Ryde Post Licensing demanding payment for Amazon advert on my site

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
Post Reply
Rando
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2022 8:30 pm

Ryde Post Licensing demanding payment for Amazon advert on my site

Post by Rando »

This month, I received a demand from Ryde demanding 1000+ euros, or 700+ if paid in less than 7 days,


While the image did appear on my site, the image is Amazon Affiliate program Advert!


The image in question was hosted on amazon's server. It's a product link (links to a specific product on Amazon) generated using Amazon's product linking tool - using the exact HTML code that Amazon supplied, not altered in anyway whatsoever (Amazon's code basically hot links a clickable image on Amazon's server). I did not alter Amazon's code in any way, and I did not copy the image to my site. In fact, I simply exactly followed the instructions that Amazon give to their affiliates

I have informed Amazon's affiliate department, hopefully their lawyers take care of this, as these guys are harassing me for simply being an Amazon affiliate and use the affiliate program exactly as instructed (I have been an affiliate for 20 years, and know not to copy images)
User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 2664
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Re: Ryde Post Licensing demanding payment for Amazon advert on my site

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Rando,

You don't need to worry about this demand. It is clearly an error. And since you only linked to the image there is no infringement by copying as no copy of the image is stored on your server. The only grounds for a claim might have been that the image was being made available to the public without authorisation, but as you have Amazon's authorisation, that is nonsense. As a matter of interest, who do Ryde.One say that they are representing in this claim?
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
Rando
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2022 8:30 pm

Re: Ryde Post Licensing demanding payment for Amazon advert on my site

Post by Rando »

Thanks for quick response

I haven't responded to ryde's email. Not planning to at the moment, at least not yet - I figure they would probably just harass me even though I am not liable. Also want to hear back from Amazon.com

I have contacted Amazon (it's Amazon.com's USA affiliate program, but I am in the UK) and spoken to someone on the phone and also provided Amazon.com with the text of the ryde message. The lady that I spoke to on the phone understood, but I am a bit worried about getting through to the right person at Amazon.com as the first couple of people I spoke to in the online chat seemed to misunderstand (as if I was talking about copying images to my site rather than posting Amazon.com's authorised advert).

A few things I noticed

1. Amazon removed the product thumbnail image in advert - can't say when - when I checked my site yesterday - there was just a broken image at the indicated location. Ryde did have a print-out with the allegedly infringing image present at that location.

My website has been unchanged for a long time, and essentially forgotten about - and I don't know what images Amazon put in that advert spot over that period. All I know is I choose a product to link to use Amazon's affiliate tools, copied and pasted Amazon.com's HTML code into the page when it was created (exactly according to Amazon's instructions and guidelines, never once copying the image myself), and the image that Amazon displayed may have changed at any time.

When I clicked the advert link, it still takes me to an Amazon page with the the product (a poster). That Amazon page has a bigger pic of the image in a poster. But it does say out of stock and they don't know when it will come back.

2. Ryde's process was at least part manual - they took my postal address & email from a "contact us" link rather than the domain. I'd guess the content of the email, screenshots, PDFs and text of their message is all automatically generated as it looks it.

They don't seem to have reviewed the HTML code, or clicked on the image, or read the text underneath the image which essentially said "buy this on Amazon" - i.e. they haven't realised it's an advert (or maybe they don't care).

3. I noticed their email says they have been aware of alleged infringement for some time. This sounds suspiciously like an attempt to increase their damages claim.

Anyway, I took down that entire website (because it's an essentially defunct website anyway so don't need the hassle). Just replaced it with a blank page.

The photographer's name is Michael Sof ronski
User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 2664
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Re: Ryde Post Licensing demanding payment for Amazon advert on my site

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Rando,

Thanks for the extra detail. It sounds as if Ryde may be working on behalf of the owner of the4 copyright in the poster. Is that person the Michael Sof ronski whom you mention?

Make sure you keep a copy of the HTML for your site as evidence that this was a linked image and not one which was stored locally on your server. You need keep safely to any documentation relating to your affiliation with Amazon as this is evidence that you were authorised to use this particular image via the Amazon approved code. The law on this is fairly clear and rests on a couple of decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union, the CJEU. Even though the UK is now out of the EU these decisions were made before we left and so remain part of the precedence that the UK courts would follow, assuming this dispute ever got anywhere near a court.

