#Copyright warning

It’s been a lousy week. I’m not looking for sympathy, it just has.

Two weeks ago, we had eleven dogs – 9 adopted and 2 fostered. In case you don’t know, we take in dogs from Spain with behavioural issues that mean they are not adoptable by regular homes, and we do emergency fostering when adoptions don’t work out, or dogs lose their homes suddenly for a variety of reasons.

The two foster girls moved onto new homes – a pleasing outcome after 6 months with us.

Corrie and Lola

A couple of days later, we lost our most elderly chap, 17-year-old Toby. It wasn’t a surprise, but still very sad. Toby had a traumatic past that meant his first reaction to stress was to bite. We learned how to avoid most circumstances that caused biting, and he was an absolute sweetie when not scared.

Toby terrier

One week later, we lost another.

Darcy, a Japanese Spitz who came as a foster and stayed, because he had a suspicious lump and no one else would take him. Well, after two and half happy years, it finally got him – the tumour burst open, with no way to stop the bleeding. Still wagging and happy right up to the end, he had no idea his time had come.

Darcy

Farewell, little white dudes.

And so from eleven, we are suddenly down to seven, and the house feels strangely empty, considering how many we still have.

To add insult to injury, we lost a hen on the same day. There is Avian Flu in the UK, which means all poultry must live under cover until we are told otherwise. Ours are thoroughly enjoying the polytunnel, which is warmer than their hen house, so it was a sad surprise to find one of them dead in the feed trough. Turns out she had a digestive problem. That’s hens for you.

Copyright warning

And so to the last unpleasant event of the week.

Back in 2016, I reposted an inspirational blog filled with beautiful colour photographs.

I am now being pursued by a law firm for unlawful use of one of those photographs, for not having paid for the copyright to use it for the past 5 years. The figure came in at £1045

Somewhat shocked, as you can imagine, I politely pointed out that it wasn’t my post, merely a reblog. I also got in touch with the original post’s author – she’s heard nothing.

They grudgingly agreed to take this into account, and now want £800

So there is a clear message here: take extreme care when reblogging. If the post contains photographs, you might want to ask if the author has checked out their origins and obtained copyright and/or attribution before you repost.

Just one more thing we have to think about in this litigious age we live in.

35 comments

  1. Sympathies on the loss of your dogs; they’re all special in some way.
    That sounds really bad luck about the photo. Sounds a bit dodgy too, having taken that long to track you down and targetting only you. Do you know anyone who can advise without actually charging you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m don’t, I’m afraid, although there is a legal lady who does newsletters for authors I think I will contact and see if she can advise. I have checked out both the solicitor’s firm and the photo agency online and both seem kosher. I’m guessing they have nothing else to do during lockdown, so they have the luxury of searching for miscreants like me. I DO think it’s odd they haven’t contacted the original post creator, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Deborah – don’t let this ass hat drag you through the mud. You must look like a tempting target to them, a nice polite person who always wants to do what’s right. They may not have the right to do what they are doing and they know it. They may be scammers and have no intention of going after the original poster.

