imagerights.com threat, advice needed

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
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beebaakid
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imagerights.com threat, advice needed

Post by beebaakid » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:21 pm

Hi, received a copyright infringement email from imagerights.com, I had used a found image as reference for a digital drawing which I then made into a greetings card for sale on my website (I never sold one), they are asking for £550 down from £800. I have taken the image down obviously, I am based in the uk and so is the copyright holder

my questions are -

1 - do I pay up
2 - what is the likelihood of them taking me to court
3 - what are my potential liabilities if it goes to court.

this has come as a big shock to me and feel its a unscrupulous practice not being given the opportunity to take the image down firstly before demands of money.

any advice much appreciated.

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AndyJ
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Re: imagerights.com threat, advice needed

Post by AndyJ » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:47 pm

Hi beebaakid,

If you haven't already seen this thread it's probably worth a read as it answers most of your questions. The amount of money they are seeking looks out of proportion to the alleged infringement, which is pretty much how these companies operate.

It is interesting that in your case you do not seem to have directly copied the original image (ie just copied and pasted the image onto your website), but redrawn it. It is somewhat surprising that they found your version as they usually use image matching software, rather than humans, to find their images. I assume that your drawing was a very close reproduction of the original. However, that is slightly irrelevant to your question as you appear to be acknowledging that infringement has taken place, and sadly I don't think there is an exception to copyright which can come to your defence, unless you can argue that your version parodies the original or is a pastiche of it (see section 30A of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988).
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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AndyJ
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Re: imagerights.com threat, advice needed

Post by AndyJ » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:25 am

Hi beebaakid,

As it appears you haven't logged in again since my posting above (although you may have seen it without logging in), I thought it might be helpful for you and others reading this thread, to indicate how the courts assess cases such the one you have outlined. This can best be illustrated by the words of Lord Millet in paragraphs 38 and 39 of the judgment in a House of Lords case known as Designers Guild Ltd v Russell Williams (Textiles Limited) [2001] FSR 11

38. An action for infringement of artistic copyright, however, is very different [from a case of passing off]. It is not concerned with the appearance of the defendant's work but with its derivation. The copyright owner does not complain that the defendant's work resembles his. His complaint is that the defendant has copied all or a substantial part of the copyright work. The reproduction may be exact or it may introduce deliberate variations involving altered copying or colourable imitation as it is sometimes called. Even where the copying is exact, the defendant may incorporate the copied features into a larger work much and perhaps most of which is original or derived from other sources. But while the copied features must be a substantial part of the copyright work, they need not form a substantial part of the defendant's work - see Warwick Film Producers Ltd v Eisinger [1969] Ch 508. Thus, the overall appearance of the defendant's work may be very different from the copyright work, but it does not follow that the defendant's work does not infringe the plaintiff's copyright.

39. The first step in an action for infringement of artistic copyright is to identify those features of the defendant's design which the plaintiff alleges have been copied from the copyright work. The court undertakes a visual comparison of the two designs noting the similarities and the differences. The purpose of the examination is not to see whether the overall appearance of the two designs is similar but to judge whether the particular similarities relied on are sufficiently close, numerous or extensive to be more likely to be the result of copying than of coincidence. It is at this stage that similarities may be disregarded because they are commonplace, unoriginal or consist of general ideas. If the plaintiff demonstrates sufficient similarity not in the works as a whole but in the features which he alleges have been copied and establishes that the defendant had prior access to the copyright work, the burden passes to the defendant to satisfy the judge that, despite the similarities, they did not result from copying.
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

beebaakid
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Re: imagerights.com threat, advice needed

Post by beebaakid » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:18 pm

Thank you for taking time to reply, I managed to get the figures down and I'm gonna pay up as its taking over my life.
It has been an education, it feels like the internet is like the wild west, I cant believe there is not a law where they have to issue a cease and desist first, but I guess this would too sensible.
I was so disgusted I took my entire website down, there is very little information regarding court actions, which makes it even more scary when you get threatened. thank you again.

ATMOSBOB
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Re: imagerights.com threat, advice needed

Post by ATMOSBOB » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:26 pm

beebaakid wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:18 pm
I cant believe there is not a law where they have to issue a cease and desist first, but I guess this would too sensible.
As a photographer I cannot believe that people steal my work. Why on earth would I issue a cease and desist first?

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