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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3652
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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Re image copyright and usage question We run a property

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Re image copyright and usage question
We run a property news hub and allow many blog contributors to add their own text and images. We were wondering what happens if someone uploads an image they are not allowed to use. Who will be taking responsibility if a legal company chases us for compensation and how can we enforce that? Effectively the image will be on our website, but uploaded by someone else. Here is a link to our T&Cs:
The site is free for most contributors, they upload the content direct. We can’t check each image and where it’s come from, the users need to do that. Is having T&Cs enough? Is there something more we can do to protect ourselves?
Also, we use many images from royalty free sites on clients’ websites when we publish blogs for them. Very recently we had an email from a legal firm saying we have used their images without a valid licence on one of our clients’ blogs, therefore we have to pay £192 compensation. We can’t trace the image back and prove exactly where it came from, although we believe it was downloaded from a royalty free site as we had a credit on the page saying the image was courtesy of XXX. This site may have removed the image and we can’t find it now. Is there a general rule of thumb for images used in blogs and how to protects ourselves when taken from royalty free sites?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. Do you have someone that regularly monitors the material or are you only reactive - i.e if someone complains you would remove an image?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
yes, we will remove it
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you. I am writing a response to the points you have raised. This may take me a little while so please do not be concerned if you do not hear from me right away. Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The problem is that recently a client got a letter stating they have to pay £192 even if we remove the image. So if someone posts an image they don;t have the right to use, we can potentially get a bill.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you for your patience. Firstly I have reviewed your terms and conditions - your warranty and indemnity is perfectly fit for purpose and has the intended result of protecting you against any infringement claims. The only point you must bear in mind is that the indemnity is only as good as the person giving it - if the person who has given the indemnity cannot be found or has no money then you will have difficulty enforcing it. Secondly in relation to the unwanted invoice - you are liable if you are using copyright material without permission, but just because they sent you a bill it does not mean you have to pay it, as long as you take action to take down the offending material quickly and can show you properly monitor the situation you should be able to ward them off suing you for £192 (the cost along won't be worth it). Write to them and say you have not taken any commercial benefit from the image and ceased use of the image as soon as you became aware of the infringement. In terms of using material going forward you will have to just ensure that you put practical control in place to verify you have permission to use the images concerned (e.g a written licence) - unfortunately this is just a risk of the industry as copyright is the only intellectual property that is not subject to registration. When you buy or licence images in the future just make sure you a reputable supplier. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Alex,Thank you very much for the reply.
We just wanted to expand on the 1st point - the site where people publish content and images direct.
If someone uses an image from say Getty who are a big company and Getty go after us with a bigger bill, say £1000, how do we:
a) get the person who uploaded the image to take responsibility and
b) get Getty off our back so we are not liable?We ask for name, email and number when they register but people can fake those so we may not be able to ensure if they are genuine people. Is there a standard practice for sites like ours that allows images to be uploaded but doe snot take responsibility? Like Facebook I guess...
Apart from our T&Cs, is there anything else we can do? How can say Getty agree not to sue us based on our T&Cs? Should we add some text somewhere on the articles? or the T&C page is enough?
thank you
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,Thank you.(i) The person who has uploaded the image (in acceptance of your terms and conditions) will be in breach of warranty. They have indemnified you for breach of their warranty. To hold them accountable you would have to write to them and say you have received an invoice from Getty Images, Getty Images are alleging your use is infringement their copyright, as the user uploaded the image they must indemnify you for the cost. If the user did not indemnify you, you could sue them;(ii) As for Getty Images, you should try and resist making any payments, say to them (a) you have not benefited from the infringement, (b) you removed the infringement as soon as you became aware and (c) you would be happy to supply the details of the person that uploaded the image so they can pursue that person directly. Bare in mind Intellectual Property (unless the infringement is a criminal offence, which this is not on your part) must be enforced by the owner, that is their prerogative. Just because they send invoices and make threats does not mean you cannot negotiate or at least show you are being robust in determining who allowed to supply IP to your site. Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Alex.
One last question, we said all of the above to the company who wants £192 for the 2 images we thought were royalty free.
However, this is their answer:Please find attached a rights holdership form from our client. We must advise you that failure from us to reach a mutual agreement may result in this matter being deferred to our solicitors.
Please see below our payment options, per your request.What could their solicitors do in this case? We have removed the images, explained we thought they are royalty free and yet they still insist on the payment. Can the solicitors force payment from us?
So my question is, following all your points above, if the company still persists we pay and we don;t what can they do next?
thank you
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you. This is potentially scare mongering, but bare in mind they do have the right to sue you for copyright infringement if you used the images with out permission. Referring it to their lawyers would just be the first stage of trying to sue you, all their lawyer would do is write you a threatening letter. If you still refused to pay they would have to decide whether to take you court. If you want this to go away quickly you could consider settling the claim with - maybe offering half the money?Kind regardsAJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you Alex,
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
No problem. I would be most grateful if you could rate my answer in the mean time.Kind regards AJ
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