The decisons are known as Svensson and GS Media. In the Svensson case the CJEU said that merely linking to a work protected by copyright did not infringe the right to make that work available to the public provided that the same public was being addressed by the second, linking site, as the first (hosting) site. In other words if anyone could view this image on Amazon then your site did not infringe by also making it available to the same potentially wide audience. It was irrelevant whether the hosting site was making the work available without the permission of the copyright owner. The GS Media case then looked in more detail at the situation where a hosting site was making the work available without permission. In this scenario the hosting site would be liable for infringment both by copying the work and by making it available to the public (ie publishing it) where both of these actions were done without permission. However the site which linked to disputed work would not ordinarily be liable unless they had actual knowledge that the hosting site was making the work available without permission. The Court also added a provision that if the linking site had done so for financial gain then it too could become liable if it did not take adequate steps to verify that the work being linked to was authorised.

Applying these decisions back to your case, Amazon were clearly authorised to display the image of the poster in order to sell it. They didn't even need the explicit permission of the copyright holder provided that the posters themselves had been authorised, since providing a thumbnail or similar image for the purposes of selling a work of visual art is permissible (See section 63 of the UK Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and Article 5(3)(j) of the EU Information Society Directive). Therefore as the linking site, you were not liable since the hosting site was not liable; furthermore the section 63 (and Article 5(3)(j)) exemption covers you in the same way as it covers the activities of Amazon.

Professor Eleanora Rosati of Stockholm University, who is an authority on European copyright law, has created the matrix below which shows the legal position in each scenario.
Image
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
Rando
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2022 8:30 pm

Re: Ryde Post Licensing demanding payment for Amazon advert on my site

Post by Rando »

Thank you for all your efforts.

No space after Sof in the surname. I mistyped it sorry.

I haven't heard anything further from Ryde or from Amazon.com yet.

Thank you for all your information. I also looked over some old threads I found about linking (there is one about hotels images and a demand from getty for some hotel's advert)

I have drafted a reply, but have not sent it. Not sure whether to send it but holding off. Part of me wants to immediately tell them they have no basis. Part of me thinks this will invite more hassle. And I'm waiting to see what Amazon say.

At the moment, my draft says the image was hosted on Amazon, displayed by Amazon, & appeared in my page as part of an advert authorised by Amazon.com. This includes providing a copy of the HTML code for the advert (which they could have seen by doing View Source), and indicating the domain (one of Amazon's) serving the image. My response then asserts the points you made about deep linking ECJ cases, and about permissible use of thumbnail-type images to sell artwork (the advert was to sell a poster, and I actually put text beneath it, saying click it to buy this on Amazon (paraphrased)), My response asserts that I can not have infringed and am not liable for these reasons.

Not sure about the end part. At the end, I say that now they are aware of these facts that they have no good faith basis for pursuing this matter further. I reserve the right to seek a remedy if they continue to pursue this matter with no good faith basis. And finally that I have informed Amazon of their communications, and if they sue me I intend to ask Amazon to intervene or be joined to the action.
User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 2664
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Re: Ryde Post Licensing demanding payment for Amazon advert on my site

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Rando,

Your draft response sounds fine. Sadly there's no statutory basis for a claim against someone for making unjustified threats with regard to copyright infringement, as there is for similar threats over patents, trade marks and designs (see the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Act 2017 but I doubt if the staff at Ryde know that!

Don't forget to let us know how you get on.
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
Rando
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2022 8:30 pm

Re: Ryde Post Licensing demanding payment for Amazon advert on my site

Post by Rando »

Thanks again. I'm holding off sending anything for now.

While I understand that I have no remedy now other than to tell them to go away, I meant further down the line if they continuee to pursue this.

I was thinking that if they sued me, on a baseless case which they knew was baseless before they brought it, would I not be able to ask the court for costs and maybe sanctions against them?

I was also thinking that if they get a lawyer involved, and if he sues or threatens to sue after he has actual knowledge that the claim is baseless (my response is intended to provide him that knowledge), would it not presumably be a possible ethics violation? One that I could perhaps bring to the solicitors regulatory authority (whatever it is called nowadays)?

Am I surprised that you are saying there is no applicable law to stop them directly. Is this still the case if they continue to demand settlememt money on the basis of a legal threat which they have actual knowledge is meritless?
User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 2664
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Re: Ryde Post Licensing demanding payment for Amazon advert on my site

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Rando,

What I meant was there is no statutory basis for a claim under copyright law. However there is plenty of commonlaw which would support a claim of harassment where the behaviour complained of was extended, clearly unreasonable and caused the complainant mental stress. However the behaviour would have to rise above just being annoying or unwarranted.

A couple of examples:

Daiichi UK v Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty [2004]

Ferguson v British Gas Trading Ltd (2007)

APW v WPA (2012)
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
Post Reply