PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
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AndyJ
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by AndyJ »

Hi rjran,
Thanks for the update.
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by justacog »

Hi @andjy,

Your advice on this and other threads is incredibly useful, thank you. I wondered if you can advise on element of a notice I've received from PicRights:

I've received a reasonably gentle email from PicRights about an image on our website. The email states they want to ascertain that we have a licence, or to remove the image and contact them if we don't. There is no mention of charges at this stage (but I know that is likely to be the next step in the conversation).

The image is a low res shot of a conference in our building which we had as one of c.30 in our image gallery for potential hirers to view as an example of previous activity. It turns out the image is licensed by Reuters (the conference was a national news event at the time, some 12 years ago). We have removed the image from the corner of our very low-traffic website.

The image is also available though Adobe stock images, but with the restriction of 'Editorial use' only. If purchased through Adobe, Reuters need to be credited, so there seems little doubt as to who is the copyright holder.

I can see that Reuters charge c.£101.50+VAT? for digital editorial use (for 1 year?), and Adobe charge £39.99 for a standard licence or £120 for an enhanced licence, both giving unlimited web views. There is no indication how long the Adobe licences would be valid for.

I accept that we need to deal with this, and most likely pay a penalty based on what we should have paid. My question is, is editorial use the right basis to look at, and if not, what use, or figure, should we be looking at?

My initial approach is likely to be a mix of apology for alleged infringement, confirmation of removal, and poverty as a registered charity, rather than offering a sum, but I want to be one step ahead of their inevitable response!

With sincere thanks in advance,

Anthony
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by justacog »

Update to the above - I've just noticed a far from obvious ''payment' button on the webpage of one of the links in the email. PicRights are after £240 for use of the image, which implies to me that the actual rights were low, and/or PicRights have accounted for the very limited use of the image.
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Anthony,

I am a bit confused. When you say that PicRights are after £240, is that explicitly stated in the email? Given the rates you quoted from Reuters and Adobe, £240 does seem excessive. It's hard to tell if the use, as you describe it, is editorial. However assuming that it is, I think you should make an offer to settle based on the £39.99 fee, but be prepared to have to pay the higher Reuters fee if necessary.
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justacog
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by justacog »

Thanks Andy,
Thanks for your thoughts on this and I'll base a settlement on the £39.99 fee.

in case it's useful for others, here's the text of the email I received:

Image Licence Validation for Reuters News & Media Inc - Reference Number: xxx

Dear xxx,

As an introduction, PicRights provides copyright compliance services to third-party content owners, including Reuters News & Media Inc https://www.reutersagency.com/en/protec ... ht-rights/. We are acting on behalf of Reuters News & Media Inc to obtain compensation for the unauthorised past-usage of their imagery.

PicRights has noticed that Reuters News & Media Inc's imagery has been displayed on your website http://www.xxxx/. However, Reuters News & Media Inc has been unable to find a licence for this usage of their imagery by your company.

At the end of this message, we’ve attached a visual of the imagery and the use on your website we are referring to.

Our goal in contacting you is to ascertain that you hold an active licence for this use with Reuters News & Media Inc or with any other entity authorised by Reuters News & Media Inc to licence and distribute the imagery:

If you do have an active licence for the use of this imagery, we kindly ask you to send us your valid licence / authorisation, by visiting https://resolve.picrights.com/xxx and clicking the "I have a licence..." link.

If you do not have an active licence for the use of this imagery, we request that you remove the imagery from your website and contact us at ResolveUK@picrights.com
Please be aware that removal of the imagery alone will not resolve this issue and payment in relation to the unauthorised past-usage is required to resolve the matter completely.
We would like to resolve this time-sensitive issue as soon as possible and request that you respond within 14 days from the date of this correspondence.

We fully appreciate that this is a very difficult time. With that in mind, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you, in the hope that we can achieve a resolution.

If you believe you have received this notice in error or have questions, please contact us with your reference number xxx at resolveUK@picrights.com.

Please visit https://resolve.picrights.com/xxx for further information about this matter.

On behalf of PicRights and Reuters News & Media Inc, we thank you for your cooperation and look forward to assisting you in resolving this matter.

Sincerely,


Clicking on the final link takes us to a page with boilerplate text, FAQs, and a button at the top marked 'Payment'. That in turn takes me to a payment page pre-populated with our details and the first and only mention of £240.
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by AndyJ »

Hi justacog,

Thanks for the extra detail. Good luck with your negotiations.
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by qwerty2021 »

Hi justacog,

I'm in a very similar situation to yourself with picrights. The image in question is also available on Adobe stock for £39.99 as with you.

Have you heard back from making your offer yet? Was your offer for £39.99?

I'd be grateful for any help/insights you can provide,

Many thanks
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by justacog »

Hi qwerty2021,

I expect like most people on this forum my learning curve on this issue has been pretty steep. Whilst I was hoping that the Adobe licence would cover us, it is for editorial use only, and unfortunately the image we used was in a gallery. Therefore PicRights knocked back my offer based on the Adobe fee, and as pre-warned by the brilliant andyj, I accepted that I should for an amount based on the Reuters fee.

