How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50166
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

Copyright problemHi I wonder if someone could advise me on

This answer was rated:

Attachment: 2015-09-20_175708_pix_002981.doc

Copyright problem Hi I wonder if someone could advise me on the following. I made a commercial website a couple of years ago for a friend. It would appear, although I used free picture download sites, that I have used a photo that is covered by copyright. I have received an email from a paralegal who is demanding £1000 plus £200 fees otherwise I will be taken to court. Her, the paralegal, and her company look legit and after doing some research her letter (email) would appear real. I'm not sure what to do next. I certainly don't want or can afford to send her money to stop court proceedings. any help would be greatly appreciated.

Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you know how much it would have cost to get a licence to use this particular photo?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben thanks for helping! I downloaded the photo from a freebie site. I have spent hours today trying to find it but it was a couple of years ago I made the site using the photo in question

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.
Such companies are notorious for the aggressive way in which they pursue people who use their images in what they believe is without their permission. 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. However, in reality the law on copyright infringement is not that simple and the way damages are calculated is different.
The first step is to establish whether you had the right to use the photo in question. It would depend on what licences were assigned for its use and who they had given permission to. If you were told by the site who had permission to use it that you were also allowed to use it and you did so in good faith then you will have a partial defence in a sense that any reasonable person in your position may not have been able to take further steps to establish whether they were breaching copyright.
Also if you had immediately removed the infringing photo, it is unlikely they can just go on and pursue the amount in question 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.
You can challenge the company 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 trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or 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
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben.

Thanks very much. If you dont mind I will run through your reply in the morning just incase I need to contact you.

Thanks again



No problem thanks