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Imageprotect threatens photographer with unauthorised use of his own image


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For those that have their images with stock photography providers OTHER than Alamy, this might be of interest.

 

Photoshot have acquired a few other libraries of late and have subsequently instructed Imageprotect.com to trawl the web and find infringements.

 

So imagine my surprise when I received a somewhat "un-delightful" series of emails from Imageprotect of all people, threatening to sue the pants off of me for using my own images on my own website.

 

To be clear, this wasn't a polite cease & desist type email. It came across more that they actually wanted £1000 per image and then have a chat.

 

The worrying side of this is that if you license your own work to clients whilst also submitting images to a library that employs a company such as Imageprotect (as Alamy have said they could well do) and they do this to one of your respected clients on your behalf at some stage, you could well be "missing" future sales.

 

C.

 

 

Email included below:

*****************

From: ImageProtect [mailto:DMCA@imageprotect.com] 
 
Subject: Re: Unauthorized Use of Copyrights Owned Exclusively by Photoshot Holdings Ltd.
 
FIRST ATTEMPT
 
Dear Sir or Madam
Copyright Infringement by Photoshot Holdings Ltd. Letter Before Claim
ImageProtect is a third-party corporation that monitors and detects images for the purpose of copyright enforcement. We write to you in regard to your unauthorised use of the image (the "Image") (a copy of which is enclosed) as stated below.
The author and copyright owner of the Image, Photoshot Holdings Ltd., has directed us to pursue this claim on their behalf on the basis of a Licence Recovery agreement.
The Image was discovered on your website and on your server. We enclose for your reference copies/screen captures of the webpages where the Image appears and the following information:
Timestamp:
Infringers IP Address:
Infringers Hosting Company: 
Listing of infringement(s):
This appears to be an unlicensed use of the Image. 
As the copyright owner, Photoshot Holdings Ltd. has exclusive rights pursuant to the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 (the "CDPA") to license acts restricted by the copyright, including issuing copies of the work to the public without his/her consent. The CDPA does not require any kind of intent or knowledge on the part of the infringer that their use infringed another party's copyright. Therefore, it is no defence to say that you did not know the Image was protected by copyright. If you did not have a valid licence to use the Image you are liable to pay damages to Photoshot Holdings Ltd. for the unauthorised use.
We hereby demand that you comply with the following:
1. If a valid licence was purchased prior to the use of the Image, please provide us with a copy of the sales order, invoice, or other licence information. If the image was licensed under an alternative company name or in the name of a third party, such as an advertising agency, please provide that company name and phone number. We will review that information and respond to you as quickly as possible.
2. If a valid licence does not exist for the identified usage and you do not plan to use the Image in the future, you must immediately cease and desist use of the Image and remove it from your website. In addition, in consideration of our client refraining from bringing legal proceedings against you, a payment of £1000.00 for the use of the Image must be received within 14 days of the date of this notice.
ImageProtect treats copyright infringement as a serious matter. If you are interested in resolving this matter prior to litigation, we expect full compliance with the above demands. 
Image Protect operates an online settlement portal which automates the processing of damages payments. You can access the portal by copying and pasting the URL below into a browser. Follow the instructions to pay damages of £1000.00 or provide valid licence details.
 
Alternatively, please contact the undersigned within the next 14 days in order to clarify if a valid licence exists or to discuss payment of damages for past use. If possible, we can discuss the continued use of the Image once the damages have been paid and if there is no conflict with any current licensed user.
If we do not hear from you Photoshot Holdings Ltd. reserves the right to take any action they deem necessary, including but not limited to the issue of legal proceedings against you without further notice. In such event, Photoshot Holdings Ltd. will seek all remedies available under the CDPA. For the avoidance of doubt, any claim against you will be commenced by the copyright owner.
This letter complies with the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct. You have an obligation to comply with the Practice Direction which can be found at the following web address: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/pd_pre-action_conduct. Please note in particular paragraph 4 which sets out the sanctions the Court may impose should you fail to do so. Ignoring this letter may lead to proceedings and an increase in the amount of your liability.
At this stage we are not aware that you have any grounds to dispute this claim. Once we receive your response to this letter we will be in a better position to consider if any alternative dispute resolution method is appropriate to any issue you raise.
This letter is in attempt to settle a claim. Photoshot Holdings Ltd. reserves all its rights and remedies whether legal or equitable while awaiting your full response.
Yours faithfully
Jonathan Thomas
CEO
Clear Arts Inc dba ImageProtect
1401 N El Camino Real, Ste 203
San Clemente, CA 92672
+1 949 361 3959
For any correspondence regarding this case, please send your emails to DMCA@ImageProtect.com and refer to Notice ID. If you need immediate assistance or if you have general questions please call the number listed above.
*****************
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As the copyright owner, Photoshot Holdings Ltd. 

apparently, based on this email; it belongs to them (Photoshot Holdings Ltd

 

Scary, very Scary.   

Time to find me that tinfoil hat, again. 

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"dear" imageprotect

 

I have just asked the actual holder of copyright for that image, me, for advice, and I have advised myself to tell you to get stuffed.

 

sincerely

me

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Back when I looked into PhotoShot they required an exclusive contract with most contributors. Not sure if you're permitted to license your own work directly.

Better check the fine print.

