Home Forums The Law Firm of Higbee & Associates Copyright Letter, Lawsuit and News Copyright Claim Against Our Non-Profit 501c3

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    Big Simon

    Our non-profit used two generic news photos about a hurricane on our blog about disaster preparedness. The blog was designed to educate people and I thought this would be 100% allowed a fair use. However, I have read a few articles that gave me doubts. Obviously, I don’t want to get us sued, but I don’t want to have my non-profit’s pants pulled down by paying $3,000 either.

    I need clarification. Can a non-profit use photos for free if the use is educational?

    If not, how do we get out of this?

    I would especially be interested to hear from other non-profit who have had tried fair use defense to copyright with Higbee & Associates.

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Editor.

    Fair use does not give non-profits a license to use anyone’s image for any purpose that is educational. Fair use is a four part analysis. The good news is the test is slightly more lenient in favor of use when the use is by a non-profit, but that is just one factor. Plenty of non-profits have been found liable for copyright infringement.

    This blog does a good job of addressing the issue: https://www.trademarkandcopyrightlawblog.com/2018/06/no-virginia-you-cant-just-copy-stuff-you-find-on-the-internet-even-if-you-dont-notice-the-copyright-notice/

    If there is any doubt, hire an attorney or settle the case. Higbee & Associates files lots of law suits and things only get more difficult once a lawsuit is filed.

    Big Simon

    Thank you for the reply. Our non-profit resolved the claim. The spouse of one of our board members is an attorney. He advised us to settle the claim as a judge would have most likely ruled that our use of the images were not covered by fair use of copyright. After a little back and forth, we settled for a little over half of what they were demanding.

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