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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3844
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I have a question about copyright of images. Our company has

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I have a question about copyright of images. Our company has a website service that allows customers to upload images and data and create "cards" that they can print. The service also allows our clients to share the "cards" they create with each other. Our service asks them about the copyright of each image they upload and records details they give - whether they own it, whether the image is free to use commercially, or whether it has unknown provenance but that they judge it is OK for them to use - in the latter case "cards" with image of unknown copyright provenance are not shared, but only for the uploader's use. Our service also warns them about copyright permissions being required for upload and sharing via our site.
Our issue is that some clients upload images they have found on the internet where copyright permissions do not allow commercial use. Where we find out about this, we remove the images straight away. However we cannot review every image they upload.
What is our legal position should an image copyright holder decide that they wanted to take legal action against infringement of their image copyright by one of our clients? Are we also liable? With this in mind how can we best protect ourselves against legal action with regard to images uploaded to our site?

Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. Do you have any form of copyright disclaimer in your current terms and conditions? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Alex,We have the following statement in the terms & conditions on the website:Note: if you add Bed Cards into the system yourself, the plant data and photo you use must be free of Copyright restrictions (i.e. must be created by you, or explicitly free to use for business purposes). If we are informed of violations, such as the use of copyrighted images found on the Internet, by law we must remove those images (as all images are stored on our server).Is this enough?

Hi, Thank you. You can be held liable by a copyright owner for publishing and using an image that breaches a third party IP right. What you want in your terms and conditions is wording the states the following from your customers:

(i) The customers warrant to "company" that it has all rights licences and permissions to use any materials, pictures, or any other intellectual property ("input materials") uploaded or supplied to your company in the provision of the services;

(ii) The customer further warrants than none of the input materials breach the intellectual property rights of any third party, or are defamatory or obscene;

(iii) The company reserves the right at any time and in its absolute discretion (and without any liability to the customer) to refuse to accept any input materials and/or remove the input materials from the company's website;

(iv) The customer shall indemnify and hold the company harmless against any costs, losses, expenses (including legal expenses) arising from any breach of the warranties in (i) & (ii) above and/or the company exercising its rights under (iii).

Accepting IP from another person is always a risk, and you could be liable to a third party if the person providing you with the material does not have permission to do so. That said being diligent and removing any material that you have been notified is infringing someone elses property will help protect you against a claim. The indemnity above will allow you to recover your losses from customer, but it is only as good as the solvency of that customer, i.e if the customer does not have any money they wont be able to cover your damages any way. Kind regards AJ

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