Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
Worried
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Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Worried » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:34 am

Hi everyone,I just joined your website for help, I recently got an email from Pixsy Case Management Team resolution@pixsy.com saying unauthorised use of mr xxxx image , they attach 2 pdf files about “ unauthorised use report “ and “ evidence report” , earlier in 2018 I set up a blog and used a picture I’d found using google images it was a very generic looking picture that I’d say isn’t a photo more a photoshopped image of some equipment, as its my 1st ever attempt at a website ..and ive had very few views I kind of let the site fade away as I moved onto other things.

Pixsy say… Note that a failure to resolve this matter of unlicensed use within 21 days will result in escalation to one of our partner attorneys for legal proceedings.
They give an address as Pixsy, 120 High Road, East Finchley, N2 9ED, London , when I used google maps/street view I get this location as a post office see https://www.google.com/maps/place/120+H ... 9447?hl=en

Now ive not responded to the demand of a sum of a bit under £300 ( wont state the price here in case that gives away my case to them should they read this) from the date on the email theyre giving me 3 weeks to pay up..now this looks like a scam to me but it’s a very good scam as details in the pdf include screenshots of my blog ( can I threaten them for copying my blog ! )

They say
In the event that resolution with a license fee is not possible, our next steps are to forward this matter to a legal partner in your local area to secure the highest fees recoverable for copyright infringement. These fees include actual damages or statutory damages, and can include legal costs, expenses, costs affiliated with filing a lawsuit, and ensuing litigation. Fees recoverable in the event of copyright infringement typically far exceed the cost of an initial license.
Pixsy has a strong history and success in the United Kingdom of bring cases to the IPEC (Intellectual Property Enterprise Court) small claims court in matters where licensing of unauthorised use was not possible.
Email: resolution@pixsy.com (please always reply to the original email thread and include the reference number) Phone: +44 20 3807 4030 Post: Pixsy, 120 High Road, East Finchley, N2 9ED, London

So does any one have any proof they will try take me to court ? are their any articles any one has found online etc where people detail themselves being taken to court over use of 1 photo found via google images ? ive found other internet articles re getty images using similar tactics but ive never ever heard of pixsy until this threatening email arrived
I am worried as although the sum may not seem a huge amount to any of you, I am out of work at the moment so the sum is huge to me !
They want payment sent to Bank: Bank of America,
101 South Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28256, USA
Account Name: Pixsy Inc. Account Number: 898067630803 ABA Routing Number: 063100277 (paper & electronic) ABA Routing Number: 026009593 (wires) SWIFT Code: BOFAUS6S

Please offer me advice, at the moment im thinking to not reply to their email but then in 3 weeks time what will happen ? ive done a few google searches about this situation and found articles on copyright trolls ( which is what I would call them )
In fact I think I found this on your forum from may 2017 viewtopic.php?t=2067 I'm glad you've told us this letter is from Pixsy. They are recovery agents who tend to work directly with photographers to identify alleged infringing use of copyright photographs. They are based in the USA and have an office in Germany.

However unlike most picture agencies they are neither assignees nor exclusive licensees as far as copyright is concerned and that means they cannot actually initiate litigation for copyright infringement in the UK. Some people refer to such agencies as copyright trolls because they largely operate by demanding inflated fees from alleged infringers. They then keep roughly 50% of everything they recover. The UK courts have been fairly unsympathetic to such companies and methods in the past (see the Media CAT cases).

I strongly suggest you do not have any dealings with this company until you have obtained legal advice. And certainly do not make any admissions of liability. ( end of info i copied from copyrightaid)

If this pixsy’s firm has some algorithm to detect pictures on websites I am sure there will be a flood of people facing similar stress so please advise me asap
Many thanks

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by AndyJ » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:39 am

Hi Worried.

I don't think I can add much to what was said in the previous thread which you referenced. If you haven't already done so, make sure you remove the disputed image from your blog as quickly as possible.

While I wouldn't go so far as to say this was a scam, it certainly sounds like a money-making operation. That said, the £300 fee would not be excessive as a typical fee you might have to pay to use an image legitimately. And it is worth saying that, on the basis of what you have said about how you found this image, it is likely that you have unwittingly infringed someone's copyright. The Pixsy letter appears to identify the photographer (and presumed actual owner of the copyright). You could try to find this individual via Google and contact them directly to try arrange a more acceptable fee, especially since the period of use of the image is well under a year. But at a guess this individual may well be based outside the UK and so there is no guarantee this approach will work.

At the very least you should contact Citizens Advice and get them to advise on the best way of dealing with 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

Worried
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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Worried » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:14 am

thanks Andy, the image was removed immediatly after i saw the email ( i honestly wonder if the said image is something this guy got parts of from google himself seeing as part of the image is identical to other generic equipment photos found on google images..meaning he well may have copied part of the image he claims is his ! )

ive used citizens advice in the past for something else and while the volunteers mean well they are bogged down with cases and gave very little help to me so i wont be contacting them but thanks for the idea.

i will let the 3 weeks pass and see what they do next.

yes the person who pixsy.com are claiming for live in another european country, after the 3 weeks depending on what pixsy say i may try contact the alleged copyright holder. I consider what theyre doing to be blackmail if not a scam.

