Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
Fatty
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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Fatty » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:24 pm

Andy J , yes there are some historical exceptions to the general rule that copyright extends to 70 years from the authors death, however I don't think this will help much here. Unless I am searching specifically for a historic image, almost all the images I see in online searches are digital images taken in the last 20 years since digital cameras became popular and we entered a digital age. Older , scanned negative images, are comparatively rare unless you are searching for something historic. Paintings are an altogether different matter and have complexities of their own which wont help hier to go into. Automated images with no creative input are also a special case but also something rather rare among typical image search results. In most common searches almost all the results are modern works protected by copyright Law and google even says this in its German image search page. For example I have just put the word "London" in a google image search and in the whole first page, every image I see has the look and feel of a modern digital image. I see non that have even a chance of being copyright expired. In fact most contain well known buildings constructed in recent years and are therefore obviously copyright protected.

You mention photographs that are free to use under a creative copyright licence. I am sure there are many such images, however they are still protected by copyright law and it is the Copyright Holders choice to allow them to be used free of charge. Users for such images must still verify for themselves that they have a licence , that they comply with any terms of that licence ( many require attribution and some are for non commercial use only ) and most important they must verify that any creative commons license is genuine. The internet is full of photographs which somebody who is not the copyright holder, has uploaded somewhere with a creative commons licence for which they have no rights to give. In these circumstances, the user is still liable and thus I would advise great caution for anyone using creative commons images.

Going back to the original post, I can see that the poster is not at all happy with the idea of paying for the image in this question. My advice is the same for most claims. If you have not done the tortious act then defend yourself. Write to the claimant and explain your reasons for believing you have not infringed copyright, for example if the image you used is not the same one as the claimant is claiming. If on the other hand you have infringed copyright, then attempting to reach an out of court settlement is likely to be the cheapest option. Also form a moral perspective, if you have used a professional photographers photograph then you should really pay him or her for it, that's how they earn their living.

With regards to Pixy being a scam, while I have not made a full investigation to check that the firm is bona fide, I have seen no evidence at all that it is. They have a website and they publish their full name and addresses. If it was a scam, I am sure it would have been taken down by now. I do know that they are well now and popular amongst the creative community. Rather than being a scam, perhaps its the case that you don't mean that they are attempting an unlawful criminal extortion but that you just do not agree with their claim. If the later is the case, then its easy to clear up as all the relevant legislation and quite a bit of case law is online. For starters, if you are facing such a claim then reading the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is pretty much an essential starting point. The act is online and you can read it here :- https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/48/contents

To see how that works out in court, I would recommend reading some case law. One of the well known cases is Absolute Lofts South West London Ltd vs Artisan Home Improvements Ltd & Darren Mark Ludbrook [2015] EWHC 2608 (IPEC)

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/IPE ... 2608.html

That case revolved around two building companies with one building company copying the photographs from another building company and adding them to its own website via a third party web designer. In the end the court awarded £6300 for images valued at £300. There may well have been some significant costs as well.

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by AndyJ » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:52 pm

Hi Fatty,

Thanks for your comments here and elsewhere on the forums today. Just a couple of clarifications.
Fatty wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:24 pm
With regards to Pixy being a scam, while I have not made a full investigation to check that the firm is bona fide, I have seen no evidence at all that it is. They have a website and they publish their full name and addresses. If it was a scam, I am sure it would have been taken down by now. I do know that they are well now and popular amongst the creative community. Rather than being a scam, perhaps its the case that you don't mean that they are attempting an unlawful criminal extortion but that you just do not agree with their claim.
It is worth emphasising that I agree with you that Pixsy's business model is not a scam, and I said so in an earlier posting. However I reiterate that a company such as Pixsy which is merely acting as an agent for their photographer clients has no legal standing to commence legal proceedings and it is disingenuous for their letters to imply that they do, when they demand the payment of fees. Furthermore, any fee which is wholly disproportionate should not go unchallenged, however valid the underlying claim of infringement may be. The problem with copyright management companies like Pixsy is that they tend to inflate the fees demanded in order to maximise their own fees which are based on a percentage of the amount recovered.
Fatty wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:24 pm
To see how that works out in court, I would recommend reading some case law. One of the well known cases is Absolute Lofts South West London Ltd vs Artisan Home Improvements Ltd & Darren Mark Ludbrook [2015] EWHC 2608 (IPEC). That case revoled around two building companies with one building company copying the photographs from another building company and adding them to its own website via a third party web designer. In the end the court awarded £6300 for images valued at £300. There may well have been some significant costs as well.
It is important to note that in the Absolute Lofts case the amount of the damages was assessed using the account of profits method. In other words it was not based on what fees the claimant had lost, but on the unfair profits, as assessed by the court, made by the defendant due to the infringement. To that end, your comparison between the quantum of £6300 and the value of images (£300) gives a false impression. In cases where the defendant is a commercial undertaking, an account of profits can often be the better approach when deciding what damages to seek.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by michalaki » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:11 pm

Hi Worried - what happened in the end? Did Pixsy escalate the case / file a lawsuit?

I've received a similar letter and am inclined to send a short factual reply, having taken down the image.

I can't find contact details for the copyright holder so I don't know how to go about checking if Pixsy are actually acting on his behalf or just claiming to.

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Worried » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:33 am

so far many months later ive not got any more emails from them
this has been a worrying nasty experience
never ever use images via google !

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