Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
How long was the photo online?
Approx 3 weeks
Copyright is automatically given to the original creator of an image and there is no requirement to have a statement that it is under copyright for it to be protected – the copyright is there regardless. So if you used a copyrighted image, even without knowing it was under copyright, then you would have been acting in breach. That means the copyright owner could potentially sue you for any damages incurred as a result. In these circumstances the usual damages would be the licence fee which they would have earned had they given you official use of the photo. What is a reasonable licence will of course vary from one image to another and it will depend on what their usual licence fees are so you could certainly ask for evidence of how they have come up with that figure and request them to justify it
Should I mail the copyright holder direct
if you know who they are then yes you can. although you may still continue to deal with the company that has approached you if they are their official representatives
We used several photos from the internet so would we be similarly liable fro damages on each
potentially yes, if these were also under copyright and the copyright owners find out
We have removed all photos from the web site. Do you think it likely this firm will pursue this claim for a small amount of damages
it's a million dollar question as they say - no one can tell apart from them, some just use threats of court to try and force a payment through, others will act very aggressively and pursue this as far as possible. It is really impossible to guess, but you could try and call their bluff and if they do make a claim, offer to settle out of court so they drop the claim
Many thanks , by the way the image was only one inch square in size
Yes, size does not matter here, pardon the expression, it is really the losses incurred by the copyright owner, which as mentioned are the usual licence fees they would have received from the granting of the licence to use said photo