Click Official ELI Links
Get Help With Your Extortion Letter | ELI Phone Support | ELI Legal Representation Program
Show your support of the ELI website & ELI Forums through a PayPal Contribution. Thank you for supporting the ongoing fight and reporting of Extortion Settlement Demand Letters.

Author Topic: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For  (Read 3783 times)

halfacat

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Hi All,

We received a letter from the Law Office of Carolyn E. Wright LLC RE: Corbis Corporation's Copyright Infringement Claim with a photo of two offending images. This came as a shock to us as we paid our former web designer thousands of dollars to build and publish our website with a number of stock photo images on it.

When we reached out to the designer regarding the images and this was his response:
"these images were originally used in as placeholders for the purposes of presentation of complete a work. We have talked about needing to eventually purchase these images.

I was under the impression that this may have taken place way back, I vaguely remember talking about it, second time around when we were placing all the small images on the category pages and we were re-watermarking it.

I'm so sorry for the trouble, we can help to take it off or replace it with some new ones, that you select. Please let me know, we help however we can."

Was it wrong of us to assume that the designer would be handling all copyright permissions when we hired him to build a website for us?

We have ordered the Corbis letter from Oscar and are in the process of removing all of the images. Is there anything else we should be aware of doing?

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

  • ELI Defense Team Member
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3354
    • View Profile
    • ExtortionLetterInfo
Re: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 04:06:51 PM »
other than making sure you have a license for any and all other images used..you should be in good shape...I knew it was only a matter of time before one of those copyright trolls at Carolyn Wrights office would raise thier ugly heads...which copyright collection clerk did the letter come from??
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 682
    • View Profile
    • Motion City
Re: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 05:00:37 PM »
I think if the designer told you that you were going to have to replace the FPO (for placement only) images with licensed images, you can't really hold them responsible. If there was a line-item in the bid for stock photography or they explicitly stated they were providing images it may be a different story.

It doesn't matter to the troll anyways. They go after the company that is displaying the image.
Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

stinger

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 766
    • View Profile
Re: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 05:42:15 PM »
They will go after any company where they think they might get paid!

Couch_Potato

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 152
    • View Profile
Re: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2012, 05:36:08 AM »
Regardless of where blame lies I do find it incredible a web design company charging those sorts of sums would allow a site to go live with images they know violate copyright.

Surely they would have arranged the hosting too and would have therefore known the site was going live with those images?

Lettered

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 256
    • View Profile
Re: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2012, 07:38:03 AM »
I kind of have to respectfully disagree with some of the views expressed on blame in this case.  People hire these web designers because they have no idea how to get a website up and running.  I think the designer has the responsibility (at least ethically) to make sure that the customer is fully aware of any licensing issues associated with their product.

For example, I don't think we generally expect customers to retrace auto mechanic's work, verifying serial numbers of parts used to make sure they aren't stolen.  In my mind, there is little difference in principle.

Of course, that is only the morality and ethics view.  Legally, it seems that the customer is left on the hook in many of these cases.

Bottom line is that I would be looking at ways to try to place the responsibility for this mess squarely back on the web designer if I could.  I really doubt that anyone with a web design business like this would want these sorts of complaints about their company documented on review websites.

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 682
    • View Profile
    • Motion City
Re: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2012, 12:22:55 PM »
Now it's my turn to disagree.

If the web designer said, "We have talked about needing to eventually purchase these images" and that conversation took place, I'm not sure how much blame you can place on them.  Of course there are a lot of unknowns. Were they also the ones to put the site live? Did they really bring it up twice?

Their choice to use "rights managed" stock images was horrible. There are plenty of great, public domain, creative commons, or even microstock images available.

But I don't think all the facts are in and at this stage it's hard for me to see how they are 100% responsible if they repeatedly said you need to get the licensed images.

That's not to say I think they should be left off the hook completely. They should have offered to chip in or pay for Oscar's letter program. But if they said a couple times, "These images are for placement and you need to license them before you go live" I can't see them being on the hook.
Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

  • ELI Defense Team Member
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1859
    • View Profile
    • Yeah, We Do That.
Re: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2012, 04:36:11 PM »
I tend to agree with Jerry on this.  I run a remodeling business and my estimates look like small books sometimes as I have learned that you have to spell out exactly what you are doing, what you are not don't, what materials you are providing and what the customer must provide or  I find that so many things are discussed the customer can't always remember everything.  No fault of the customer as you are often explaining things they don't fully understand and covering a lot of information, I do however think that it would help if the web designer notes this on the estimate/invoice.  I have learned to do this from experience and found that a little CYA goes a long way.
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy

Moe Hacken

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 465
  • We have not yet begun to hack
    • View Profile
Re: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 12:24:40 PM »
I lean towards Jerry's and Greg's position. The graphic designer is the professional being hired to do the work and as such, they bear the onus of ensuring the work meets legal standards as well as other professional standards, such as requirements of the ADA.

The one thing I make clear to my clients is that I strongly recommend they proofread my work or hire someone to do it. While I always make the best effort to avoid spelling and grammatical errors, it is usually very difficult to catch one's own mistakes.
I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees

Oscar Michelen

  • ELI Legal Warrior
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1301
    • View Profile
    • Courtroom Strategy
Re: Corbis Infringement Claim on Images that Former Designer Never Paid For
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 07:49:25 PM »
It all depends on what was said between the designer and the client.  If the conversation went as Jerry set forth, he is right - the designer would have no liability as he warned the user that a purchase needs to be made. But if the designer put up the images for the customer and forgot to pay for them or never discussed licensure with the user, then the user is still responsible to the copyright holder but he could get indemnification from the designer.

 

Sitemap 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
Official ELI Help Options
Get Help With Your Extortion Letter | ELI Phone Support Call | ELI Defense Letter Program
Show your support of the ELI website & ELI Forums through a PayPal Contribution. Thank you for supporting the ongoing fight and reporting of Extortion Settlement Demand Letters.