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by ATMOSBOB » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:38 pm

" I consider what theyre doing to be blackmail if not a scam."

As a photographer I regard people who lift images off the internet without making any attempt to find the owner and pay them to be the true scammers.

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Worried » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:23 pm

i think were all victims of google to be honest, at the time i got the 1 picture from google images i honestly dont recall seeing any copyright notice ( maybe i was in a rush or more likely its in such tiny print my eyes couldnt see a thing ) does anyone know if in early 2018 google had a warning under each photo ?

either way photos should have watermarks on them,..anything google shows in google images people can easily take copies of. Photographers need to mark every photo they show on the internet clearly , maybe in the bottom right etc.

ATMOSBOB i put thousands of videos on youtube and i get upset when i find my videos have been taken and copied by someone for their youtube account so i fill in a lengthy form and get youtube to remove the "stolen " videos. i do not nor have i ever asked for money from the annoying people who sometimes do this. Demanding hundreds of pounds is just that a demand..i will not be paying up in my case unless forced to in a court, hopefully that wont happen but if it does i will make sure to inform as many media organisations as i can think of to expose this copyright troll company pixsy.com

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by ATMOSBOB » Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:02 pm

"either way photos should have watermarks on them,..anything google shows in google images people can easily take copies of. Photographers need to mark every photo they show on the internet clearly , maybe in the bottom right etc. "

Every single one of my infringements have been from printed material like books with my name clearly visible. When those images are put on the internet by an infringer there is no watermark. Did you really believe that the law says that images are free for the taking if there is no copyright information?

Worried
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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Worried » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:19 pm

the point your failing to understand is that we all use google these days, and when they give us results eg for pictures no its not clear what legally we can and cant take. your mixing your experience with mine and its not helping, your talking about images copied from your books, but i am talking about google image search results, few people understand copyright laws. Keep the discusion in this thread about how pixsy.com operate please.

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Nick Cooper » Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:39 pm

Worried wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:19 pm
the point your failing to understand is that we all use google these days, and when they give us results eg for pictures no its not clear what legally we can and cant take. your mixing your experience with mine and its not helping, your talking about images copied from your books, but i am talking about google image search results, few people understand copyright laws. Keep the discusion in this thread about how pixsy.com operate please.
Just because a photo comes up with a Google Image search, doesn't mean it's copyright free. In fact, the vast majority of results won't be, and even if you specify "copyright free" or "public domain," it is still advisable to look at the actual source to determine whether it really is or not.

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Worried » Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:23 pm

thanks nick, i wish Google had made this obvious at the time i looked for pictures to use on a blog

i will fight pixsy.com

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Fatty » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:38 pm

The comments about Google are interesting. In the UK , underneath the images in image search Google says images "may" be subject to copyright. Interestingly if you search with a local IP address in google.de Google says images are "generally" protected by copyright law which is much nearer the truth.

Another interesting fact about google is the Google bot reads the copyright meta data of images and most professional photographs will be marked as copyright protected but despite Google knowing an image is copyright protected it states only that it "may" be copyright protected.

I think we are all pawns in googles game.

Anyway, going back to the original case, copyright is signed to a photo automatically and it lasts for 70 years until after the death of the photographer. Thats means that 99% or more of the images on Google are copyright protected. Helping yourself to photos using Google image search is not a wise move. The only images that would be safe to use are those over about 180 years old ( maximum human life span plus 70 years) and anything newer than 100 years is high risk. Your most at risk if the photographer is alive and kicking , so anything within the last 50 years. You will be at risk because the photographer is probably disgruntled that you helped yourself to something that you should have paid for. There is nothing unique about photographers, you will likely find the same disgruntleness if you eat a restaurant meal and dont pay for it or try taking a Taxi and running off without paying for it.

In this case, the copyright holder is clearly entitled to damages and has engaged the services of Pixsey to negotiate that with you. Your choices are either negotiate an out of court settlement or take your chances in court. Going to court has significant costs , even in the IPEC small claims track. Most of the cases I have read about result in the defendants paying a significant 4 figure sum and so on that basis , an offer to settle at 300 GBP seems to me to be very reasonable. You may find they will respond positively to negotiation so you may be able to settle for less or pay in instalments. If you went to court , the court would take into account your circumstances but you would still have to pay whatever the court awarded, although they would probably allow you to pay in instalments. It would be much cheaper to avoid the court costs and go straight to an agreement.

As with many types of dispute, my advice is jaw jaw is better than war war. Try to reach an agreement.

