Fremont, CA asked in Copyright for New York

Q: Hi, I received a email saying that one of the images I used on my blog was copyrighted and I have to pay 1400

Hi, I received a email saying that one of the images I used on my blog was copyrighted and I have to pay 1400 to avoid legal action. But the email seems suspicious Am i obligated to pay? What legal action would I face if I ignored it ?

Here’s the email:

Please understand that as a copyright registration is not required unless my client were filing a case in federal court. Please see 17 U.S.C. § 408(a) which specifically states that “Such registration is not a condition of copyright protection.” Copyright protection exists automatically the moment a work is created. Neither publication, registration, nor other action is required to secure a copyright, and therefore copyright registration is not required to protect one’s copyright.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran PRO label
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • San Francisco, CA

A: These letters can be legit despite them sometimes looking like spam or a scam. You should have a photo infringement law firm look the letter over. Before we ever advise our clients to pay we like to look at the whole situation such as (1) who is sending the letter (2) do they have the legal rights (are they the copyright holder), (3) was the image registered with the United States Copyright Office ("USCO"), (4) do you have a defense such as a license, or a fair use, or was the image in the public domain?" Another common thing to look for is to see if the case is barred by the statute of limitations. These are very important factors. If the pursuit is legit, then there is the separate issue of negotiating a good settlement amount, and finally making sure the copyright release of claims is confidential and all parties are released (the company, officers, directors, employees, etc.). This is general legal information only. Don't forget, in July 2022 the Copyright "Small Claims Board" opens in Washington D.C. with claims up to 30k (not so small), so some of these cases that appear small, may be brought into the Claims Board. See you at the top!

1 user found this answer helpful

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