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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47375
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I own and estate agency, we recently sold a client's house

Customer Question

Hi, I own and estate agency, we recently sold a client's house and he supplied us with the image for use on our website. We normally use a professional photographer for this cost is £70. The client had he's own set of photos so suggested we use his. Since the sale the new owner has asked us to rent the property, so my team switched the sale property to a letting property and by doing this used the same images. We have since received a letter from the previous owners solicitors informing us that we have infringed his copyright and he requires us to take the images of our site and also to pay him compensation for the use ( his day rate is £1600). We have taken the images off all sites and instructed our own photographer to take images. Where do we stand regarding compensation? Our fee for the let is only £1300, are we really liable to pay the previous client full compensation? The property has not yet been let.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello how much compensation is he after?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has not specified exactly, his solicitor's letter states ' pay our client satisfactory compensation for the unauthorised use, please note our clients current advertising day rate is £1600. This does not include his fee for usage which is in addition to the day rate'
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
When they mention day rate what is that for, what would he charge such fees for?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I've since found out he is a professional photographer, so i am assuming the charge would be a day rate for photography.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ben, Would it be helpful to send attach a copy of the letter i received?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
As the original creator of the photographs, the person will have automatic copyright over the images in question. It means that any use and distribution can only be done with their consent and if that was not obtained, he could potentially sue for breach of copyright. However, when lawyers start getting involved in dealing with such breaches, often the sums they request are exaggerated and in the hope that people will just pay up in order to avoid further threats or possible legal action. In reality the law on copyright infringement is not that simple and the way damages are calculated is different. If you had immediately removed the infringing photo, it is unlikely they can just go on and pursue a large amount and they would be limited in seeking is damages suffered as a result of your initial use, which would generally be limited to the licence fee you would have paid had you sought permission directly from them to use the image. These would generally not be much more than £100 per image. The person’s day rate may have been £1,600 but it is highly unlikely he would have spent a whole day taking photos of the property so it would only be a small proportion of that. You can challenge the person to prove exactly what losses they have suffered as a result of this infringement and to provide proof of these, stating clearly that you will not simply be bullied into paying what is clearly an extortionate amount that is completely unjustified. Also remind them that a court will only award actual damages incurred as a result of this, usually limited to the licence fee one would have paid for the photo and unless it was some exclusive photo that would attract higher fees, nominal damages are likely to be awarded. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Ben, your advice has been very useful.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome, all the best