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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 118141
Experience:  Attorney practicing all aspects of copyright/trademark law
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I received this a couple weeks ago. See below. I am trying

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I received this a couple weeks ago. See below.
I am trying to figure out what to do?
I really don't know whether to pay these folks?

This happened to me aprox 1 week ago. I rebuilt my whole site after this. Can't afford $1,000 per image.

I was using the RSS function and pulling feeds from a website that allowed for their content to be used (thought I was good).
My site ended up with this 1 image that apparently was copyright protected by AKM Images.
I received no warning on this beforehand and there was no way for me to tell the image was copyright protected. There was no opportunity to remove the image. The whole thing is really shady and they really seem to be stretching the law here. Kind of like extortion.
Below is what I received.
Has anyone else had this issue?
I have omitted some of the personal information.

From: Copyright Enforcement Group
> > > To: XXXXX XXXXX Legal Department
> > > Subject: Notice of Unauthorized Use of Image Owned by AKM Images
> > > Sent: Jan 22
> > >
> > > *** Note to xxxxxx: please forward the entirety of this notice to the
> > > owner of ***
> > >
> > > January 22, 2011
> > >
> > > Re: Notice of Unauthorized Use of Image Owned by AKM Images
> > >
> > > Dear Legal Department:
> > >
> > > Copyright Enforcement Group, LLC, ("We") represent AKM Images. AKM Images
> > > owns all right, title and interest to the copyright-registered image
> > > referenced in this document.
> > >
> > > We have detected the unauthorized use of the image owned by AKM Images
> > > listed below. Each image is covered by a registered copyright. Our records
> > > and those of AKM Images indicate that you do not currently hold the proper
> > > license for the use of the image displayed on your website.
> > >
> > > The following image infringement was detected:
> > >
> > > # | Image Title | Evidence Exhibit | Settlement Amount
> > > 1.) xxxxxxxxx | Exhibit X in xxxxx.pdf | $1000.00
> > >
> > > Total Settlement: $1000.00
> > >
> > > You are hereby notified that your unauthorized use of the registered
> > > copyright owned by AKM Images for the image described herein is in
> > > violation of the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 106. In this regard, demand
> > > is hereby made that you immediately and permanently cease and desist the
> > > unauthorized use and display of said image and remit settlement in the
> > > amount of $1000.00 or produce proof of license of said image by emailing it
> > > to: [LINK: [email protected]]
> > >[email protected]
> > >
> > > You may also be held liable for monetary damages, including attorneys' fees
> > > and court costs, if a lawsuit is commenced against you. You have until
> > > February 22, 2011 to access the settlement website and settle online. To
> > > access the settlement website, please visit xxxxxxx and enter Case #: xxxxxxx and
> > > Password: xxxxx To access the settlement offer directly, please visit
> > > [LINK: https://xxxxxxxx]
> > >
> > >
> > > Settlement Information
> > > Total Settlement: $1000.00
> > > Settlement Website: [LINK:]
> > >
> > > Case #: xxxxxxx
> > > Password: xxxxxxx
> > > Direct Link: [LINK:
> > >]
> > >
> > >
> > > If you fail to respond, settle, or produce proof of license within the
> > > prescribed time period, the claim will be referred to our attorneys for
> > > legal action. At that point, the original settlement offer will no longer
> > > be an option and the amount will increase as a result of us having to
> > > involve our attorneys.
> > >
> > > Nothing contained or omitted from this correspondence is, or shall be
> > > deemed to be, either a full statement of the facts or applicable law, an
> > > admission of any fact, or waiver or limitation of any of AKM Images' rights
> > > or remedies, all of which are specifically retained and reserved.
> > >
> > > The information in this notice is accurate. We have a good faith belief
> > > that use of the material in the manner complained of herein is not
> > > authorized by the registered copyright owner, its agent, or by operation of
> > > law. We represent that we are authorized to act on behalf of AKM Images.
> > >
> > > Sincerely,
> > >
> > > Dale Spislander
> > > Copyright Enforcement Agent
> > >
> > > Copyright Enforcement Group, LLC
> > >XXXXX Suite 220
> > > Beverly Hills, CA 90211
> > >
> > > Toll Free: 877-5-COPYRIGHT (XXX-XXX-XXXX)
> > > Local: XXX-XXX-XXXX
> > > Email: [LINK: [email protected]]
> > >[email protected]
> > > Website: [LINK:]
> > >
You are going to have to negotiate with the firm to come up with a reasonable penalty for your unauthorized display of their copyrighted works. Depending on how long they were on the site and the type of volume, you would likely be able to get them down to anywhere between $50-$500 an image (this just depends on how good you or your attorney is at negotiating with them and how willing they are to go to court). The problem is that if they do go to court, your liability goes up significantly and could be up to $150,000 per image according to the copyright act. You need to argue any alleged use was unintentional and that you removed them immediately upon notice and seek to negotiate the penalty down to something more reasonable.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I am thinking I just need to pay this and be done with it. It sounds like all other routes have risk and will involve lawyer fees. I could see this costing me much more than $1,000 if I decided to fight this.
I just can't see how I could fight it and have it cost less than $1,000.

Would you agree with that based on what you are seeing here?


I am glad you were not offended as many of our customers are who come here with the same exact issue when we tell them as I have told you. Yes, these infringement cases can be VERY costly with fines not to mention the attorney's fees. However, there is negotiation room with them and you need to call them and tell them anything that allegedly occurred was not intentional and you corrected it as soon as you learned of it and offer them $100 to settle, they will come down and then you need to explain the financial hardship and you will likely be able to get them down to something a bit more reasonable than $1000.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I tried that already. They said $1,000 was the absolute minimum because of the size of the image. They also said it could cost me a lot more if I did not pay it. I just wanted to get verification from someone like yourself. I just can't see any way out of the $1,000 without riks that it could go a lot higher.

The bad part of all this is I did not know I was doing something illegal. No warning or anything. The image had no copyright logo or anything. The website it came from allowed for publication of their content. The law should allow for someone to get rid of the image first, etc.
You don't see any opportunity here for a lawyer to fight and get it reduced to $0?

They are right it could cost you a lot more. I would give them another effort on a negotiation. Tell them you can pay $250 or $300 lump sum but for the $1000 you would need time to pay and offer them to settle for the lump sum or ask them if you can pay $100 a month and the nicer you are and the more you stress the financial difficulty many times it will work for them to reduce it some. If not, then make arrangements to pay because if they go to court you will be paying much, much more.

The laws do not provide for notice or warnings, it is either infringement or not, so it is the duty of every site owner to make sure there is no infringement on their sites. Thank you and please do not forget to click accept to release your deposit.
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