Image Copyright Infringement Scam
When blogging or making a website we like to use images to give interest to our website or for illustration purposes. Frequently those images are found online. This is the age of scams and image copyright infringement is not exempt.
Here is how the scam works, a company uses an automated process to scan hundreds of thousands of websites looking for images they hold the copyright for. When a “violation” is found, they send a letter informing the violator of the infringement and suggesting an amount to settle the matter, usually hundreds of dollars.
The problem with this is that since this is an automated process mistakes are made and someone is identified for a similar image. Another issue is that the company claiming they hold the copyright often does not hold the copyright at all. Things you might want to ask of a company sending you a settlement demand letter:
- Please provide proof of “company name” right to manage the Image.
- Please provide proof of proper copyright registration and the chain of title for the Image.
- Please provide a clear explanation as to how “company name” has determined the valuation of this image as being so far above comparable images.
To protect yourself always keep a computer file, and a backup, of all images you use and where they were obtained. Having the website, the name of the creator and any other information about how you obtained the image is helpful. It is a good idea to give an attribution on the sites where you use the images for further documentation. If you purchase rights to any images make sure you keep all the information as well as an invoice with copies of the images you purchased.
Below are a few websites that provide helpful information about image infringement fraud. You are your own best protection and educating yourself about the issues of using online images can keep you from a serious legal battle or money scam.
Art Law Journal