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Ely, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 102503
Experience:  Counselor at Law.
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The web designer I used to design my website a year an a

Customer Question

The web designer I used to design my website a year an a half ago grabbed free wallpaper photos off two different sites. This week I received via email two different cease and desist letters, one from Germany asking for 3000 euros and the other from Seattle Wa for 2700. I want to know how to proceed. If this is my responsibility to pay or hers. We think the one from Germany is a scam. PLEASE HELP
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.
I am very sorry to hear about this situation. First, were these EMAILS or actual letters in the mail? And also, please list the LAW FIRMS for both and their contact information (address, email, and phone) so I can see if this is a scam or not.
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
German laywer letter
Rechtsanwalt Filipp J A Bickel
Phillippistr. 8
14059 Berlin-Westend
Tel-Air ***********
Seattle Wa layer letterage fotostock, License Compliance Services*****South, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104, United States
Email:***@******.***, Telephone: +1(###) ###-####
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
The American contact seems to be authentic.
I cannot say for sure about the German contact; one can call the German Bar Association (or email them) to confirm that this is not a scam:
Deutscher Anwalt Verein
Littenstraße 11
D-10179 Berlin, Germany
Telephone: +49-30-726152 0
Fax: +49-30-726152 190
The German Bar's listing search engine is not finding the attorney however - see here.
- - -
1) The fact that the site was built by a contractor does not alleviate the claim of copyright infringement against the owner of the site, who is you. If the use was unauthorized, then the website's owner may be liable.
2) At the same time, the creator of the website may be pursued for indemnification of the owner, meaning that they can be held liable by owner for whatever liability the creator put the owner in by using that unauthorized image.
3) What someone in your situation can do is (a) agree to take down the photo, (b) possibly agree to a reduced amount, and (c) pursue the creator for the costs. Actually, in one's negotiations (counsel is recommended), stating WHO created the website may be used as leverage, as the firms may be interested in knowing the source of the issue since they may be continuing to do this with other websites.
Best of luck.
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