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This morning I received a letter from a solicitors in London sent on behalf of Corbis and demanding that I pay £2,385.25 for the use of this image. This is clearly an extortionate amount for a small icon. They say it is to cover the period from Dec 2005 to Dec 2006 and that I can pay more if I want to use it beyond this date.
They also say that if I do not pay by 18 December they will instruct their client to commence legal proceedings against me ... seek legal costs, etc. They make reference to "English Law" but I am based in Scotland where we have a separate legal system. I obviously extremely worried because this is a lot of money to me and I don't know where I stand on this.
Has anyone else been in this situation? Must I pay?
I would very much appreciate any advice.
[edited by: BeeDeeDubbleU at 12:39 pm (utc) on Dec. 7, 2006]
Some of these firms may have image tracking software based on invisible (read: embedded) watermarks. So they simply put their bot to work scouring the net; next there's a comparison with client records; then the (automated) threats go out.
I think that bandwidth theft by sniffer robots may be a big problem as well.
In my case, I'm a graphic artist, and I do all my own artwork. When I do it, I keep all the original files around.
When I use a CMS, I never use their artwork in my public (non-admin) spaces; preferring to design my own themes.
When I do a site for someone else, I insist that they set up a policy to enforce provenance discovery for all images, including rendered fonts.