PicRights.com

It’s not been a highly productive few weeks for me. Lots of life stuff getting in the way of writing including a cold that has just been clinging on, followed by a nice finger infection and constant tiredness. I am determined to do better tomorrow!

One nasty thing that came along out of the blue, and used up a lot of my time, was a couple of emails from an organization called PicRights.com informing me that I was in breach of copyright for three images I used on my blog some time ago. Two of these were Press Association Images and one was from Science Photo Library. My immediate response, seeing as this was a demand for money was, ‘Is this a scam?’ I took advice on it and meanwhile received the same from this organization through the post. I emailed the two image libraries concerned and received confirmation that PicRights represented them.

The time drain for me was then to go onto my blogs and delete every image that might be dodgy. Mea culpa here because I did use those images in a blog without crediting their source, though, I have to add that I almost certainly did not get them from the libraries concerned. Probably I got them from Facebook or Twitter. Also, me complaining about this would be a case of cognitive dissonance since I am the first to complain about the torrent sites where people steal my books. One particular post high-lighted this for me. This was from a photographer detailing his expenses and time in obtaining certain images. But I was also annoyed by the fact that I was being hit for long ago blog posts whose visits weren’t above twenty or so, and that this was likely a money spinner along the lines of those used by ambulance-chasing lawyers. I was in a situation where I could have gone to court but it could have cost me thousands, so I paid up.

Those three images cost me £383 for past usage, a deal of stress and many hours of time that would have been better spent writing. I guess this is a salutary lesson to us all.

15 thoughts on “PicRights.com

  1. Hi Neal,
    I am the CEO of PicRights and I like your comment. Sorry for the time and the money you had to spend – however, photographers deserve the same protection for their work as you do for your art. We try hard to make it an easy process to resolve infringements by providing a payment portal, needed documentation and requesting fair license fees. Additionally we have a chat to prove that our payment request is not a scam and our clients show our logo on their website and testify that we protect them. I am sure you would like the same protection for your work – unfortunately we do not have them (yet).
    Hope your cold is over, finger infection and constant tiredness are gone and you can concentrate on your excellent writing!
    All the best!
    Alfred

    1. Hi Bill. I have had a similar communication. Is this definitely a scam? How do you know this, as I want to know how to proceed. In my case, I was in hospital (having spinal surgery) last August for a few weeks. During that time a friend said he would update our website for our small flower shop so that purchases could be made online, and he unknowingly used some images from Pinterest which we have since been told belonged to AFP who are represented by Picrights. The crazy thing is, the images were only live for a ridiculously short period of time (maybe six days in August) so that I could approve my friends work from my hospital bed. Ironically, we decided not to go with the proposed layout of the site, or indeed those four images which were live for the briefest period of time. To my amazement, I have received a demand from Picrights for a payment of £4660.00 for images that were never finally used on our site – what are the odds of them seeing these images when they are only ‘live’ for less than a week!? IAs a very small family owned business, if we were forced to pay this amount it would almost certainly shut us down. I have tried to contact the company Picrights claim to represent in this matter, but they have not responded to my emails. Seems very suspicious… Are you certain they are a scam company?

  2. Its garbage they set their website up March of 2016, these scare tactic scams never work in the United States. Be in good faith remove what they claim to be, and move on with your day. I got one of these BS emails from a website I haven’t used in years back in 8/2016, deleted the site and blocked his email (would of never seen their email in the first place since it was in my spam folder and was doing some cleaning). Never heard shit from them again. They just came up with a way to do some fishing. Neat little scam, send out 1000’s of these letters and emails, if 2-3% of people pay they make some profit. Just goto to pinterest or Instagram I bet the pic(s) you used are posed on those sites 100’s of times. Now as far as torrent sites pushing your books, music, software, games etc that’s a whole different story.

  3. Hi
    Here in the UK, we received e-mails from the same PICRIGHTs.
    The information I have gathered suggests this is a scam
    Their company address in the UK is a Mail Forwarding Company, not an actual business address.
    The company was formed in Jan 2018 with just one Director,
    https://uk.linkedin.com/in/annequilliet
    who when you look at the Linkedin Profile is well constructed, but lacks detail.
    The individual and company are not known at the address given to UK Companies House, (address is 4 Imperial Place, Maxwell Road, Borehamwood, WD6 1JN, which is a Regus Office block, with numerous companies) which happens to be a shared office space.
    The other person listed to the business, Alfred Hoefinger, is also a fake when you investigate his digital profile such as Linkedin.
    The telephone numbers given happen to never get answered, they just ring regardless of the time of day.
    If you make an enquiry for the company to represent your images you don’t get a reply, not exactly a business looking for business.