I'm fairly sanguine about paying something for inadvertent misuse of copyright material (ironically I spend a significant part of my job making sure that copyright holders are not overlooked), but the seemingly random fees that companies such as PicRights are demanding is of concern, and to my mind does not help the copyright holders build good relationships with end users.

Hopefully this will be the last time I need to visit this site (!) but it's been a real help. Thank you to all who contribute, and especially andyj.
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by LoEspin »

Hi everyone!

I received a letter from Pic Rights two weeks ago, claiming for a payment for a copyright infringement on behalf of Agence France Presse.
They ask me to pay 184€ for a photo I used when I created my blog. I credit the picture but I should have not used it.

I deleted the picture when I received the letter but I didn’t answer yet, I wanted to assure that Pic Rights is a legit company. Now I know it’s legal (they are abusive but legal)

I looked for the picture on internet and I found it on Getty and the license fee is 184€ (for 5 years of use).

So it is ok for me. I agree to pay no more and no less than the license fee

But in the letter they sent to me, they say: “ Please be aware that removal of the imagery alone will not resolve this issue. We also require payment of the applicable settlement amount, as a compensation, plus a charge of 184€ for the past unauthorized usage of the imagery” (sorry , English is not my mother language so I tried to do my best translating the legal terms)


When I go to the link to solve this, in the payment request, it says 184€.
But I’m suspicious about what the letter says “We also require payment of the applicable settlement amount, as a compensation, PLUS a charge of 184€ for the past unauthorized usage of the imagery"

I agree to pay this 184€ but I don’t want surprises after paying this amount.
They do not specify anything about another amount anywhere (in the payment), but the text in the letter confuses me.

So, this is a question for someone who paid to Pic Rights. Did you sign the settlement and release? Did you pay just the amount written in the payment request? The amount in the payment request is the total amount? No surprises after payment?

I would like to solve this problem before they get more aggressive


Thanks a lot @andyj for your great advices
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by justacog »

Hi LoEspin,

You'll have seen the text of the letter I received (a few posts above) had a different wording and I would certainly be wanting to seek clarity from them on the total amount they expect you to pay. For what it's worth, the couple of emails I sent to PicRights were answered relatively promptly and in a straight-forward manner. I suspect you're dealing with a different individual in the company though, so you may have a different experience.

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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by AndyJ »

Hi LoEspin,

As justacog says, it is far better that you raise this concern with PicRights rather than us here trying to second guess what they are charging. I must say I would be surprised if they only expect you to pay the normal licence fee since they are intending to make some money for themselves out of the transaction. That said, that is the amount a court would award the photographer by way of damages and so it should be the basis of your counter-offer. You should make it clear to them that you understand your legal position with regard to any liability, assuming that a court were to find in favour of the rights holder, and it is not "buy a licence AND pay compensation for past unauthorised use".
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by LoEspin »

Thanks a lot, guys

That's what I'm going to do, I need to clarify first. Because it doesn't make sense to me, they ask me for the license fee I didn't pay. They say I can't use the pic any more, but that's all. Something like "pay what you didn't pay before".

I read a lot about Pic Rights, on one hand I want to ask them and clarify, on the other hand everyone says don't get in touch with them, stay dark, bla bla...
But if, finally, I only need to pay the license fee, I'm ok with that. I don't want they to increase the money and their bulliness against me.

Thanks a lot again 🙏🏻
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by VG12 »

Hi Andy
Removing previous post. Reached and agreement and I am not allowed to discuss details. Thanks for your help!
Last edited by VG12 on Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by AndyJ »

Hi VG12,

It is certainly confusing that the photographer is offering the picture at one rate and Reuters at a different one. Obviously if you were coming to this for the first time before using the image, you would presumably pick the lower fee. I guess the difference may come about because Reuters tend to provide images to other news organistations and so they figure they can screw them for more money, whereas the photographer may be going for the long game.

Sadly I don't think the fact that no model release was signed is going to make any difference. Photographs taken at public events and intended for editorial use are exempt from the publicity right laws (such as the NY State code sections 50 and 51).

Most of the advice we provide here on this topic concerns allegations of infringement in the UK or Europe. However in the USA you face a significantly different situation if PicRights decide to file a claim with the court. Assuming that the image was registered with the Copyright Office (part of the Library of Congress) before being offered on a licence and prior to your alleged infringement (pretty much standard practice for an agency like Reuters), you could face statutory damages of between $750 and $30,000 just for a single image, at the discretion of the court. This means it is much more difficult to negotiate a counter-offer in the same way that we suggest people do on this side of the Atlantic. Given that the stakes are higher for you, I would suggest you speak with an attorney or see if your insurer provides free legal advice or provides cover for this type of claim.
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by VG12 »

Update - I was able to reach an agreement. After multiple emails going back and forth, I finally got the amount down to 50% from what was originally requested. Took the deal and called it a day. Moving on.
Thanks again!
Last edited by VG12 on Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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