The notification was from PicRights.com a company that claims to represent Agence-France. Some web sites say this is a scam. What can they do if I just ignore this. I removed the president's pix from my website.
Respond to: [email protected]
Unless you took the photo (in which case you would own the copyright) you have almost certainly infringed on the copyright of another. Agence France Presse is a real (big) organization. The fact that you found on the internet, downloaded it, and used it means nothing. This is no scam but a demand by a real big news agency.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts...
I have no idea if this is a scam, if might be, but if you use an image on your site that you otherwise had no right to use and were contacted by Agence I would not assume that it is a scam.
You are of course free to ignore this and actually filing claims for the use of one image on one website would be rare, but we don't have enough facts here to opine.
Before you commit to anything, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Legal, LLC on the basis of this posting.
Don't ignore it. As correctly pointed out above, it appears you admit copying the image, so you have problems. Statutory damages are $750 to $30,000. Without knowing more, no one here can determine if it is a scam, or if they writer legitimately represents Agence France Presse but ignoring it is a way to get sued and pay way more.
This answer is written to explain situations which may come up involving intellectual property law issues. It does not give specific legal advice about specific fact situations. If you have a specific fact situation in mind you should ask for professional legal advice about the relevant facts. Seemingly minor changes in facts may change a legal opinion dramatically. Space here does not permit an explanation of all the variables in complex legal areas. Dave Brezina is an Illinois lawyer and his profession is regulated under the authority of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Although he represents clients nationally and internationally, his law practice is performed in Illinois and is not subject to regulation by other states. Dave Brezina is also a Registered Patent Attorney and a patent practice is regulated by the US Patent and Trademark Office a Federal agency and is not subject to regulation by the states. The firm, Ladas & Parry, LLP, has attorneys admitted and offices in at least Illinois, New York and California. Finally, do not post confidential information. There is no an attorney client relationship created simply by correspondence or communication with the author of this site.
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