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Ask Buachaill Your Own Question
Buachaill, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10525
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Thanks for your help as dissappointing as it is!!!...I wonder

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Thanks for your help as dissappointing as it is!!!...I wonder if you might be able to answer one more issue for me. I received what would appear to be a legal letter regarding a copyright infringment from USA. However they first contacted my client how in tern contacted me. I own and am the public registrar of the website in question. Did they have a right to contact my client first, given that the information of the rightful owner is publicly available? Is this liable? And can they actually sue someone in Ireland from the USA under USA copyright registeration law. only 1 small photo.

many thanks
1. At the outset, there is no difficulty with suing an Irish person based in Ireland on the basis of US copyright law. Actions based on foreign laws take place every day of the week around the world. This flows from the fact that the courts of a state where the defendant is resident will always assume jurisdiction over the matter in issue. Secondly, in your question, you do not state who your client was.
2. However, if your client was displaying the photo concerned, then there is no rule of law preventing the US body from contacting anyone who uses the photo. In order that something is libellous or defamation, there must be an element of falseness involved. Here that does not appear to be involved. There is no rule of law which prevents one person speaking to another about potential copyright infringement.
3. Finally, I would offer or send some small token of money in relation to use of the photo. Maybe $20 and tell this outfit to go away. Essentially, they are just after some money, any money. And if the matter were to go to court, a court based assessment of the value of a licence fee would be small anyway. Too small to merit ever suing in a foreign country such as Ireland over the actual value of the licence fee. You should also take down the photo and stop using it.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My client is in USA and was contacted regarding the infringement...I guess it was embarrassing to be accused of such and act and I would have thought that due diligence regarding this would have been well served. I now have to explain and except responsibility for the image but it is readily available through many sites as a free download....your correct... I will submit a token out of respect for the photographer...thank you for your input

You are welcome!