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Stock Photos

WRWPA believes the use of the above photo constitutes a “fair use” of copyrighted material consistent with the provisions for fair use under 17 U.S.C § 107 (limitations on exclusive rights).
*WRWPA believes the use of the above photo constitutes a “fair use” of copyrighted material consistent with the provisions for fair use under 17 U.S.C § 107 (limitations on exclusive rights).*

Copyright Infringement of Stock Photos

If you received a cease and desist demand or demand for payment for alleged copyright

Corbis, and Masterfile. Other times these demand letters are sent by so-called “copyright trolls,” as part of an alleged scheme to monetize intellectual property ownership. The purveyors of such demands may allege the stock photography or stock image owner’s right to claim up to $150,000 in statutory damages for willful infringement, followed by an offer to settle for $500 per photo. The proposed settlement offers are purposefully targeted to be a little more than what the website owner, website designer or blogger would pay an attorney to defend against the infringement claim. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THIS TACTIC. There are many good copyright lawyers who defend against cease and desist demand letters and DMCA takedown notices for a reduced fee.Copyright infringement demand letters are used to inform the recipient that they have alleged to have committed copyright infringement for using stock photos that subject the website owner or blogger to liability for damages to the copyright owner. Often these letters are sent by owners of huge photography catalogs, such as Getty Images,

The copyright trolls’ demand letters tend to invoke the recipient’s fear of future legal proceedings. While your actions may technically constitute copyright infringement of stock photography or stock images, not every use of copyright protected material is subject to a lawsuit. We recommend that you consult with an attorney of your choice to guide you through this legal process and not rely solely on your Internet research.

Copyright law is complex. Further, most lawyers are also trained negotiators. In the event you chose to settle, it is likely that the attorney will negotiate a better settlement on your behalf than you would on your own. A competent lawyer may save you more money than it costs you in attorney’s fees. THAT IS OUR GOAL AT WILLIAM R. WOHLSIFER, PA.

Our attorney fees for stock photos and stock images defense cases are much lower than they ordinarily would be for cases of this kind. The reduced fee is available for two reasons: First, it is based on the actual perceived amount in controversy; second, in some instances we are able to work with existing work product, which offsets our expense by representing similarly situated unrelated individuals.


*WRWPA purchased a use right from for the celebrity’s photograph and branded sunglasses.’s License Agreement includes the following statement: “A STANDARD IMAGE LICENSE grants you the right to use Images: 1. As a digital reproduction, including on websites, in online advertising, in social media, in mobile advertising, mobile “apps”, software, e-cards, e-publications (e-books, e-magazines, blogs, etc.), and in online media ….” This statement could lead one to conclude that commercial use on a website is permissible upon payment of the purchase price. However, other provisions in their License Agreement and on website indicate a contrary conclusion. Thus, further inquiry is required before including potentially protected material on your business’ website even if you purchased access to the material. A simple search will show random examples of this photo or substantially similar photographs taken at the same time and place being published at; and; and ; and elsewhere. However, multiple use, whether authorized or unauthorized, of protected media does not necessarily create an implied waiver for additional use. Nor would a copyright owner’s lack of enforcement against identified unauthorized use necessarily create an implied waiver against future enforcement of a true owner’s exclusive rights. Even if this photo was taken by a passerby while the actor was in a public place, such facts do not necessarily permit another’s use of the material, as copyright of the image may belong to the photographer. A simple rule to live by: When there is reasonable doubt about whether you may legally reproduce an image, footage, or sound recording, permission is probably needed.

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