Frequently asked questions
Taking photographs requires patience, skill and creativity. The settlement offer we are making is an attempt to provide fair compensation for the work of a photographer. It is also substantially discounted compared to the actual damages and profits that you may be liable for. The settlement offer is made in a good faith attempt to avoid attorneys’ fees and expenses to you and to our client. If the settlement offer we are making is not accepted, requiring us to take further action, the matter will not be settled based on the substantially discounted offer that we have proposed in this letter. Damages in copyright cases, for cases of willful infringement, can be significant. In cases where statutory damages are available, courts can award as much as $150,000 per infringed work.
Many of the photographs that you can find via Google Images are copyright-protected, as Google also indicates by the notification ‘Images may be subject to copyright.’ It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid license before you use such images.
The fact that the author is not mentioned on or near a photograph does not mean that the photographer has relinquished his or her rights to that photograph. Indeed, there is no obligation to put © or ‘copyright’ on or near the work. The copyright is granted automatically to the author of the work and has to be respected, even when his or her name is not mentioned.
“Fair Use” or the “Fair Dealing” doctrine, allows limited copying of copyrighted works for certain purposes, including education and research. These limited uses do not require permission from the copyright owner. Whether a particular use is a fair use depends on the facts of each case. The law lists several factors, which courts must consider together in determining whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is a permitted “Fair Use,” or is instead an infringement of the copyright. Learn more here.
Public domain refers to content that is not or is no longer protected by copyright. The duration of copyright varies for different types of work and from country to country. Some examples of public domain in the U.S. include all works published before 1926, works that are out of copyright or works that fell out of copyright for failure to register or renew under the 1909 Act or for lack of notice before 1989 and works created by the U.S. government. Learn more about public domain and other terms here.
Under copyright law, you are responsible for the images you use on your website, even when those images were placed there by an employee or a supplier.
Whenever you place content of third parties (such as blog posts, product brochures, presentations, etc.) on your website, you are required to verify with the third party whether copyright has been cleared. You are responsible for all the material you put on your website, even when it has been supplied by a third party.
You have placed the photograph(s) on your website without the author’s permission. This constitutes an infringement of the author’s copyright and you must remove the photograph(s) immediately. Removing the photographs, however, does not mean you do not need to provide compensation. You already have infringed the author’s copyright and are required to provide compensation for that past infringement.
This letter does not constitute an attempt to collect a debt. It is a request for you to pay a settlement offer to resolve the problem created by your unauthorized use of photographs. You have the right to challenge the offer, and you can do so by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. By doing so, you refuse to accept our settlement offer, and we reserve the right to initiate legal proceedings for copyright infringement.
You must promptly remove the image(s) from your website and from the image library of your website, so that even the image URL(s) is/are no longer active.
Please contact us as soon as possible by e-mail at email@example.com to set up a time to speak. If you do indeed possess a valid license, we will update our records after we receive documentation of that license or other acceptable proof.
Feel free to contact us and we’ll get back to you.