PicRights LTD Copyright Letters Making Noise In The US


PicRights LTD has recently come on as one of the most active enforcers of copyright for photos.   They operate out of Canada but appear to send a large volume of copyright enforcement emails to the US in effort to collect payments for their clients.  


They do not own the copyrights and they are not a law firm.    They, like ImageRights, CopyTrack, CopyPants, and Pixsy seem to be operating as a form of license enforcement agent— all of which, except ImageRights, operate from outside the US.   PicRights is making more noise than the others in this group, probably a result of the large size of their clients and number of claims they pursue, which based on information from letters and complaints on other forums, include:  The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, StockFood America and many others very large photo agencies.




Their copyright enforcement efforts seem to be purely by email and to be very scripted.   They send unsuspecting users of photos notices via email along with instructions on how to pay online with a credit card.    The email also contains screenshots showing their client’s original image with the purported infringing use. Many of their claims involve images that have not been registered with the US Copyright office.   While registration is not required for them to enforce the rights, the copyright owner will need to register the image before actually bringing a lawsuit in the US.


PicRights is also not a law firm.  So, they cannot sue you. However, they refer claims to law firms.    Higbee & Associates seems to be the main step-up for claims that PicRights do not settle.   




PicRights is a real company based in Canada.  They have very big clients. They work with real law firms.    They are members of respected organizations such as the US based Digital Media Licensing Association (http://www.digitalmedialicensing.org/memberdirectory.shtml) and the EU based CEPIC (http://cepic.org/member/directory).    By all objective standards, PicRights is a legitimate company.    


That does not mean everything thing they do is legitimate.  There have been a couple of complaints on other forums from people who claim to have received demand letters for images that they properly licensed or for images that did not actually match the image they used on their website.   Their approach to fighting copyright infringement might be unsavory (or at sometimes sloppy), but PicRights is not a scam.




Start by doing the obvious.  Make sure you actually used the image they claimed you used.   If you did, then see if you have a license to use it. If you have a license that covers the type of use, let them know.  If you think you bought a license and cannot find records of the purchase, contact the licensing agent for the photo and have them check to see if you or your web developer purchased a license.


If not, consider a fair use defense.  If you used the picture in a way that provides commentary, criticism or news about the photo, it may be fair use.  About the photo means about the photo itself, and not the subject matter of the photo. Read more about fair use at: https://www.lib.umn.edu/copyright/fairuse


Check to see if the image is in the public domain.  If the image was published prior to 1978 without copyright notices, it could have become public domain, which means not enforcement action can be brought based on a copyright violation.




Like many business decisions, there is no perfect answer to this question.  The path you choose will come down to your risk tolerance. Here are some options:


Ignore It And Hope It Goes Away –    Pros:  This may result in you paying nothing.  Cons:  Knowing there is a potential claim that could escalate into something more serous can be stressful.   Copyright claims can last for 3 years or more.   You could end up paying way more to settle it in court, not to mention the cost of hiring an attorney.


Pay And Move On –  Pros:  Quickly puts the matter behind you without the stress of negotiating.   Eliminates the risk of the claim escalating and getting more expensive. Cons:  Costs you the full amount they are demanding.  


Negotiate for A Lower Payment – Pros:  If they accept a lower offer, you save money and get the security and peace-of-mind of knowing the matter is behind you.  Cons:  You are paying money.  Requires negotiating, which some people find stressful.


Should You Hire An Attorney to Assist with A PicRights Claim?


Most of the PicRights claims we have seen are for amounts that are far less than it would cost to hire an attorney.   However, if the dollar amount they are requesting is substantial enough or if there are discrete issues, such as you believe it is not an infringement, you may wish to hire an attorney.     The amount of bad information that can be found on blogs and user forums is substantial, so make sure to only take advice from licensed attorneys.


If you have questions, comments or information about PicRights that you think others will find useful, post them below.


The Following Are or Were Known Clients of PicRights LTD


  • Agence France-Presse
  • The Associated Press
  • Aurora Photos
  • Design Pics Inc.
  • Warren Photographic
  • Science Source
  • Science Photo Library
  • CartoonStock Ltd
  • StockFood America

Please let us know if you discover others that should be added to the PicRights client list.


92 thoughts on “PicRights LTD Copyright Letters Making Noise In The US”

  1. First it was PicRights, now I am getting pursued by Higbee and Agence France Presse for the use of a photo of Obama that I found on Google. They are asking $2,200. Does not seem right to have to pay for a photo if it is of a politician and it is on Google. Thankfully, my neighbor is a lawyer.

