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Simon Muirhead and Burton demand on behalf of Getty

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So it seems we have been escalated to these good people from the debt collectors. The letter runs to several pages quoting case law and ends up with asking us for £420 plus £100 legal fees. Given the original demand was for £600 I suppose this is a result!

Anyone else been chased and how serious should I take it. Looks pretty threatening. Usual methods 7 days to pay otherwise proceedings may be taken.

The letter is signed off by a trainee solicitor who is a real person as she is profiled on their website.

Case law quoted

Alec Saville v Redrup Publications

John Walmsley v education Ltd

Henderson v all around the world recordings

We cannot argue we did not use the image as we did but it was up for less than a week when we realised the mistake but these cases seem horror stories designed to scare the xxxx out of you.

Any views?

the letter, by the way, runs to 21 pages :-X

Educate yourself on this web site.  Lots of people have been through what you are going through.  Get familiar.  Decide whether you want to fight or pay.  In the U.S., the law firm that came after me (mis) quoted lots of case law too.  I didn't want to pay the $50,000 that they wanted for forty some violations.  I didn't.  Only you can decide for yourself.  But get educated first.

Have you responded to them in anyway? Do they have your real name and some sort of idea if you are ready to settle....

As to the 3 cases they have quoted...... Firstly they have not brought any of the cases. I would have thought to have full frighteners effect, from their point of view it would be most beneficial if they were mentioned as the 'claimant'.

Alec Saville v Redrup Publications

--- Quote --- A COMPANY boss went out of business after landing a huge bill for breaching copyrights belonging to a firm he once owned.

Jon Redrup put Redrup Publications into voluntary liquidation after a judge ordered his company to pay over £55,000 with the threat of an even bigger payout looming.

The judge ruled in the High Court that Mr Redrup reproduced large chunks of training manuals for care home staff from publications produced by Norton Fitzwarren-based Redcrier Publications, which he owned before selling it to Alec Seville.

Mr Recorder Alastair Wilson QC ordered Redrup Publications to make interim payments totalling £37,450 to Mr Seville and Redcrier for breaching the copyright with £18,029.25 towards their costs.
--- End quote ---

My bold. Yours is a single image infringement, this chap clearly took large amounts of material in breach and tried to fight the case.

Not really applicable to your case except in that case law applies and we already knew that.

John Walmsley v education Ltd
Full Judgement here.

Original claim was for £2468 plus costs for two images dated from 1968. Defendant admitted using them out of copyright. Appears 2 photo's were photocopied from a ladybird book, digitized and then placed on the internet, defendant downloaded them from a google images search but they were clearly a photograph of a print publication.

Claimant tried to claim breach of moral rights (which it appeared made up the bulk of the claim) which the judge dismisses at section 17, calling the actions of the defendant naive in believing anything found on google images was fair game.

--- Quote ---17 Having said that, I do not think this is a flagrant breach for which it is appropriate for me to
order further damages for the following reasons. First, I do not think the Defendant's actions
show the element of intent or wilful negligence that is envisaged by the word “flagrant”. As I have
said, I think its actions and those of the employee were naive and possibly one might be unkind
enough to say pretty stupid, but I accept Ms Roberts' submissions that there was nothing more
than that and there is no other evidence to point to flagrancy. Secondly, the purpose of an award
of damages for copyright infringement is to compensate the copyright holder and put him in the
position that he would have been in but for the breach of his rights. The Claimant here is in the
business of creating photographs and selling licence fees in them and the Defendant's actions
have not, as far as I can judge, caused them to benefit from any financial windfall nor for the
Claimant's business to suffer more than in the normal course – the Defendant is not a competing
business for example. In saying that I bear in mind that the Defendant's publication of the images
was on a blog aimed at their students and not on their main commercial website. For those
reasons, I am not going to award further damages by way of an additional uplift on the licence
fee or otherwise and I consider the damages that I have already arrived at sufficient to
compensate the Claimant for the infringement suffered.
--- End quote ---

Judge did find for the claimant and awarded £1000 + vat + costs (as he did not specifically mention or award costs liability) it is reasonable to assume that each side bore their own costs.