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by Worried » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:18 pm

Hi all, as ive said the image i got off google is something i would never have found without google, the image in question as ive said is most likely a couple of images put together ( not a out and out photo if you know what i mean ? ) so possible photoshopped. theres no way on earth this person that created that was going to be able to sell it for £300 a time, its not like he got on a plane and flew to new york incuring travel costs etc and took an amazing photo of say the empire state building suitable for reproduction as posters for example ), if that were the case yes i understand he incured costs getting the picture

in my case i see this as a scam. they can take me to court because im not paying, all this is is an image google provided me with ( honestly do not recall seeing any copyright warning when i got it in early 2018) ...be interesting if anyone knows when google images did begin saying under images it finds " may be copyright"

i also get emails daily telling me people want to transfer millions into my account because someone in nigeria has died...that scam needs me to pay a transfer cost etc ... you get my point ? trying to charge £300 for use of 1 picture is a scam.

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by AndyJ » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:25 pm

Hi Fatty,

I don't disagree with the thrust of your point. However I would take issue with a couple of specifics:

1. "That means that 99% or more of the images on Google are copyright protected." The word 'image' is not synonymous with 'photograph', On that basis, obviously, the proportion of copyright-protected photographs is quite a lot less than 99% of all images found on ImageSearch.

2. "The only images that would be safe to use are those over about 180 years old ( maximum human life span plus 70 years) and anything newer than 100 years is high risk." Your 180 year proposal assumes that an infant aged under one year of age might start producing photographs! It is also worth stating that a fair proportion of photographs which fall within your 100 year time frame may be freely copied either because they are covered by a Creativve Commons licence, or don't qualify for copyright protection due to the fact there was no human creative input (think of a speed camera, or automated digital copying process) or they are otherwise exempt, for instance works produced by the US Government or its agencies (eg NASA). And finally the copyright term of lifetime + 70 years is the current law as it applies to identifiable individuals. Any photograph produced in the UK before 1 Jan 1946 is actually subject to a different term of copyright protection, namely 50 years from the date the photograph was taken ( ie the light sensitive medium was exposed to light). And for a photograph taken by an unknown photographer, after 1 June 1957, the term is, at best, 70 years from the date an unpublished photograph was made, or if it has been published, 70 years from the date of publication (see section 12(3). On the other side of the coin, Crown copyright in an unpublished photograph extends to 125 years from when it was taken.

In other words it's a good deal more complicated than many people imagine, and that's why I tend not advocate a rule of thumb. Anyone who comes across a photograph they would like to use should certainly assume from the outset that they will need to track down the owner of the copyright (who may not necessarily be the photographer), and only when they have satisfied themselves that either no copyright exists, or that the copyright owner has made the photograph available under a free licence, should they contemplate using the photograph without permission.
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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by ATMOSBOB » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:33 pm

1. "That means that 99% or more of the images on Google are copyright protected." The word 'image' is not synonymous with 'photograph', On that basis, obviously, the proportion of copyright-protected photographs is quite a lot less than 99% of all images found on ImageSearch.

Dear Andy, Sorry to nitpick but I think you will find that images which are not photographs are also protected by copyright such as drawings, paintings, sketches etc.

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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by AndyJ » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:39 pm

Hi ATMOSBOB,

Point taken. In my defence, Fatty was specifically talking about photographs and photographers (see the sentences before and after the one about "99% of images"). This becomes more relevant where I go on to talk about the special treatment of photographs (and not other artistic works) prior to 1 Jan 1946. And of course since a much higher proportion of non-photographic images will be out of copyright due to their age this will dilute the 99% claim considerably.

I appreciate that Fatty was trying to make a point - a point I fully accept - that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and it is perhaps naive to assume that Google has any special responsibility for informing its users about the copyright status of images it indexes. If you ask a stranger for directions to a local landmark, you don't expect him to include instructions about stopping at traffic lights or giving way to traffic from the right when entering a roundabout, or making sure you apply your handbrake when you reach your destination (the same applies to Satnav!)
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Re: Pixsy.com email re use of photo on website demanding fee

Post by copyrightcorrect » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:19 pm

Hello,

I thought I would add something to this post.

We check several web sites a month for copyright infringement. We help companies who are worried about using images that maybe licensed / copyright protected.

You would be amazed how many just grab them off google or other search engines.

It also frustrates us as many companies use a 'web designer' who populates the site with images and often has not purchased a license. Under UK copyright law I am afraid the end user not the web designer is responsible for the images on their web site.

Therefore I would use the following two rules of thumb.

Do not download and use anything you have found on google, a free image site (who says they are free). Only use an image if you have permission from the owner and you know where it is from.

Even if you have had your lovely web site designed for you - check with your designer where he/she got the images from and do they have a license.

This way you dramatically reduce the chances of being contacted with a demand for license infringement which is never nice and Pixsy bless them will not need to contact you; basically remove yourself from the firing line !

Graham
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