    1. It appears that Higbee & Associates is the main recipient of claims that get escalated from PicRights. Google does warn that images in its search results may be protected by copyright, but you would not be the first person to make that mistake. Hopefully, your neighbor is experienced with copyright law and knows how to negotiate these claims. Make sure he or she knows that $2,200 is an opening offer and there is almost always room to counter, especially early on in the process and if you have some sort of defense.

  2. Trying to charge people hundreds of dollars for images that can be grabbed for free on the internet seems to be quite a scam. The fact that judges and the law allows this is crazy. People should get a warning or some notice. Even the Nigerian email scams give you some clue that by saying they are from Nigeria. It does not make sense for me to hire an attorney. Do they take payment plans?

  3. I received a letter from them because I used a picture I found online that they say belongs to AGence France Presse. I immediately removed the photo but I have not answered PicRights email. Was it a mistake to remove the photo because now they know I saw the email they sent.

  4. CTownCH – I did the same thing and took the pic down immediately. I have received another email and a letter that arrived from Wichita, KS (still PicRights) since then. Trying to decide next steps…keep ignoring or negotiate. I’m a small business and no one even saw the blog post I accidentally used the AFP pic on. What are you going to do?

  5. I have read comments on other sites that lead me to think that Agence France Presse does not pursue blogs unless they are a business or “commercial”. Was your blog personal or commercial? If the latter, you may want to let PicRights know.

  6. The position I am at is if you wait long enough they will send you to Higbee(Law Firm) and the link PicRights (Geoff Beal) will then show a legal surcharge of $700+. I was able to talk them down from $158 to $148, which made it seem suspect that they can do that so I never answered them after demanding documentation which looks like someone just scanned a signature from AFP and put it on the forms. I just received something in the mail from Higbee, but have not opened it.

    1. I am confused. What was $700 and what was $148? I imagine the amount Higbee that Higbee is asking is significantly more. I am very curious to hear what the new demand amount is.

  7. How do you say PicRights is not a scam when they are asking me to pay $950 for an image that I could have paid $50 to use? That seems like the definition of a scam. BTW, this is the second time PicRights has tried to hit me up in 3 years.

  8. Like the article said, one can dislike their practice of demanding that someone pay more for a picture after they get caught using it without a license, but charging more when someone does it wrong is a common practice in many industries, and the courts encourage it. The definition of a scam is a “dishonest scheme or fraud.” If you have evidence of them doing anything dishonest or fraudulent, we would love to see it.

    What happened the first time they hit you up?

  9. It seems like fraud to me (even if not provably so) because the request for compensation is implying that the courts would likely award a higher amount in damages, when in most cases there are no actual damages to the copyright holder, no profits realized by the infringer, and the work is not registered with the US Copyright Office and thus not eligible for statutory damages.


  10. @Katie. There are always some damages if the copyright holder charges for a license and the user does not pay for the license, because at a minimum, the copyright holder lost out of payment. The conflict usually comes down to the amount of damages, and, as you pointed out, whether or not statutory damages are available. Sometimes unregistered photos can be eligible for statutory damages under section 1202 if the user changes or removes authorship information. The user’s lack of profits may help the user as it might make it less likely that PicRights will want to take the claim to court.

  11. My understanding was that images lifted from the web could be used for educational purposes, i.e., an academic using the image in a lecture or in a lecture given for a non-profit organization. Is this not true?

  12. While the law does allow some uses for educational purposes under Fair Use, it is not as simple as being able to “lift” any image and attach it to something educational. The image must be the subject of the education, not simply illustrative of it. Simply put, if any other photo of the subject would have worked, it is probably not fair use and probably a violation of US copyright law.

  13. Picrights is claiming I need to pay $6900 for photos I used in a news brief for commentary, back in 2016, and those pics were made invisible for over 2 years so do not even appear on the siteI Can I just reply to them saying those pics were originally used for Fair Use and were taken down over 2 years ago and I never made any money from my news brief?

    1. Yes, you can claim fair use, but fair use is much narrower than it sounds. If you think the use is fair use because it is news reporting, the photos themselves (not the action in the photo) must be news. Regardless, PicRights might not know the difference. They are not a law firm.

