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Author Topic: PicRights.com  (Read 20766 times)

dthornton

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PicRights.com
« on: October 04, 2017, 05:01:19 PM »
Has anyone dealt with PicRights.com? We recently received a letter from them. It appears as though a copyrighted image appeared on our Newsletter which got posted to our 4 websites. It was taken down several months ago, but they have still just now have sent us 3 separate letters (1 with a reference to a different website) asking to pay $224 in each of the instances.

I've dealt with Getty earlier this year on a different instance (that is when I began checking through the website to make sure no other copyright images were unintentionally used on the website and took everything that was not our own work down), but I'm not familiar with PicRights.com. We ended up paying the Getty fee to get them to stop harassing us.

My question is: has anyone else dealt with PicRights.com? I am all for making sure the artist is compensated, but $224 per usage (on the same item) is a bit high for stock imagery--especially when similar images are $10-$15

Thanks


icepick

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2017, 08:35:48 AM »
Are you in the US? A quick scan of their website makes them look like an international operation without a US attorney, yet anyway. And if the copyright holder is in a different country, that usually makes court enforcement much more expensive and difficult for them due to the travel to come to court for the lawsuit like Higbee is finding with the Nick Youngson cases.

If you are in the US I don't believe they can file a suit unless and until the copyright is registered so I would check that out.

dthornton

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2017, 11:21:39 AM »
Yes, we are in the US. How can I check to see if the copyright is registered?

icepick

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2017, 11:41:55 AM »
This is one way http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First

They will usually let you know if it is registered as a way to try and make you think they are 'serious.' You can either demand to see the registration from them or laugh at them if they try to file a case without registering it.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2017, 01:29:58 PM »
a suit can be filed, regardless if the image in question is registered. Registering the copyright with the copyright office affords the creator with more options in regards to any monetary rewards.
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..

Da Guy

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2017, 07:25:02 PM »
I got a letter from them too via email and follow up letter mail. I never heard of PicRights.com until recently.  The Copyright Compliant officer is Geoff Beal (of Masterfile) acting on the behalf of Agence France Presse. Offices appear to be in Canada and Switzerland. They're demanding $720 for an image we unintentionally used on our blog 11 months ago. Similar images to license are between $12 to $15. I'm still a newbie on this site, but am quickly learning as I go through the forum and other related websites. Bottom line, it sucks! This is the first time we did not check whether the image was copyrighted or registered. It was definitely unmarked, but still not an excuse. However with that said, most companies would send out a cease and desist letter as a warning. I've done the same to small to big companies who borrowed some of my designs to sell on t-shirts without permission. For a little business guy without high paid lawyers, that was all I could do according to my legal attorney at that time. But the company did pull their clothing from the stores as soon as they got the cease and desist letter. The roles are now reversed here, but these copyright trolls have no mercy.     
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 09:02:44 PM by Tuna Guy »

dthornton

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 08:53:36 AM »
How do you plan to respond to them?

DavidVGoliath

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2017, 09:29:56 AM »
I've done the same to small to big companies who borrowed some of my designs to sell on t-shirts without permission. For a little business guy without high paid lawyers, that was all I could do according to my legal attorney at that time.


Going off topic here a bit, but that was spectacularly bad legal advice. I can only guess that your attorney wasn't an IP lawyer by trade and had little to no knowledge of how copyrights function in the real world. Your design wasn't "borrowed", it was stolen - and the fact that it was used in a for-profit endeavor would have weighed heavily in your favor.

But the company did pull their clothing from the stores as soon as they got the cease and desist letter.

... because, when notified of an infringement, if they don't C&D, they'd have been inviting very punitive actions if you had pressed them. A good IP attorney would have been able to weigh your case and, in a lot of instances, negotiate a good licensing arrangement out of it, or at least a modest to adequate settlement.

Never, ever think that because you're the "little guy" that copyright laws can't work in your favor when you've been ripped off by a "larger" entity.

Da Guy

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2017, 04:55:18 PM »
How do you plan to respond to them?

I have not decided whether to respond or not at the moment. I could ignore it and have them continue to harass me or pay them what they want or offer a fair market value number which they may reject, counter-offer or accept. I have only been notified once via email and hard copy. I'm sure there will be more to come if I choose to ignore it. 

Matthew Chan

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2017, 10:25:40 PM »
I am a little late to the party.  But from my online research, PicRights.com shares the street address as Masterfile:

3 Concorde Gate, 4th Floor
Toronto, ON, Canada M3C 3N7

The PicRights website claims that Masterfile, AFP, SciencePhotoLibrary, Loupe Images, Cephas Picture Library, PA Images, Aurora Photos, Jill Greenberg, CartoonStock, and the Associated Press are "clients".

It also lists this business address in Switzerland:

PicRights Europe GmbH
Albisstrasse 14
8134 Adliswil Switzerland

Given the fact that Masterfile has had their Toronto street address for many years, it appears to me that PicRights is leveraging Masterfile's prior and existing office and operations infrastructure for their copyright enforcement letters. It is unclear to me which was created first, PicRights Switzerland or PicRights Canada. Regardless, they appear to be working symbiotically with the Masterfile operation.

Along with PicRights.com, ArtistDefense.com also shares Masterfile's street address.

In addition to sharing the street address, what they have in common are the names of the worker bees like "Geoff Beal" who previously operated as "Geoffrey Beal" years ago.  A familiar name "Michael Hilsheimer" who I remember was with Masterfile years ago now works for PicRights.com.

Has anyone dealt with PicRights.com?

I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, epithets, & profanity. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Da Guy

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2017, 07:32:10 PM »
Well, I got my second email from Picrights. Basically the same letter with a revised date demanding the same amount. Still debating whether to ignore or respond. 

kingkendall

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2017, 01:48:18 PM »
@ Tuna Guy

Responding to them, in my opinion, is a big mistkae1  It tells them your scared and that's not what you want them thinking of you. 

Da Guy

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2017, 11:57:57 AM »
I hear you on that. That's why still haven't responded so far. However, I just got another email this morning from Picrights. It's essentially the same email / letter, but this time it's from Dan Pollack, General Counsel, stating: "Unless you contact us within 14 days, we will withdraw our proposal to resolve this claim and we may refer this matter may be referred to outside legal counsel to pursue other options." It wasn't written well.  So, I guess this guy is probably Geoff Beal's boss?  Pollack is apparently a lawyer who works for MF as well. Anyone, received similar email / letters from this him?

Matthew Chan

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2017, 01:28:21 AM »
One can respond to show that they are not afraid to acknowledge and confront the issue.  And one can be very firm and state their position. As a a general rule, I prefer to respond and state my position and back the hell out of it. But that is simply a personal choice. I don't like being accused of not attempting a resolution.  If there is no agreement, one can simply go back into the cave and sit it out.

Again, this is not necessarily advice. The only point I am making is that responding does not automatically equal being fearful or cowering. Sometimes, it is simply a statement of respect and confidence.

So much of of HOW people respond comes down to people's individual personalities. For some, going dark is the easiest, best solution. It is efficient and saves time.  But the downside of that is there is no closure for 3 years.  People have to pick their poison.


@ Tuna Guy

Responding to them, in my opinion, is a big mistkae1  It tells them your scared and that's not what you want them thinking of you.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, epithets, & profanity. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

jahir3819

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Re: PicRights.com
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2018, 10:08:47 PM »
I am wondering whether you have got any response after this.

 

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