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.
Pete79
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by Pete79 »

Evening All,

Perhaps I should start a new thread however I’m
In a similar position in that I’ve received a lawyers letter demanding payment for a copyright infringement on behalf of picrights.

Some background I purchased a self catering property 4 years ago. Along with the property came a website. Rightly or wrongly I only transferred the hosting of this web site into my name in May last year (2019). The image in question was reported as being on the website in April 2019. When I took over hosting the previous owner provided me with old web files/content so when I took over hosting an old version of the website was revived and the image in question was no longer hosted. I’ve never actually had possession of said image.

The lawyers are being pretty persistent and I’m actually finding the whole experience pretty stressful.

Any advice on my position would be greatly appreciated. I’m in Scotland if that makes any difference legally.

Thanks.

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

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Pete,

Let's deal with your last question first. Although the legal system is different in Scotland, in the case of copyright the law is the same as in England and Wales (section 157 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988). The only difference is that, if the rights owner wished to pursue the matter in court he/she would do so through the Sheriff Court. There is no small claims track specifically for intellectual property issues in Scotland.

If I have understood you correctly, during the period you were the registered owner of the domain name (ie May 2019 to now) the image concerned was not displayed on the site. It seems odd that PicRights are only now bringing this claim when the image is no longer on the site.

So, if the claim relates to April 2019, before you were the registered owner of the domain name and you can prove this with the transfer details (such as the Whois entry for your URL), and the previous website owner had not informed you of the provenance of the image in question, then I can't see how you would be liable for any primary infringement unless the claimant (known as the Pursuer in Scotland) was able to prove that you were responsible for putting the image there. Being the owner of the self-catering property itself at the time is irrelevant as the website for it could, theoretically, have been operated by a third party on your behalf, rather in the way Airbnb operates. If it can be shown that you had full control over the website at the relevant time, there is possibly a case that secondary infringement (that is, possessing and using an infringing image in the course of business) might apply, but since you were not aware of the image's status, you would not be liable by virtue of the last sentence of that section.

I really don't see how PicRights (or more accurately, their client) have a valid claim against you in this instance. Any liability lies with the previous owner of the website who was responsible for putting the image there.
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

Pete79
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Re: PicRights Solicitor Letter Demanding Fee For Alleged Image Use

Post by Pete79 »

Andy, many thanks for the detailed response. That’s reassuring to read. I’ve just went back through my records and it was May ‘19 when the domain was transferred. I have an email trail with the hosting company detailing this. At no point was said image mentioned to me. The only other point worth mentioning. I had paid the previous owner the hosting cost prior to transfer. Not sure if that makes any difference at all.

Thanks again.

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

Post by AndyJ »

Pete79 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:07 pm
The only other point worth mentioning. I had paid the previous owner the hosting cost prior to transfer. Not sure if that makes any difference at all.
I think this helps to establish that the previous owner was effectively responsible for the site and its contents up to the point where the registration was put in your name. Therefore if the date of the alleged infringement is April 2019, this pre-dates your formal assumption of responsibility and PicRights are chasing the wrong person.
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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