  14. I am in the same boat as folks above. The last letter I received gave me 2 weeks to respond or they would escalate to an attorney. Again, it is France Presse. They want $700 and I am a small start-up business with a weekly blog that is mostly personal, just to drive traffic to the business website. $700 is a lot of advertising money for me and funds I don’t have as the business is still a TAX DEDUCTION and in NO WAY profitable. Not sure what to do but based on what I am reading here, I guess I had better negotiate it down as best I can? So frustrating and it really does feel like a scam…

  15. Pic Rights are contacting me regarding an image of my father I had posted on my blog when he and his cast mates won an Emmy several years ago. He would be furious to know that anyone is trying to make money off of an image of him. There’s been no license given to Pic Rights by the subjects in the image. Surely a red carpet shot is expected to be used for editorial?

    1. Yes, a photo on the Red Carpet is expected to be used for editorial. However, that does not mean the photographer does not need to be compensated for using the photo or that it cannot be copyrighted. You might have a problem on your hands. Congrats to your father, he sounds cool. 🙂

  16. Yes, you can claim fair use, but fair use is much narrower than it sounds. If you think the use is fair use because it is news reporting, the photos themselves (not the action in the photo) must be news. Regardless, PicRights might not know the difference. They are not a law firm.

  17. @Petra Yes, you can claim fair use, but fair use is much narrower than it sounds. If you think the use is fair use because it is news reporting, the photos themselves (not the action in the photo) must be news. Regardless, PicRights might not know the difference. They are not a law firm.

  18. i had a letter last year, unknown to me of any infringement, was a picture sent in 2007
    we took picture down immediately
    we now have a letter from a so called solicitor
    demanding £1500
    we bough picture from getty recently for £150
    this is extort money over the actual value
    what should i do

    1. Options might include:
      1. Make them an offer to settle (safe, small cost)
      2. Ignore them and hope they go away (some risk, could go well or become very costly)
      3. Hire your own solicitor to properly advise you on the matter (safe, but will get costly)

    1. PicRights is not a law firm or the copyright holder. So don’t expect them to sue you. That problem might arise if the matter gets escalated by the copyright holder to a law firm. Is your business in the US?

  19. I had been receiving monthly emails and letters for about 6 months for two pictures that had been shown on TV and on our family web page. The emails and letters demanded $750. These emails and letters came from the well known address in Canada. I ignored all of these. Then, one day I got a large envelope from a law office in California. On that same day, I also got a phone call from a “law office” in California.
    I told the person on the phone that I had received the pictures from the person in the pictures, and that the web page was a family site, not a corporation, and that we had zero money.
    The person on the phone said he would give those facts to his client, and hung up.
    I have not heard from them in 4 months.

  20. I am going through all this same stuff; PicRights contacted me about a tiny image I used from a Google Images search, that I used in another image as a title for a page on my personal portfolio website. I ignored them and they sent it to Higbee’s who are now relentlessly trying to ruin my life. I am 44: single, made $9.75 an hour before I lost my job due to COVID-19. I live in employer provided housing (grown-up dorms) and drive my parents old car. I told the law firm this, and that my website was absolutely not making money. They said I was “advertising my work”, and I should make an offer to show good faith. I said $50, not a penny more for anything, fees, charges etc. They “respectfully declined”, and graciously offered me $1000. I said I would have to consult a lawyer. They said, “You can barely even afford to pay $50, how are you going to pay for a lawyer?” CLASSY, huh!!?? A very professional display of our legal system’s grace and humility. I don’t know what to do, and it is causing me so much stress I am making myself physically ill. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about right now.

  21. I just got a letter from PicRights claiming they are representing Reuters. I am Christian blogger and neither image was used for commercial purposes. One image I have a link to the Creative Commons license noted in my blog post. The other one I thought fell under fair use. They are asking for $1100

  22. I received an email from PicRights a few days ago stating that I used their client’s photos and if I had a license ,I needed to present it.

    They sent a screenshot claiming this was posted to my site in 2019. Here’s the thing, it was not. I didn’t have a blog then, I’m now building it.

    I did find the post they claimed I posted to my website, and it is two different posts that seem to be pasted together with these pictures added to the top.

    I am a new company, and hiring an attorney is not possible at this time.

    Any ideas on what I can do.

    1. Options might include:
      1. Make them an offer to settle (safe, small cost)
      2. Ignore them and hope they go away (some risk, could go well or become very costly)
      3. Hire your own attorney to properly advise you on the matter (safe, but may get costly)F

  23. The way they aggressively demanded payment of hundreds of dollars out of the blue smelled a little scammy to me. I tried to figure out what it was even for, having no clue. A thumbnail image of a tessellation that I labeled was available on a supposedly free site. I used it to define the word to my students via closed internet group instruction during this coronavirus pandemic. I just can’t believe how they are being about this.

