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Royalty free picture on website was copyright

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:15 pm
by snapperglen
I used what I thought was a royalty free on a website which in fact belonged to an image library. There was no reference number, copyright or watermark on the image. The image was used very small in a banner and I've be contacted by a legal firm now asking for a very large sum of money. I removed the offending picture as soon as I found out.

It was an accidental infringement and I don't object to paying a reasonable amount but this is about £1000 which is more than I can afford to pay out.

Any advice please

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:45 pm
by CopyrightAid
Take the image down an hope for the best.....

You say that this was accidental and that you took the image down. So unless you have made money from the image there is probably little point to them continuing to chase you.

The bigger concern for them must surely be the site that gave you the image in the first place. You say that the webiste you got it from said that it was royalty free?

In my experience sites offering royalty free images fall into two categories, commercial like Fotolia (where the photographer/artist receives a fee when someone buys a licence to use the image), or 'open source' libraries like WikiMedia Commons where the material is provided by the copyright owners without fee under a suitable licence (i.e. a creative commons, GNU licence, etc).

It could be that the site you got the image from was acting in good faith (i.e. the person providing them with the image claimed to be the copyright owner) so they should also be notified of this. If you have not already done so, I would advise the legal firm that you have now removed the image, that you obtained the image in good faith, and tell them where you got the image from so that they can trace the infringement to it's root.

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:48 pm
by snapperglen
Thank you for your reply. I have actually sent them a letter explaining the situation so as I get an answer I'll post an update.