    Big hug from across the pond. I’m so sorry about your doggies ❤ You loved them very much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Connie – I know you are always incredibly careful with the images you use, and I try to do the same, but I never even thought of it in relation to a reblog. There is no question the image did appear on my site, so I’m not quite sure what legal grounds I have, but I am disputing it at the moment and will continue to do so until I run out of arguments!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Scam artists like these (even if they operate above the law their still scammers) work because they wear people down. The trick is out wait them … conduct a ‘paper-war’ as an ex of mine used to say. Back in the day when one actually wrote letters back and forth with these jerks and posted them in envelopes with stamps on them and everything. 🙂 Good luck.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m on it! Unfortunately they do seem to be a perfectly legit legal firm, so I know I need to keep communicating with them.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Debbbbbbbbbbb, holy crap! This mercury retrograde is wreaking havoc in every which way. My condolences for your losses. Remember who you took them in and gave them a good life before they went off into doggie (and hen) heaven. My life too has been a tornado, had to get hub back to hospital yesterday and because of our new lockdown and new variants not allowed to be there with him. Nightmares!
    Okay about the copyright – do you remember years ago I posted lots on this same copyright issue I got hounded by from LLC Getty images. I did the same thing 6 years ago, reblogged someone’s post and got nabbed for copyright for the image! First, did you download the image and post on your blog, or did you copy and paste the image?
    Check out my old post here and the links later in the post, you may find helpful info. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d forgotten you had this issue before, Deb, thanks for the links, any help is useful.
      All I did was click the reblog button. I didn’t download the image separately, it just showed up in the snippet that comes on your own site with a reblog. Not sure where that leaves me?
      All advice gratefully received. I tried clicking on the link inside your post about ‘What to do if you receive notice of copyright infringement’ but it tells me I don’t have the permission necessary to view that page 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What the heck, let me go check it and see what I can do. And hmm, I’m wondering if by ‘reblogging’ a post with an image, meaning your reblog leaves a link on the original blog as a pingback, maybe that’s how the bots found you. Personally, ever since that crap started with me, I use ‘press this’ I never immediately reblog. ‘Press this’ send the post to my drafts in dashboard. When I’m ready to reblog, I open up a new page and I open the tab of the post I want to reblog. I copy and paste what I want from the post and NO pictures, unless I know the source or the author who is aware of these infringements. I only add photos of images created by the author or are their own.
        Okay, I just went over to my post and yes, it seems the page now needs permission. I Googled the girl name who wrote the article and found this, I hope it helps – lots of links at the bottom of the article https://lawcorner.in/how-to-respond-to-a-copyright-infringement-notice/#_ftnref2

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Deb, nothing is being that helpful yet, as this is such a specific case, so I’ve emailed a solicitor to ask if there is anything I can do. I’d rather not spend out on hiring legal council, that will probably end up costing more than the fee I’m already being asked for.
        I’m going to be very chary in future about reblogs, and will probably use the ‘Press This’ button like you do – I had no idea why it was worth doing that until now.
        I also now need to waste all that time going back over years of posts and cleaning them of anything dubious 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oye! That was a very gross job. Once you do that, you’ll remember to not use other people’s images you don’t know well enough where they get their photos. 🙂 Found this for you to beware you aren’t being scammed https://splc.org/how-to-respond-to-auto-generated-copyright-infringement-notices/

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, not looking forward to it 😦
        I’ve checkout out the law firm and the copyright holder – all legal. I just don’t get why they are targeting me and not the original post.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It’s bloody annoying. This happened to me twice! And yes, the original poster nada! WTF?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. 😦
        I’ve had an answer back to say it looks like I will be liable because WordPress saved the image to my media library. Bloody annoying is about it.
        I am looking into one of the links you’ve sent me, however, I just hope they can help.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Wow! That’s ugly. Make a phone call to the complainer. Is it a person or LLC? LLC are the worst!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. It’s an agency. That’s my next move.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Keep me posted 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It seems to me if they’re is no blatantly commercial intent to use these pictures, then a lawsuit against you would have less bearing. Also the frequency of its reuse might be something I would contest. Sorry to hear of your dog losses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my latest response has pointed out the blog is non-monetised, and I have yet to hear back from them, that’s now 2 weeks. I’m not expecting this to just go away, but I’ll fight damned hard against the unfairness of the targeting.