    1. I have heard from other users that they tend to be more inclined to negotiate with non-profits, schools etc. You can consider starting with a low offer and see where it goes. You might also want to have an attorney evaluate your claim and see if there are any valid defenses.

  24. Options might include:
    1. Make them an offer to settle (safe, small cost)
    2. Ignore them and hope they go away (some risk, could go well or become very costly)
    3. Hire your own attorney to properly advise you on the matter (safe, but may get costly)

  25. The editor on this page does in fact sound like he is in deed from oicright himself. His frogs are always in the side of oicrighys and always has a subtitle scare thrown in it to persuade the posters in here to pay up. I say someone should investigate this blog just to bring suit against someone giving construed and desptive advice

    1. If you have better advice or insight, feel free to add comments. My advice is always the same, contact an attorney and make a smart business decision. The reality is that most people who are posting here have a serious legal problem, sometimes there are defenses (license, fair use, etc), but in most cases, the best option to contact an attorney and that often results in the decision to minimize risk by negotiating a settlement.

  26. This is nothing but extortion. An image that could be purchased for $50 gets used and they want thousands or they are going to sue.

    We have a salon with a blog and sometimes comment on hair cuts we see online. We happened to comment on the Royal family and clipped a news photo.

    Now they want more money than we make in a month for the use of a photo that was probably seen by 10 people.

    It’s not right.

    1. Call it what you want, the practice of asking someone who infringes a copyright to pay more than the licensing fee is authorized by federal law and is even encouraged by case law. I am not sure what you mean by clipped, but if your comment was about the actual photo as opposed to the about the royal family, it might be protected by fair use. You should consult an attorney.

  27. Early this morning I received an email from PicRights claiming they represent Reuters. They’re requesting $350 for an image that we enhanced/altered for site consistency and recognition purposes. We are a US-based sports business & have countless enhanced images on our site, though the one in question was of international likeness, dissimilar to the other NBA-specific images we use.

    I’m under the impression that PicRights has scanned our entire site for these images? It’s rather absurd they were able to locate the image in question given it had been significantly altered.

  28. Update on my previous message: We replied asking what their prices were for future use, and we received a reply with an unwarranted 20% reduction on their original request of $350 (so $280 now). We have until 6/25 to respond according to them.

  29. Hi, I am from Brazil and I have a literary Blog with absolutely no money envolved and very low views and visitors. Last week Pic Righst sent me an email asking a big amount of money for one photo of AFP and this week they sent a new email with more 4 photos. Last week I puted down all the photos of my Blog in order to check everyone and use photos only from Unslash com. I am bvery surprised and confuse because I never made money withthat, I am jobless in the moment trying hardly to survive the pandemie in Brazil. It would be a good try to contat AFP directly? Thank you very much.

    1. Unsplash is a great place to get free photos. Unfortunately, I don’t know what to tell you as I am not familiar with the law of Brazil.

  30. I received email correspondence from Higbee & Associates. The question I have is, what if they’re trying to sue an alias, and the address they claim to have doesn’t belong to me either. Don’t they also need to send a cease and desist letter before trying to request money. This is why it seems like a scam or a quick legal money grab I guess you could say.

  31. Hi, This is crazy! They are going after us for an image that looks similar. The image we used was cropped and has a very dark filter. It’s hard to see what the original image was. This was done a few years ago, so I don’t know where we got it. The image they claim is also on free websites, so I feel this is trolling. Do they have a case if the image was cropped and altered?

    1. If a image is transformed enough it may be considered fair use. The fair use analysis is a complex, you probably should seek an attorney. Also, if the image is cropped so much that it only uses a small and insignificant portion of the image, the use may be allowed as it is considered to be de minimis, again, you can research these defenses or hire an attorney .

  32. We had a free pic on our commercial website for 10 years, and it looks like the pic was uploaded to Adobe Stock by Reuters for editorial use only last year.
    They are asking for $1k. Any leeway with the fact that it was only recently uploaded to Adobe?

    1. I am not sure what you mean by a free pic. At the end of the day, the price you paid is irrelevant. What matters is if you had a license (or a reasonable basis to believe you properly acquired one) to use the photo. If your question about leeway is meant to ask about negotiability of the $1,000 price, it is safe to say that these type of things almost always have some room to negotiate. Good luck.

