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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48176
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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We are a small family run wholesale company supplying pot

Resolved Question:

We are a small family run wholesale company supplying pot plants to local retail outlets. We recently constructed a web site which was completed earlier this month, Several pictures of plants were obtained from the internet. We have to-day receive a letter from a Company called Wisecollectmedia stating that we have breached copyright for one of these pictures and asking for a retroactive licence fee in the sum of £231.90 within 10 days or face legal process. There was no indication on the internet that the photo was subject to copyright owned by an American photographer. The photo has now been removed from our website. I cannot see that we have caused any financial loss to anyone. What do you advise
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

How long was the photo online?

Customer:

Approx 3 weeks

Customer:

why?

Ben Jones :

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

Customer:

Should I mail the copyright holder direct

Ben Jones :

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

Customer:

We used several photos from the internet so would we be similarly liable fro damages on each

Ben Jones :

potentially yes, if these were also under copyright and the copyright owners find out

Customer:

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

Ben Jones :

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

Customer:

Many thanks , by the way the image was only one inch square in size

Ben Jones :

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

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