Did you receive an email saying that you willfully infringed on copyrights of an image?

There are two types of notifications of image infringement, the bogus and the real claims. How do you tell the difference?

The Bogus Claim

The notification that is most likely bogus is the email notification with no real contact information telling you to click on a link and download the information yourself.  It starts something like this:

My name is X and I’m am a professional photographer.  Your website or a website that your company hosts is infringing on a copyright-protected images owned by myself.

I was confused (or other adjective), when I came across my images…. stolen… download and check this out yourself.  

This can also come in from your Contact Us Page.

What to do:

I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t tell you legally what to do. The real answer is that you have to contact a lawyer.  This is what I do.  I check the site to make sure that all images were purchased legally or owned by the website owner.  If this is the case, I wait until there is a real demand letter.  My clients have received 1000’s of these.  To date, there is no case that I’m aware of where these emails became real lawsuits for my clients.  I would not click on an unknown link as that could add ransomware or viruses to your computer.

The “Real Claim”

I put the “real claim” in quotes as stock photography companies buy images that used to be free on CD’s etc and then send demand letters and unless you can prove that you purchased the image then you still have to pay.  In most cases, a website owner, will do a Google Search for an image they may even type in “free image” but the image is copyrighted and they use it on their website.  The real claims come from IP Law Firms.

What to do:

These you need to take seriously.  Call an IP Lawyer.

These demand letters are rampant, it is important to document where you get images and the proper usage.  Here is a resource for understanding usage rights.

Work with a web design company that is experienced like Mannix Marketing, we have been in business for over 25 years.  When you hire a less experienced agency, you may not get the right guidance or expertise.  That often costs you more through ADA compliance lawsuits, lost leads and lost business.