  33. By Free Pic, I mean it wasn’t originally on Adobe or any premium stock photo site to our knowledge. There was no need for a license when we first had the pic on our site. So we believe we were using it legally. But now they are asking for $1K because the photo is now on Adobe Stock for a premium license. Does this make more sense?

  34. My company wasn’t an actual LLC until years after the image they noted. I got if off of Flickr but don’t have any info to prove it. At the time it was a personal blog with various posts and that’s long gone but now they are coming after me through my LLC . What do I do?

  35. Karen, u have a letter from Burness Paull too. I can’t tell if it a scam or not. I rang them and was put through to someone’s mobile voicemail. Which, I find odd and somewhat unprofessional. I also don’t know what to make of the lack of info on the internet about people receiving letters from Burness Paull. I contacted PicRights and they refused to confirm what solicitors they use in the UK to enforce infringement. So I’m confused and worried as to how to proceed.

  36. We used a small image (a football) on our website which was is part of a much larger image. This small image was and still is copyrighted by Getty ( as is the larger image). PicRights are saying the image is copyrighted by AFB . The image was removed over a year ago and PicRights are now sending me Emails & letters again. Can several companies copyright an image or part of an image ?

  37. Editorial use (noncommercial) of Reuters pictures cost $175 per image. There are restrictions but basically if you have it on your blog that’s what it costs.

  38. Just wanted to hop on here and ask a similar question in regards to picrights.

    I was recently e-mailed about some photo of kanye west which was already edited/manipulated in photoshop and grabbed from somewhere else on the web.

    The photo was used as album art for a free mix. The website isn’t a business/commercial either.

  39. I received a letter same as other posters on this site. However, the images PicRights is claiming on my website are not there and were never on the site at all. The “Proof of Use” links went to the same webpage, which does exist, but there are no pictures there. Does anyone have experience with this situation?

  40. I used a photo of a person who said I could use the photo, and they’re still trying to extort money out of me. the problem I have is that person who gave me permission to use the photo is no longer running the camp and i had taken the photo down before they sent me the letter so guess i will see them in court because i would rather pay a $1000 to lawyer before i pay them $500 for something had permission for

    1. Often times the subject of the photo is not the owner of the photo. Only the owner of the rights of the photo can authorize someone else to use display the photo. You might be able to get a consultation with a lawyer for free or a couple of hundred dollars. If you do end up going to court, it will likely cost far more than $1,000.

  41. We have also received an email from PicRights. They are asking from 1.000 CAD. for a tiny photo . I was wondering yet can’t find anywhere, what would be an actual price for getting a license to use such a picture on our website (small shop with decor and accessories) ? There is no information about the pricing for legal use neither on AFP photos nor PicRights. I would be grateful for any ideas how I can actually calculate “the damage” our unauthorise usage made as the amount PicRights requests seems very high!

  42. Four years ago, I received a demand letter from a law firm hired by a photographer who had documented the Syrian refugee crisis in continental Europe. I run a non-profit community news site and I used one of the photos he took, which he widely shared on Facebook and encouraged others to share, of an underage Syrian refugee boy and his tragic story. The photo was taken at a day program that had helped the boy with food, supplies and shelter, and I had personally known the coordinator of that outreach program.

    The law firm, on behalf of their client, demanded that I delete the photo and pay around 1,000 euros in damages for my use of the photo to illustrate a story of this boy and the refugee crisis. I responded to the law firm indicating that as per their request, I had deleted the photo, but reject their demand for compensation. The photographer had asked that his photo be shared widely to draw attention to the plight of child refugees, which is what I did — and made no financial gain from this at all. I also noted that the law firm’s client now appears to be attempting to profit from selling photographs of underage refugee children, at their most vulnerable. Does he have the consent of the parents/guardians to be profiting from taking and selling the photographs of children? The law firm responded by lowering the amount demanded by 50 percent, but ignored my question. I wrote back to them restating my original question of their client’s practices with children and his ethically troubling conduct. I added that I will not be paying any amount. It’s been four years; I never heard back from them again.