      Like

  5. I’m so sorry to hear about your shrinking dog family, Deborah. What a sad sad week. You’re hearts are huge though to give these pups a safe and loving refuge even though you know it will only be for a time.
    And awful to hear about the copyright mess. I only use pixabay, and I’m careful about reblogs. Not that I haven’t missed something. It’s incredibly important to stay alert. I hope it gets worked out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, it’s always hard losing them, but at least we know they had a good end to their lives.
      And the image – I am far more careful these days, but this was before I realised how vigilant you should be, and it never even occurred to me a reblog would be a problem, as it wasn’t my content. Know I know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d heard about the reblog risks a few years ago and went through and deleted some of the reblogged old posts where I wasn’t sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wish I had. That’s what I’m doing for the next while.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sorry to hear of your losses, and I appreciate the news about copyright warning. Something we all need to be more mindful of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope I will have helped someone to avoid this same issue. Sadly it’s just another drain on our time, but that’s life.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Deborah, I recently published a blog post about ‘reblogging’ and mentioned some of the pitfalls, including copyright infringement. I linked back to Debby Kaye’s post about her being fined for reblogging a post with images in it that were not free to use. Debby kindly sent me a link to your post.

    I see from some of the comments that people think it may be a scam, so I was wondered if you wouldn’t mind giving an update on the latest position regarding the copyright claim. I’d like to include a link to your post on my recent post and include a link to it in an upcoming post about copyright.

    I used to reblog but switched to using “Press This’ many years ago, but only because of running short of media space on my blog because of the reblogs. Then I read Debby’s post about copyright infringement, and ‘Press This’ seemed a better way to share the blog posts of other bloggers.

    I’m sorry to hear both about the passing of the lovely dogs you foster and also the copyright infringement you’re facing because of the reblog you did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hugh, the good news is there’s no news!
      Following the tactic of staying in touch but continuing to dispute the claim seems to be doing the trick. Last time I contacted the solicitor I pointed out that my blog is non-monetized, and reiterated the point about not being the originator of the material, along with a question about why they hadn’t contacted the person whose post it was. That was over a month ago and I’ve not heard any more from them.
      I’m not discounting the possibility that they may yet come back at a later date (there’s no question about the image – I’ve tracked it down on the owners site, and got the solicitor to send me the screenshot of it showing up on my blog even though it didn’t show up on my own home page, which only showed the first image, while theirs showed the first 3, which included the one in question), but it does look likely that they are going after easy targets who will pay up rather than ‘discuss’ the situation. I’m way too stubborn to do that, and in this case it seems to be paying off.
      It is imperative to answer them within the specified time (usually 10 days), or they can get you legally for ignoring the demand, but answering without agreeing to pay has worked so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for coming back to me, Deborah. Do you believe it’s all genuine and not a scam? It’s good to know that they’ve not yet come back to you, but even if they never do come back, I think it’s a good lesson to all bloggers to be very careful when reblogging posts. I do not doubt that some people would have paid straight away. I’d have done the same as you and disputed it with them.
    It reminds me a little of a scam I almost fell victim too about 15 years ago. I kept writing back and disputing everything to them with lots of questions. They eventually got fed up with me and left me alone.
    Would you mind keeping me posted? If I can tempt you to write a guest post about the whole thing, I’d be delighted to feature it on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I checked out both the company that owns the image, including locating it on their website. I also checked out the firm of solicitors, and they appear kosher too, though a little odd that they are an Italian firm apparently representing a British company.
      What I didn’t do is contact the owners to ask if the solicitor actually represents them – I researched before replying, and one of the legal sites advised not contacting the owners directly. I’m reserving the notion of a direct plea for later, in case things progress.
      I’m hoping that won’t be necessary, I have a few other points I would go to before that, I’m just hoping by not caving in immediately, they’ve lost interest as not worth the effort.
      Sure, I can put a guest post together, just leave it a couple more weeks so I’m more certain it isn’t going to come back to haunt me.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s great. Thanks for accepting my invitation, Deborah. There’s no rush. I’d rather wait to see if there are any other developments.
    Feel free to contact me via the Contact Hugh button on the menu bar of my blog about the post. We’ll be able to email each other then. It’ll also be an opportunity for you to promote your books to my readers.

    Thanks again, Deborah. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you won’t hear any more from them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers, I’ll be in touch

      Like

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