RM Media Ltd. – Nick Youngson Files Copyright Lawsuit

UPDATE:  May 25, 2018  Update – RM Media LTD has filed several more lawsuits in the US.  

RM Media LTD has filed more copyright lawsuits.  An example of one can be found at https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/23926791/RM_Media_Limited_v_No_Debt_LLC_et_al

 

Original Story:  November 28, 2017 – RM Media Ltd., the self-proclaimed publisher of “best selling” stock photos has begun filing copyright lawsuits in the United States.  The first lawsuit, which was filed in California’s Central District, comes after more than a year of RM Media sending letters threatening such action against those who have used their images without a valid license and who refuse to pay pre-litigation demands that are often in the thousands of dollars.

RM Media, which is a United Kingdom based corporation, has drawn criticism for its offering some of its images via a Creative Commons license that requires attribution and a link back to its web sites.  Users of the images who fail to provide the required attribution and link back often find themselves facing demands for thousands of dollars from one of RM Media’s lawyers.    Photographer Nick Youngson is the author of many of the images and is believed to be the founder of RM Media.  According to RM Media’s website, Youngson no longer owns or operates RM Media.

According to court records, RM Media, which is based in the UK, has not filed any lawsuits in the United States prior to this one.   However, under United States copyright law, RM Media would have three years after discovering an unauthorized use to bring a lawsuit, so this could be the first of many.    RM Media has been represented by several law firms, including two of the more litigious copyright law firms, The Sanders Law Firm and The Law Firm of Higbee & Associates, the latter is representing him in this first law suit.

The defendant in the first case is 420 Evaluations, Inc., A Professional Medical Corporation.  According to their website, “420 Evaluations specializes in providing medical marijuana recommendations, treatment plans, patient verifications, plastic ID cards, medical cannabis cultivation license and full medical support for all patients of California and other states in a safe and confidential environment.”   The case number is 2:17-cv-08577

RM Media’s web site does not list any offices in the US.  If the court requires the parties to personally appear, RM Media will need to send an employee or hire a local agent who is qualified to answer questions from the court or during a deposition.   Many courts allow for a parties to appear via telephone, so there is a good chance that the matter will settle before RM Media is forced to send a corporate representative to court.

Feel free to post comments or questions below.

May 25, 2018  Update – RM Media LTD has filed several more lawsuits in the US.  More details soon.

13 thoughts on “RM Media Ltd. – Nick Youngson Files Copyright Lawsuit”

  1. According to court records, it looks like RM Media Ltd / Nick Youngson is filing more lawsuits in the United States. I just received a demand letter from RM Media’s lawyer. Do your lawyers have experience fighting them?

    1. The legal issues of most copyright claims involving photos are usually the same. The main thing is to have an attorney representing you who understand copyright claims. If you do that, you should be fine no matter who the copyright holder is who is threatening you.

  2. A client of mine is getting sued by RM Media for the use of a free image I used on a site I developed for them. It was a free creative commons image. I did not provide attribution or the link because I thought it was optional. Now my client is being asked to pay $3100. Here is my question. If I post the link and attribution now, will I still have to pay?

    1. If you used the image without a license, it is likely a violation of RM Media’s copyright. Purchasing a license cures a violation of copyright if the terms of the license expressly provide that the license is retroactive. However, retroactive licenses are very rare for this very reason. Copyright owners do not want to provide a way for people to be able to escape liability by purchasing a license with the same price and terms as those who properly purchase the a license in advance.

  3. I just received a demand letter for using an image I found on Google Images. It is a worthless scrabble image that are a dime a dozen. I am being asked to pay $2,000 for something that is maybe worth $20.

    1. I cannot verify all of them because I do not have access to the PACER system, but they look real. I highly doubt any law firm would post fake court documents when it would be so easy for people to prove that they were fake. I am assuming they are real.

  4. I was actually trying to pay $250 for an image, but the website will not accept payment, and no one is returning my contact emails.

  5. Those are real. I checked on PACER. But they are default judgments, meaning the defendant did not make an appearance to contest the allegations. So, the judge only heard half of the story. That being said, you they do show that RM Media will litigate and that their claims are legitimate (enough) for a judge to order you to pay a substantial amount of money.

  6. What is the best way to respond to a copyright letter from the law firm of Higbee & Associates for RM Media? I received one in the mail and one by email, so they know I have it.

  7. Our company has purchased hundreds of images from RM Media LTD and from Nick Youngson prior to that. However, a employee mistakingly thought we had an unlimited license to use their archive. She used 9 images without a license. RM Media was not forgiving. We will not be buying from them in the future.

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