Question posted in the General Law category relating to Western Cape
I own a website: www.uniquegifting.co.uk which was built to refer customers to www.buyagift.co.uk. Should a customer purchase any item from buyagift.co.uk I would receive a small commission. The aforesaid is known as affiliate marketing. I have signed up via 3rd party that manages the commissions: www.awin.com They provide a product feed (a CSV file that includes buyagifts product data: Product price, Product image, Product description). They give this to all affiliates who wish to promote their client's products on their websites. I imported all products into www.uniqugifting.co.uk
Now, I have been approached by an image rights company stating I have copied 2 images illegally. The strange thing is that the product feed contains thousands of images and they have only mentioned 2 images. They are now wanting me to pay a fee of 200 Pounds (GBP) to resolve this.Firstly, I am sure I am within my rights to use the images as they were provided by www.awin.com and if awin.com then how could it be mine? As the provided the feed to me?Second, this feels like some form of scam / online extortion?
How much are your fees for the above matter?Please see the copy below of the message received.
Image Licence Validation for PA Images - Reference Number: 3556-1781-3767
Dear Unique Gifting,
As an introduction, PicRights provides copyright compliance services to third-party content owners, including PA Images. For further information, please visit: https://www.paimages.co.uk/about.We are acting on behalf of PA Images to obtain compensation for the unauthorised past-usage of their imagery.
PicRights has noticed that PA Images's imagery has been displayed on your website http://www.uniquegifting.co.uk/. However, PA Images has been unable to find a licence for this usage of their imagery by your organisation.
At the end of this message, we’ve attached a visual of the imagery and the use on your website we are referring to.
Our goal in contacting you is to ascertain that you hold an active licence for this use with PA Images or with any other entity authorised by PA Images to licence and distribute the imagery:
If you do have an active licence for the use of this imagery, we kindly ask you to send us your valid licence / authorisation, by visiting https://resolve.picrights.com/355617813767 / Password: 412740940 and clicking the "I have a licence..." link; orIf you do not have an active licence for the use of this imagery, we request that you remove the imagery from your website. Please be aware that removal of the imagery alone will not resolve this issue. A payment in relation to the unauthorised past-usage is required to resolve the matter completely. You will find further information about this matter by visiting https://resolve.picrights.com/355617813767 / Password: 412740940
We would like to resolve this time-sensitive issue as soon as possible and request that you respond within 14 days from the date of this correspondence.
We fully appreciate that this is a very difficult time. With that in mind, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you, in the hope that we can achieve a resolution.
If you believe you have received this notice in error or have questions, please contact us with your reference number 3556-1781-3767 at ***BLOCKED-EMAIL-ADDRESS***.
Please visit https://resolve.picrights.com/355617813767 for further information about this matter.
On behalf of PicRights and PA Images, we thank you for your cooperation and look forward to assisting you in resolving this matter.
Jim BarnesCopyright Compliance AgentPicRights UK Department***BLOCKED-EMAIL-ADDRESS***
Answer to the Question
Hi there and thank you for your question,
I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow-up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.
The first thing that I've noticed is that nowhere in the email or on the website do they actually prove that they are the owners of those photographs.
Assuming they are the owners of the images, I think that you should reply to them to explain that all of the images which appear on your website appear as a result of the product feed that you receive from buyagift, and that you don't actually verify that they have the rights to use the image at all, and you are simply going on the assumption that they are legally entitled to use those images.
Tell them to contact buyagift to complain about the use of the images, because you're not going to be caught up in this issue if you never actually intended infringing on any user rights pertaining to the images.
What you could also do is to send them an extract of the CSV file showing how you receive the information.
If there is a part of the answer which you need more advice on, or clarity please continue in this same thread instead of opening a new question.
Please remember this is a dialog if you have follow-up questions please use the REPLY button and ask. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted to be answered. I hope you found my answer helpful, and you have finished asking your questions, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button in order to mark the question as closed.