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I have just received an Unauthorised Use Notification from

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I have just received an Unauthorised Use Notification from Getty Images in the USA. They are telling me that I need to pay them $1050 for using a small (98 x 83 pixel) image on my web site.

The image was found on Google Images in 2009 and, at the time, was royalty free (as far as I know).

The web site is hosted in the UK, I am a British Citizen with permanent residency living in Calgary.

Can you give me any advice on what to do next.
Thank you for your question.

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Why do you think it was royalty free?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The image was available from Google Images, there were no watermarks, "sample" marks overwriting the image, clicking on the image did not go to a web site that was asking for payment.

This is a common occurrence.

If it generally a breach of copyright to use any image without the owners permission.

At the same time it is not always clear where the image came from, who owns it, etc.

Getty Images is well know with regards XXXXX XXXXX out overly aggressive letters with demands for exorbitant fees.

There are many times when they are making these demands and it turns out the images were obtained totally legally. Most times at the least the images were obtained inadvertently.

I have not heard of them suing anyone yet.

So it's your choice as to how you want to proceed but I would say that most people tend to ignore then and never hear from them again.

If you google this issue you will see example after example of how people dealt with them. I don't think you will see many where anyone has paid.

Let me know if you need any further clarification.
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