You’re a Blogger, and You’ve Gotten a Notice of Copyright Violation: An Attorney’s Insight.

More and more people and businesses are getting letters accusing them of a copyright violation. It can be pretty frightening. These letters ask the recipient to either pay a significant sum of money to settle or risk a federal lawsuit.

The modus operandi of fraudsters who perpetrate copyright infringement scams

The most current method of trying to collect money from small businesses is claiming that the recipient’s usage of photos violates the copyright. The con artist asserts that the website is infringing their copyright and that they are the owners of the photographs shown there. 

The scammer invites victims to open a link to view the photographs that allegedly violate his copyright. This link either downloads malware or directs users to a phishing website where they are deceived into giving out cash or personal data.

There’s also another way copyright infringement frauds are perpetrated. Pixsy and Getty Images are notorious for committing copyright claims. If you’ve been sent a letter of demand from Pixsy, know that you are not alone. They frequently write letters requesting modest to significant quantities of money in return for the discharge of claims relating to claims of copyright infringement.

What they’ll tell you

Pixsy often starts its letters by stating the subject as “Unauthorized Use of Image.” You will be accused of unauthorized use of copyrighted images. Then, it will typically say that it operates in the capacity of a photographer’s authorized license and copyright agent on their behalf. 

They might also assert that stopping the use of the images does not absolve your business of the need to make payment for its usage and that copyright infringement can happen whether or not the “infringement” was done knowingly or intentionally. 

In its letter, Pixsy will mention that the maximum damages allowed by the Copyright Act are $150,000. It omits the fact that the minimum statutory damages can be as little as $750 and, in some circumstances, even less.

Pixsy Inc. will contend that it is carrying out its client’s instructions. At its core, Pixsy functions as a license and copyright agent on behalf of others to obtain these kinds of payments. It is in no way a law firm in the actual sense of the term. 

However, if you disregard a Pixsy letter, the license and copyright agent can refer the issue to a plaintiff firm, which can bring legal action against you. Because of this, it’s critical not to disregard these letters.

In many instances, the attempt to intimidate succeeds in its goal. They are out there trolling, hoping for someone to write them a quick check.

How to keep yourself protected

You may have used a very generic image or acquired it from a website that offers supposedly free artwork. Every Google image search disclaims that all results may be protected by copyright. It is your responsibility to ensure any usage of a picture conforms with the terms of any applicable license, as Google does not confirm the status or consent of photos that result in such searches. 

Sometimes the copyright owners will bury attribution requirements in the small print of websites that seem to offer free photographs. Since all the consumer could see was the term “free,” it might seem that they’ve been duped. Never forget to check the copyrights on every image.

For online scammers like these, the copyright settlement demands have given a viable business model. According to federal copyright law, the letters are allowed to include more threatening wording that implies consumers could be held liable for six-figure sums in court. 

Punitive damages of that nature only apply to wilful violators, not to innocent errors. They are playing the system rather than violating the law. If you receive a letter like that, it could develop into something bigger. Even if the claim is ridiculous, they persist in trying to collect.

You are probably violating someone’s copyrights if you utilize a picture, piece of music, text, or any artistic work that is not your own, and you do not have their permission to do so. You must delete the content from your website and cease all further uses of it if you cannot demonstrate that you have a license to use it, it is in the public domain, or your service is lawful.

What can you do when you receive such a letter?

Demand letters frequently imply bringing a lawsuit against you. When facing a potential lawsuit, becoming anxious or making snap judgments is easy. They request tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for intentional copyright infringement. Impulsive responses can be detrimental. Spend time learning the specifics of the accusation leveled at you or your company.

Get in touch with a lawyer.

You should contact a lawyer specializing in copyright infringement legislation. This is extremely important to protect your reputation online. Locate a copyright attorney with expertise in intellectual property law. 

The way you respond to a copyright infringement notification could make the difference between being able to effectively defend against a lawsuit against you and incurring significant financial penalties. 

A legal team can assist you in assessing whether the copyright infringement claim is valid. Copyright law can be intimidating to people without prior legal training. An experienced legal team can defend your company in court and negotiate settlements.

Do some research yourself.

If you get such a letter, look up the purportedly unlawful image. Gather all the information you can find about it online.

Consider responding to the email.

Respond to the notice regardless of whether you find evidence of copyright infringement, can demonstrate that you obtained permission, the work is yours, or both. Your response can be as straightforward as telling them you have deleted the illegal content or providing a receipt attesting to the image’s use permission. You risk being sued if you ignore a notice. Penalties for violating copyright can be both civil and criminal.

Report it to FTC if you believe that it is a scam

You can submit fraud suspicions to the FTC. File a complaint with them if you receive a “DMCA Notice,” or a demand letter that you suspect is fraudulent via email or a contact form. Some of the allegations of copyright infringement made in these letters against specific people and organizations may be true.

Whether or not the entire system is a scam will remain unknown, though, if the mechanism that sends out these letters is still automatic and consumers choose to pay the money rather than question the accuracy of the claim. Recheck the facts after doing your investigation. Otherwise, you might pay several hundred dollars or more without justification.


Things like this occur frequently. The particularly evil aspect is that scammers use website contact forms rather than cold emails to ensure their emails reach an inbox. To gain access to your personal information or demand a ransom, they hope their message would appear on the screen of someone with little prior online expertise. 

These phishing emails may have a goal to trick you into downloading software, giving them your password, or filling out a form so that they can collect your personal information. Usually, they link you to a website that impersonates the official website of a well-known service. To make the website appear relevant, it may even provide a link to the approved service.

It is probably a fraudulent email if you receive a copyright notice from a personal account. It is uncommon for someone to get in touch with you directly and issue a comprehensive copyright notice. The DMCA shields users from legal responsibility for infringement even when a website inadvertently publishes a copyrighted image without intending to violate it as long as the site owner promptly removes that image after becoming aware of the copyright. 

Nevertheless, it is highly recommended that you think about speaking with a lawyer who can deal with the situation immediately, and evaluate your individual situation.

This guest post was authored by Lyle Solomon

Lyle Solomon has extensive legal experience, in-depth knowledge, and experience in consumer finance and writing. He has been a member of the California State Bar since 2003. He graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California, in 1998. Mr. Solomon currently works for the Oak View Law Group in California as a Principal Attorney.


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Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.