Frequently Asked Questions
Why did I get a notice from PicRights?
As we explained in our letter, you’ve used one or more images owned or represented by one of our clients. Our client can find no record of a licence granted for your usage, so it appears that you’ve infringed our client’s copyright. Our client has instructed us to contact you to resolve the matter. Learn more
Do I need to talk to an IP solicitor?
We’re providing information on this website as an educational resource, but it doesn’t qualify as legal advice. We highly recommend you speak with a qualified IP solicitor if you have legal questions about the letter you got from us or about copyright in general. However, you’re not required to hire an IP solicitor in order to resolve a claim with one of our Copyright Compliance Agents.
What is a copyright?
Copyright is the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, use, distribute and display an original work of authorship, such as a photograph. This right is protected by treaties and the laws of the UK.
For more information, see:
- How copyright protects your work
- Copyright notice by Intellectual Property Office
- Copyright Hub
- UK legislation
- Intellectual property law
Is the problem solved if I remove the image?
No. While removing the image mitigates your liability, it doesn’t solve the problem. The use of copyrighted images requires proper licensing to cover any and all uses. Therefore, payment for past unauthorised use is required to resolve the matter completely.
What if I hired someone to create my website?
Under the UK Copyright Law (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), it doesn’t matter who designed your website or whether you intentionally committed copyright infringement. As the
What if I bought the image as part of a design template?
Under the UK Copyright Law (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), you’re ultimately responsible for ensuring that you have permission to use the image. If you purchased or acquired images from a subscription service or a website that provides templates, you’re still liable for copyright infringement if that company didn’t properly license the image for your use.
What if I didn’t know that the image had to be licensed?
Copyright infringement is referred to as a “strict liability” violation. This means that it doesn’t matter if you accidentally infringed someone’s copyright or didn’t know the image was copyright-protected and needed a licence. Your lack of knowledge doesn’t excuse or dismiss your unauthorised use, nor waive the fees you need to pay for your use of the image.
What if I found the image on the internet and there was no copyright notice or watermark?
Under the UK Copyright Law (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), the lack of a copyright notice or watermark doesn’t mean there’s no copyright protection. An image is protected by copyright from the moment it’s created, whether published or not, whether registered or not, and whether or not a copyright notice or watermark accompanies it. Just because an image is on the internet doesn’t mean it’s in the public domain, even if you found it through a search engine like Google. The term “public domain” is a narrowly defined exception to the UK Copyright Law (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) that deals specifically with works in which copyright has expired or where the copyright owner has made a clear declaration that the work is not subject to copyright.
What if I didn’t make any money from the image?
Making money from the use of an image is irrelevant when determining whether the use was an infringement. The copyright owner can recover damages even if you lost money when using the image without permission.
How are fees calculated?
Stock photos fees vary greatly depending on whether the image is royalty-free (RF) or rights-managed (RM).
What’s the difference between Rights-Managed (RM) and Royalty-Free (RF) images?
First of all, whether an image is licensed as RM or RF is entirely up to the copyright owner.
RM images are licensed for fees based on how an image will be used. Factors include the media in which an image appears, duration of use,
RF images are generally priced based on the file size of the image used. Rights are usually very broad, allowing uses in unlimited applications for an unlimited period at a fixed fee. Some licensing restrictions usually apply. There are big price differences between crowdsourced “microstock” collections (which PicRights doesn’t represent) and professional collections of RF images (which we do).