PicRights once more - sorry!

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
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Berberine
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Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2023 2:33 pm

PicRights once more - sorry!

Post by Berberine »

Greetings

I, too, have received the following email from Pic Rights:

Dear XX

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, social media or in media accessible from your website XX. 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 reference of the imagery and its use on your website, social media or in media accessible from your website.

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 LINK Password: XX 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, social media or in media accessible 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 XX at resolveUK@picrights.com.

Please visit LINK Password: X 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,

Arthur LAVIE
Copyright Compliance Agent
UK Department
PicRights

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They sent me a screenshot of two images – public figures – showing the hyperlink. They are dated 2012. Neither of these is still visible and they haven’t been for some time – but I have no idea when they were deleted and no idea how I’d ever find out. Nor do I remember how I got them – most likely a Google search for copyright free images.

So, it’s what to do. I personally know someone who was contacted by PicRights a few years ago and they told them to go away – and never heard another word from them. But I have also noted the cases online who have not been so lucky.

I checked with a solicitor who said to reply and say it’s outside the 6-year limitation period. I also took other advice, and this has rather shaken me – that I can simply ignore it and see, or offer the 6 year rule and see what response it brings - but that to note as of 1/10/23 there is now a new rule on fixed recoverable costs which can result in someone in my position ending up liable for ‘set up costs’ even if the matter doesn’t go to court. This sounds pretty hefty for anyone who is maliciously targeted.

So far, I haven’t responded to PicRights nor clicked on any of their links, so I don’t know how much they want. If they want a modest amount to end this then I am not averse to that (if they can prove they are not outside the 6 year rule), but I am not a company, just little old me nearing OAP status, poor as a church mouse, the images were never used commercially and may have been seen by 3 people.

Unfortunately, the legal advice received is so complex that I am now more confused and unsure than before I started. So as of now I am leaning towards replying along the lines of:

“A claim for copyright infringement must be brought within six years of the date of infringement: the “Limitation Period”. These alleged infringements are dated 2012 so are now outside of the Limitation Period.”

And see what the result is.

Should I click their link and see how much they have in mind, now or after sending the reply, or never?

I now have no website and am not on any social media other than YouTube. At my age, I can do without all the stress.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Many thanks
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AndyJ
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Re: PicRights once more - sorry!

Post by AndyJ »

Hi berberine and welcome.

You say that the links to the alleged infringing images are dated 2012, and later you mention that neither of the images "is still visible and they haven’t been for some time" Can you be more precise about 'some time'? If the images were definitely removed before October 2017 then the statute of limitations (the six year rule) may protect you. However if you think the images may have been on the website more recently, please do not mention that fact here on the open forum, as that would leave you within statutory limitation period. We have to assume that PicRights may monitor this forum. The tort of copyright infringement continues until the alleged infringing image is removed or deleted.

The 6 year statutory limitation period is not absolute. If the copyright owner was unaware of the alleged infringement and it was impossible for them to discover it until more recently, the court may accept that the limitation period should be extended -see section 32 (1)(b) of the Limitation Act 1980. However this would not apply if the website was freely accessible at all times both before and after the limitation cutoff, as would be the case with most blogs and websites. Futhermore if the evidence that PicRights has produced is dated 2012 then clearly it was not recently discovered. However as far as I am aware PicRights wasn't in existence in 2012 so I think there may be some muddle there. If PicRights have somehow got screenshots from somewhere like the WayBack Machine, and these are of the site as it existed before 2017 then that will be outside the limitation period and they have no viable claim.

Generally I would say it is best not to ignore claims like this in the hope that they will go away.

One last point. The information you have gleaned about a change concerning fixed recoverable costs does not apply to intellectual property claims which are allocated to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) small claims track (that is claims valued under £10,000). The costs aspects of the IPEC small claims procedure is governed by Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 27.14, and not CPR 45 which is the part of the CPR affected by the new changes.
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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