claiming damages, that's a different topic.
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      • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
        Originally Posted by Maui Joe View Post

        sure, and watch how quickly the suit gets throw out when it comes to light that without having provided the alleged infringer with a takedown notice
        Did you not notice I said "at the same time"?

        A copyright holder can file lawsuit papers THE DAY they discover the violation. They don't have to send a DMCA takedown a specific time before hand. Although, they do have to do what's in their power to limit their damages.

        -g
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      • Profile picture of the author David Keith
        Originally Posted by Maui Joe View Post

        sure, and watch how quickly the suit gets throw out when it comes to light that without having provided the alleged infringer with a takedown notice, and after being unable to prove damages for the alleged infringement which you just discovered. DMCA is subject to procedural law. if you're claiming damages, that's a different topic.
        The filling of a dmca is not at all required to win litigation regarding copyright infringement.

        The only obligation the copyright holder has is that he must actively defend the copyright and not knowing allow a theft to continue with the hopes of cashing in big one day.

        Essentially, if google stole an image from me tomorrow, i cant wait 5 years and then sue google for 1 million a day in damages. I must actively defend my copyright. That being said, the legal precedent of what constitutes "actively defending" is literally all over the map.

        The DMCA protocol's main purpose has nothing to do with the theif and the copyright holder really. The main reason the DMCA protocol was adopted was to add additional people to the mix who had more skin in the game and who were more likely to follow the laws if the threat of litigation ever came up.

        Basically, before dmca, a guy hosting his site at HG who lived in the philipines was pretty much immune to USA copyright laws. But after DMCA, now all i would have to do is file a dmca with HG and suddenly they are in the loop and part of the people who could be named as an accessory to the theft essentially. I said that without all the legal jargon on purpose.

        So now, for all practical purposes, anyone whos web host or domain register is in a western society with laws is pretty much bound by the same laws as USA citizens on copyright issues. They may not actually be sued for damages, but they will have the content removed and their business relationship severed from people who do find themselves put in legal harms way by such thefts of content/images.

        The dmca protocol was added as an additional layer of security....Before and after the adoption of DMCA, it was and is illegal to steal content. That didnt change. It didnt suddenly become legal to steal content as long as no one ever files a DMCA.
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  • Profile picture of the author ceenote100
    Don't pay the bill. The image probably wasn't theirs anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Chris Kent View Post

    You live in the Philipines, I wouldn't sweat it.
    Where the OP lives is far less important than where the client is located.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      The OP lists himself here as an "outsourcing expert". What kind of expert would walk away and leave his client swinging in the breeze?

      Are we to think this is the only time his service has "grabbed and edited" images for client sites?

      If nothing else - there's an outsourcing lesson here for site owners.
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      • Profile picture of the author BurtL
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        The OP lists himself here as an "outsourcing expert". What kind of expert would walk away and leave his client swinging in the breeze?

        Are we to think this is the only time his service has "grabbed and edited" images for client sites?

        If nothing else - there's an outsourcing lesson here for site owners.
        I said we maintain the site. Our VA's are in charge of responding to posts/emails, cleaning out comments, and back linking. I never said we wrote the article.
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  • Profile picture of the author TanyaRebrov
    If one complain about copyright, one doesn't simply ignore it. Copyright is a serious issue that we need to protect. If the people who claim it was seriously angry that someone is using their picture, you should probably confirm it to the source and check it first. Even there is a single suspicion about that picture, immediately remove it, because it will damage your reputation if you insist to ignore and keep it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Farish
    Maybe there should be a legal discussion forum on here with some sort of disclaimer that states any advice taken you do so at your own risk.
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  • Profile picture of the author BurtL
    Hey guys so just to clarify the situation. The client is in the US, and accuser (blogger) is in the Philippines. The site is a travel site, and the photo is of a castle. We got a hold of the original writer and she said that the photo she found was from the website of the actual location, the castle website.

    So the writer took the image from the castle site thinking it was ok, since they were promoting their business for them. Who the image belongs to now is really in question.
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