    Some of the agencies listed above, including PicRights, and law firms that work with them, are simply on fishing expeditions. Their emails are attempted shake-downs. One hundred letters demanding compensation from individual bloggers might yield five responses of people scared enough to pay something — often less than the amount requested. Five is better than none. In many jurisdictions, even if law firms associated with these agencies or their clients did proceed to sue, their cases would have to be brought before small claims courts. In small claims courts, they would be able to recover only a small fraction of their legal costs, referred to as “reasonable disbursements,” if the case even went to court and was not settled beforehand. In some jurisdictions, reasonable disbursements are capped at 15 percent of the total amount awardable. So if you’re successfully sued for $5,000, the successful party would be able to claim a maximum of $750 in reasonable disbursements. In these circumstances, what law firm would counsel their client that proceeding with a lawsuit was worth it? Most of the people commenting on this page mention letters demanding amounts less than $5,000.

    Additionally, in many jurisdictions, when one sues in small claims court, a settlement conference becomes mandatory and it is triggered automatically if the defendant files a defence. There is incentive to settle at settlement conferences — but by the time the case gets here, the claimant may have spent an inordinate amount of money on legal representation, which is simply not recoverable. All that to say: when you receive a demand letter from PicRights, keep all of this in mind in deciding if you respond and if you are willing to negotiate and settle. Also keep in mind the disastrous optics of large, wealthy corporations, like the Associated Press, chasing vulnerable bloggers for their cash in the middle of a pandemic.

    1. I am an attorney and I do compliance work, which means I deal with issues somewhat like this, though I am no expert on copyright. On the one hand, it is true that the optics of a big business suing “vulnerable bloggers” for cash is bad. On the other hand, big business who publish photos have a big problem: their intellectual property is stolen all the time. Make no mistake: appropriating their photos is the same as going into their garage and stealing their car: IT’S THEFT. There are defenses under the law, but “it’s not fair” and “they’re wealthy” and “I’m just a little fish” are beyond juvenile. Theft is theft. If you have a defense, use it. If not, the “Editor’s” advice is exactly what I give my clients. It’s a good business decision to pay a little now to avoid paying a whole lot more later. You will pay a good deal more than $1100 to get an attorney to go to court for you. And whatever you decide–there’s a lesson here about the cost of infringing someone’s copyright.

  43. We are a non-profit organisation, and used a pic from google search to get donations for the people affected by covid-19. We hardly raised £100 by our supporters in the UK, and now we have a notification from PicsRight to pay £700 to them for a picture that was taken by AFP of an institution distributing free food, and we are supporting that very same institution.

    This sounds crazy, upon discussion with PicsRight, they reduced the license fee to £200 but they still want us to pay. I was hoping that at least a non-profit organisation raising money for the food for poor affected by covid-19 will be spared.

    I am thinking of writing to AFP to excuse us this time, however, can someone please tell if you have written any letters and have had any positive response from the owners of the photo?

  44. My client is being sued for a image I (the designer) posted on a wp page mockup for illustrative purposes only. The page was never used by the client (never linked to from anywhere on the site), but was technically live for the purposes of review. The client and I forgot it even existed until we received a letter today. Do we have a case for it not being used for anything but a “proof of concept”?

  45. Hi — Obvious question, maybe, but…

    I originally posted a photo (my mistake) in May 2018, was contacted by PicRights in Oct 2018. I removed it immediately, but otherwise ignored/did not pay the requested $200. Now I have been contacted by the representative law firm seeking $1000 (or 20% discount for quick payment).

    Here’s my question: can I just buy the Getty license for the image for $175? Then I have it licensed? Or is that simply irrelevant to the infringement, as they would know that at that time I did not use it with the appropriate license?

    1. If Getty sold you a retroactive license, you would be fine as it would cover the infringement. I am not sure if Getty offers retroactive licenses.

  46. You wrote:
    “Please let us know if you discover others that should be added to the PicRights client list.”

    I am the recipient of a claim from PicRights for a ‘Reuters Pictures’ image.

  47. Hi. I am a “little” author: only sell a few books every so often kinda author with a small press indie publisher. I made my own website, and just today got a letter from Picrights claiming I used pictures and owed $475. The letter also went to my publisher.
    I clicked onto the link and saw what appeared to be my website blog. But I never posted the pictures, it’s in a foreign language. And when I went on my real website, none of this is onn my real website.
    So someone in the dark web must have copied my website and used the pictures, and now I’m being sued for $475.
    Any advice? I refuse to pay for something I didn’t do. I have proof of what I’m saying, here, which I can give to Picrights.

  48. Hi, has anyone actually gone to court because of PicRights or the law firms they work with (I’m based in the UK)?

    And one more question, how can PicRights say for how long I’ve used a copyrighted image?

