A Company’s Website and Copyright Issues

It happens way too often. A website owner or employee innocently downloads to their website a photograph or some other work to illustrate or explain some aspect of the owner’s business. Or, its use may be intended to draw more viewers to the website.

The work may be a news photo, an illustration or an article. Use may be as innocent as finding and downloading a photo of the city’s skyline just to emphasize the business is local. One picture, they say, is worth a thousand words.

Then a letter arrives, demanding that a work must be immediately taken down from the website. The letter further demands that the user pay compensation to the owner of the work for unauthorized use, claiming that use on the website is copyright infringement. The compensation demanded may be in low five figures per work infringed, sometimes more. Continue reading