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Back when I looked into PhotoShot they required an exclusive contract with most contributors. Not sure if you're permitted to license your own work directly.

Better check the fine print.

 

The objection raised by the e-mail shown by OP seems to be simply the display of the image/s, not any subsequent licensing.

 

The approach in the e-mail is bullying--hence telling them to get stuffed.

 

dd

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As the copyright owner, Photoshot Holdings Ltd. 

 

apparently, based on this email; it belongs to them (Photoshot Holdings Ltd

 

Scary, very Scary.   

Time to find me that tinfoil hat, again. 

The Copyright belongs to the photographer and the photoshot contract (as it is right now) is non-exclusive.

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Another example of their dire contrib relations. I was lucky enough to be with WP (bought by PS) when Charles started his empire building and even luckier to have been able to leave them with virtually no images to rep.

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As the copyright owner, Photoshot Holdings Ltd. 

apparently, based on this email; it belongs to them (Photoshot Holdings Ltd

 

Scary, very Scary.   

Time to find me that tinfoil hat, again. 

The Copyright belongs to the photographer and the photoshot contract (as it is right now) is non-exclusive.

 

Ahhh i read it the otherway around  :P

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Hmmm... Now I remember why I dislike the legal profession so much.

 

Everybody hates lawyers . . . until they need one.

 

This thinking allows the real culprits too much leeway--if you or I engage a lawyer and they come up with an approach like this, you or I could instruct them (they are after all doing our bidding) to tone it down a bit, to not be so threatening, to be less of a bully etc etc.

 

It's not the lawyers who deserve the strongest censure here.

 

dd

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fotoDogue;  Back when I looked into PhotoShot they required an exclusive contract with most contributors. Not sure if you're permitted to license your own work directly

 

I have images with Photoshot via 2 other image suppliers that i know of,  not sure what kind of agreement was reached,  however if the images are not exclusive i would think that there is nothing to worry about,  i should also have been notified by the suppliers of my images to Photoshot if exclusive rites were granted.

 

In a nutshell i would think that there are a group of lawyers who are trying it on,  there is a lot of lawyer scams going on these days.

 

Paul.

Edited by Paul Mayall
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fotoDogue; Back when I looked into PhotoShot they required an exclusive contract with most contributors. Not sure if you're permitted to license your own work directly

I have images with Photoshot via 2 other image suppliers that i know of, not sure what kind of agreement was reached, however if the images are not exclusive i would think that there is nothing to worry about, i should also have been notified by the suppliers of my images to Photoshot if exclusive rites were granted.

 

In a nutshell i would think that there are a group of lawyers who are trying it on, there is a lot of lawyer scams going on these days.

 

Paul.

The e-mail quoted above was not from lawyers. It was signed by the CEO of the company.

 

Can you imagine the sort of processes and checks and balances that company must have to allow the owner of the image to receive such an obnoxious threat?

 

Worse still, can you imagine the damage this could do to your reputation / relationship with past / existing costumers (especially if you sell direct) if they received such a letter, ostensibly on your behalf?

 

Should I ever be in the market for such a service, I know one company I'll not ever bother looking at.

 

dd

Edited by dustydingo
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The e-mail quoted above was not from lawyers. It was signed by the CEO of the company.

You are rite dustydingo, it was not from a lawyer, i stand corrected.

 

The question now is where do we stand and are we all in danger of such letters from ImageProtect.

 

I would think that these threatening letters would only apply when a photographer has entered into exclusive contracts with suppliers or signed over his or her rights.

 

Sometime i wish we had a copyright legal eagle on the forum.

 

Paul.

Edited by Paul Mayall
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The e-mail quoted above was not from lawyers. It was signed by the CEO of the company.

You are rite dustydingo, it was not from a lawyer, i stand corrected.

 

The question now is where do we stand and are we all in danger of such letters from ImageProtect.

 

I would think that these threatening letters would only apply when a photographer has entered into exclusive contracts with suppliers or signed over his or her rights.

 

Sometime i wish we had a copyright legal eagle on the forum.

 

Paul.

 

 

No worries mate . . . remember you're speaking to a bloke who misspelled Eiffel in a recent search . . . and posted the result!!!

 

Seriously, if I received an e-mail like that, I honestly would tell them to get stuffed--and if I had a contract with them, I'd cancel it immediately . . . and then tell them to get stuffed again.

 

There are really well-run companies who deal in this trade, and I know for a fact the best would never, never question the actual photographer of the image in this manner. The best firms always check with the photographer first, to avoid such a stupid result--and if you're dealing with one that doesn't, change. There are some really well run ones out there--this ain't one of them.

 

dd

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Hmmm... Now I remember why I dislike the legal profession so much.

 

Everybody hates lawyers . . . until they need one.

 

 

 

True, and the same can be said for a number of other professions, most of them connected with the law in some way.

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As the copyright owner, Photoshot Holdings Ltd. 

apparently, based on this email; it belongs to them (Photoshot Holdings Ltd

 

Scary, very Scary.   

Time to find me that tinfoil hat, again. 

The Copyright belongs to the photographer and the photoshot contract (as it is right now) is non-exclusive.

 

That's my understanding of the oontract too.

In fact, I haven't actually signed a contract with Photoshot.

I placed images with Construction Photography.com, who photoshot took over.

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