  49. I received a notice from PicRights for a photo I used for a nonprofit, used as an illustration for what I do as a nonprofit. Anyway, They sent me , allegedly, 2 14-day notices I did not receive for whatever reason. When I finally saw their notice, I immediately took the picture down but they are deciding to charge me $350.00. It seems bizarre to me that they don’t have to prove anything. Aren’t they the plaintiff. A case where they don’t even have to prove infringement is an infringement itself….on my rights. If II used it to make money, that’s different. If I made money, even more so. I would like to see their copyright, the license, all relevant material to the charge they are making as I have no idea that the picture violates anything.

  50. HI All, I’m in the UK. Today, I received one of these Picrights emails for an  Agence France-Presse image that was displayed on our website’s blog page. It was an image showing a model in a Prada fashion show. The email doesn’t mention an actual demanded settlement sum. I clicked on https://resolve.picrights.com/NUMBEROFMYCASE and on that page, there is still no mention of what sum is payable to settle the demand. I then clicked the green payment button at top of the page and it takes me to a page asking for a £79 (GBP) payment. This doesn’t seem extortionate and it seems reasonably in line with what it would have cost to licence the image in the first place. I’m tempted to just make the payment and put the affair behind me. Is this a good idea? I am hesitant because there were actually a series of images from the same fashion show on the same blog page on my website. I am wondering whether if I make a £79 payment for this first claim, it is tantamount to admitting that I should also be making payments for each of the other images on the blog page. 
    Q1. Should I make the £79 payment? 
    Q2. Is it possible that this Picrights firm makes claims for images for which their client does not even own the copyright? 
    Q3. What would happen if I asked them to prove that AFP actually owned the copyright to my image (ie. I called their bluff a bit). I have no idea whether AFP do, in fact, own the image.
    Q4. If, instead of paying, I were to argue it for a while, at what stage of the process does the initial demand sum tend to increase? Only once it gets passed to the Higbee Associates firm?  What amount do they put on top? 

  51. I received an email, which we thought was spam, and now a letter from PicRights for a photo on my business website. It didn’t have a watermark and I didn’t think it was copyrighted at the time. I know, my fault. I have found that it belongs to the Nature Picture Library and is owned by Warren Photographic. I have contacted them to see if they will sell me a retroactive license for the photo. Any chance this will work. I think that since its a business page that I will end up paying someone, which is fine. They should be paid for their property, I am just not sure about the amount that picrights wants. Thank you.

  52. Hi All, I’m in the UK and got the same letter. Mine is asking for close to £10 000 for a photo belonging to OTTO Archive LLC. Is there no organisation we can complain to because what gives these people the right to send these astronomical figures out of the blue. In the past I had people using our images on their websites and I asked them to remove them within a week and they did, end of story. I didn’t come out without any heads up demanding thousands of pounds for the use of one single photo on a blog.

    I’m leaning towards ignoring the letters but wanted to ask if there is a fair trades or harassment company who can investigate these guys.

    Who regulates them?

  53. I got one today from PicRights on behalf of Reuters. I chose to ignore for two reasons: that website including the blog post has been nothing but a shell for months.

    But the best part? The image I used that they are going after me for was from a public domain. I just happened to use it in a blog post even before they did.

    I believe the business is legit, but scummy. My theory is that the search for similar pictures and then match up with scummy lawyers to get profit from a picture they found. It’s legal, but scummy.

  54. Just received a letter dated 1/14/2021 for 2 images apparently posted in February and September of 2011. PicRights.com is claiming to represent Reuters news and media, inc.
    they are not only demanding that we remove photos (I have yet to confirm if they are on our blog) but also demanding payment of $1150 USD for past unauthorized use.
    1. How do I confirm this is legitimate?
    2. How do I even know whether or not Reuters News even owns photos?

    1. Have you tried doing a reverse image search for the photo? If it is a Reuters photo, you will likely find it all over the internet and with attributions to Reuters.

  55. Yeah, please add Reuters to the list of copyright owners, at least as claimed by PicRights.

    They sent me two separate emails today, one for a single photo owned by AP from 2017, and then another for three photos from Reuters– two from 2011, and one from 2015.

    In 2019 they contacted me on behalf of AFP, asking for $126 which I ended up paying. Now they’re asking $650 for the AP photo and $2,400 combined for the Reuters photos.