Accidental use of a print publication image which the judge found as a strong mitigating factor.

Henderson v all around the world recordings

This case applies to song lyrics and loss of royalties so what it has to do with your case is anyone's guess.

Another case I came across whilst researching the cases quoted in your letter.

Is between a loft insulation firm and a home improvements undertaking. Concerns 21 photographs. The judge found that use of the 21 photo's was flagrant (a deliberate attempt to circumvent copyright) and awarded £6,000.00 (quite hefty damages) But:

1. No attempt to remove them was made prior to the claimants 'letter before action'.
2. Case revolved around deliberate use and it was clear that the defendant's company had won work and expanded his business off the back of the use of the photographs.

Judge awarded damages on the basis of these two points which almost certainly do not apply to your case.

To summarize.

1. None of these cases were brought by Getty or LCS.
2. They all appear to have been brought by the original holders of the copyright under dispute.

In the UK only copyright holders or those 'holding an exclusive copyright licence, called the exclusive licensee'. Does Getty or LCS or whatever else they are calling themselves this week hold this exclusive licence in the image (yours) in question. If they do not they cannot bring action against you.

See this valuable resource published by UK citizens Advice.

Doesn't stop them sending 'phishing' letters' though. If only one in twenty pay up it's still a result for them.

End of the day it is your call. As has been said by @Stinger in the post before this one the more information at your fingertips the more informed you will be.

I am at the very early process of this I only got an email last week alleging infringement of one PA image which I immediately took down. I made no contact with them nor do I intend to do so. I expect I will also get a letter some time next week but am right at the start of the process.

Some years ago I was caught 3 miles over the speed limit by a LTI20/20 argued the toss on a point of law (which at that time was still to be settled at the EctHR). Was convicted of speeding at the magistrates court and fined £120 with 3 points. Appealed the case (on the point of law) up to the High Court in London.
It was at that time I got used to reading court judgements and appreciating what was reasonable behaviour on all sides. I (and a lot of others) eventually lost the case as per the EctHR ruling and thought I was going to get clobbered by costs. It turned out that as I had researched my case and had laid a coherent written argument the learned judges waived any costs liable on my part. All in all the case cost me £120 and 3 penalty points but the experience I gained of the UK legal system was invaluable, plus the fact I learned to drive a tad slower.

Bottom line is yes someone has a case and can probably sue you for damages.

That may not be Getty/LCS though.

Your infringement may be so small time so as not to waste the Courts time. There exists such a thing in UK law of malicious intent in court proceedings. If for example someone was to chase you for a single image with a licensing value of say £99.00 for many thousands of pounds damages, I suspect a judge would take a pretty dim view of it and call it malicious. Particularly if at the end of the day you are able to convince the judge the breach was naive and purely accidental.

As I say mate at the end of the day it is your call. We are all here to support each other.....


Thank you for this response it is really appreciated. Still seem to have the good folk of Atradius after us as well so maybe have some fun with both of them. The solicitors want £420 plus£100 legal costs. Atradius want £600.

That's interesting.

On what basis does the solicitor come to the conclusion you owe them? You have not instructed them. Seems to me they want part of the  extortion action.

Can you quote verbatim exactly how they have requested this fee (redacting personal stuff of course). Perhaps there is scope for a complaint to the Law society... Was it addressed to you personally?

Edit to add. This may be of some use and clarify the position. Although of course in no way should these sums being extorted be regarded as debts.

--- Quote ---Communication
what the FCA says
"A firm must...communicate a way which is clear, fair and not misleading."

Principle 7, Principles for Businesses
This includes:

sending letters that look like court claims;
not making it clear who the company is or what their role is;
using unhelpful legal language;
not giving balance statements about the debt when asked;
not letting you know the outcome if you have disputed or queried the debt;
contacting you at unreasonable times even when asked not to; and
asking you to contact them on premium rate phone numbers.
--- End quote ---


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