Know Your Usage Laws. Or Pay Up.

I don’t think I’ll try to pull an appropriate image for this post. From

In May, 2010, with the assumption Web images without copyright notices were “public domain” and free to use, a Webcopyplus copywriter used Google images to find an unmarked 400 x 300 pixel scenic photo to complement an article for a tourism client’s blog.
In December, 2010, the client received a formal cease and desist demand and copyright infringement claim letter, demanding the following actions:
1. Immediately cease and desist all unlicensed uses of the image, and delete all copies from computers and digital storage devices.
2. Remit almost $4,000 to the lawyer’s trust account.
The image was removed within minutes, and a letter of apology was sent. However, following several e-mails, which included requests for proof of copyright registration and ownership, a counter offer, and the threat of additional legal fees and court action, Webcopyplus ultimately opted to settle for $4,000.

With content so readily available on the web, the law, or justice, seems like it’ll always be a step behind.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.