  56. The laws, the way they currently stand, are too onerous. With the plaintiff’s ability to use the wayback internet option as evidence, plus the burden being on the defendant to prove they did not infringe, it is the legal equivalent of saying you know that CD you bought in 1998? Well unless you have a receipt for it, the artist can sue you for infringement (at way more than the cost of the item) and we had a tracking chip in it and we know you had it in your possession at some point. Doesn’t matter if you still have it. Doesn’t matter what the original cost was. We don’t have to prove anything. You do. It is a racket and it rewards thugs and bad actors like PicRights.

  57. This is a semi-legal extortion scam that preys on people’s ignorance of copyright law and the Fair Use Doctrine. I would simply take down the offending item unless its something worth fighting for the right to publish under the the Fair Use Doctrine. I would also not respond to the email because you are revealing yourself as “a mark” for the extortion scam by responding.

  58. I received one of these letters and threats to pay money. Unlike some of these other stories; our company never used the image, which claimed to be infringed on. It appears that someone might have hacked our system or it was put there by PicRight’s in-house hackers so that they could then send out bogus demand letters. Additionally, I cannot locate the alleged infringement on our site or otherwise. But these fraudsters won’t stop with the threats and demands for money.

    1. Usually when hackers hack your site and create content, the content is crap and unrelated to your site. If that was the case, it should be pretty obvious that your site was hacked, in which case you should not be liable for copyright infringement. They also should be able to give you a screenshot that shows exactly where the image is located.

  59. By the way, they have changed company name / structure multiple times in the UK. The latest incarnation was only incorporated in November 2020 (under a different name) and then changed its name to PicRights UK Limited at the end of December 2020 (so, thus far, the company has not traded long enough to submit accounts). A previous incarnation under a different company number did submit micro company accounts for year end Jan 2020 showing very low assets (low for a company that seemingly charges thousands of people thousands of pounds/dollars – even if it’s only taking a commission. Turnover is hidden from view in their accounts filing on Companies House. If the company has a year end Jan 2020 it should file new accounts this year to Jan 2021, but it may have delayed that by changing to a different name and incorporating PicRights UK Limited under a different number at the end of 2020. Remember, if you licensed the images you would get an invoice from the rights holder and it would show whether there is VAT included, etc. As far as I can see they’re not offering invoices – simply telling people to pay by card on their website. The law seems a complete ass on this and needs to be reformed. I’ve had my own photos used on websites and even a book cover – I would be far more reasonable about someone using part of one of my images inadvertently. Google Images is putting the images on your screen, allowing you to save them, and not always telling you where they came from. A ‘cease and desist’ is fair – treating it as theft is not.

  60. I received an email from PIcRights yesterday demanding $515 for a picture, they claim licensed by AP. I just reposted a news item, with the original image, from a professional website of which I am a member. I took the editors suggestion and negotiated down to $300.

  61. I got a letter demanding $710 for the use of an image they are saying belongs to Agence France-Press, but I believe to be a picture I took of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. How can I tell if this is my picture and not theirs?

  62. I was contacted by PicRights about an image we downloaded from Canva. We pay Canva the fee for “pro” access, which means we have rights to use any image in their database. When I told PicRights about this, they said it is my repsonsibility to contact canva and have them contact PicRights. Just sent an email to Canva. Has anyone had experience with issues on images from Canva?

  63. Don’t you keep photos that you took separate from other content on your computer? You should be able to look at the two and find discrete differences if they are different photos.

  64. PicRights has sent us a letter demanding payment. I looked up the photos they are claiming are Reuters. They are, but I looked up these photos available on Alamy for editorial website use for 49.99 each for 5 years. There are two photos in question so if we had paid for the rights to use these photos, the cost would have been $100 for 5 years, $200 for 10. PicRights is asking for over $900 which seems outlandish considering what the cost would have been. Usurious, is the word. Has anyone ever asked PicRights for an itemized breakdown of the extra cost? Or are their monetary requests just arbitrary? Because THAT seems like a lawsuit.

  65. I just paid $350 bargain down from $500 to picrights because my life is chaos enough without them. They should have charge what they normally charge plus small fee NOT 500% normal rate. Small business already struggles, and barely stay afloat from covid 2 years. On top of that overload with LOTS OF BANK LOAN(s), so this is really insult to injury. I pay royalty free photo subscription to so many companies and get penalized for 1 Photo which use for test cellphone background-app which seeing ¼ leaf and 4/5 cloud behind someone head from photo they told me was from designpics.com I can get a similar photo from Shutterstock $225 for 25 photos. People do make mistake and I understand fee and fine, but this is too expensive and disregard if you can pay or not.

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