  4. Got a letter in mail today from PicRights. Same story as above. Apparently image belonged to “Science Source” sciencesource.com

    Before I dive in, some critical info to note:
    PicRights had this contact info in the letter:

    Company: PicRights Ltd.
    3 Concorde Gate, 4th Floor,
    Toronto, ON, Canada M3C 3N7
    Phone 1 888 367 7778

    I contacted Science Source and talked to rather friendly lady that explained to me that they hired PicRights to go after companies that use their artwork. She did not want to discuss legal aspects of when company can or can not press charges for copyright infringement. Fair game. She is no lawyer, probably bought into their marketing and didn’t do due research to find a better partner. So I think Science Source ( sciencesource.com ) is really not to blame here for not doing proper homework.

    I am however insulted and lost whole day of work with this case. I had enough and will be reporting it to police. I believe that PicRights needs to stand up for their delinquent actions. Just for reference PicRights website is (picrights.com).

    I sent 2 emails to Science Source today. I posted them under this comment. Before you go about reading it, I want to thank all the people who contributed to this blog. It has been extremely helpful in getting started with my research. I believe we as community need to stand up, be logical and brave and tackle issues that infringe on our rights. Let us all be brave and strong. If they take me to court I shall stand up for what I belie is just and shall blog about it, publish articles and share on social media.

    I’ll keep updating this post with more info as this unravels. Meanwhile I will be posting this info across facebook, Linked In, Twitter, and if I have time will make a You-Tube video.

    —- First email to Science Source (sciencesource.com) about PicRights (picrights.com) copyright infringement accusations —–
    Good Day.

    I contacted your company today with regards to PicRights company that I am dealing with right now. They sent me a fine for having an image that appears to be copyrighted under you company.

    After a bunch of research I discovered that PicRights used to be LCS and they had to change their name due to illegal extortion tactics that they have used. There is ample of information about them online. Here is a very helpful blog that I found that talks about their practices:

    https://kjfarnham.com/2016/01/13/copyright-infringement-claim-aka-extortion/

    They can’t fine me unless they prove that damage has been done to your company “Science Source” and image indeed has been copyrighted. They are not providing either of the two documents and thus their claims and requests for money are not only unlawful but illegal.

    I will be starting a similar blog thread as above filled with meata keywords of PicRights and “Science Source” and will share every occurrence of my correspondence with both your company and PicRights. I will also share publicly every single aspect of this process through social media channels including You-Tube and newspapers.

    I am firm believer in honesty, and transparency and this case how ever it unravels will receive maximum spotlight in media.

    I hereby state that this is not a threat, and by no means am I implying that I am planning to damage reputation of PicRights or Science Source, but I will fight this case publicly and present all of my correspondence un-edited.

    —- Second email to Science Source (sciencesource.com) about PicRights (picrights.com) copyright infringement accusations —–

    Small update on the subject.

    I spent whole day on this, researching, reading, took a day off work.

    At this time my research had showed that PicRights has no grounds to come up with fines without first providing adequate paperwork to support their claims. Bloggers and facebook users get fined for re-posting an image.

    If I was to send mail like what they sent me, that would be considered Harassment and scam.

    Thus on Monday I am planning to get all of the info together and take it to Police Department. If this continues I might take this case to small claims court. This is just absurd.

  5. I have been having a similar issue.

    I have however paid a £175 fee for an image that was used 2 years ago on a client’s site. We are always very careful about images and copyright so was rather dubious to pay.

    I did however have to pay after they threatened me to raise the issue with the client rather than myself, taking no notice that as a creative agency the issue was with my company. When detecting that I obviously didn’t want the issue raised with the client, they signed off every email with – “As you are unable to reach a settlement on your client’s behalf, we will continue to pursue this matter with your client.”

    It has become quite obvious that these guys are simply crooks and would advise anyone who received a letter or email to do their research into the company they are claiming to represent.

    I am currently trying to contact CEO, Alfred Hoefinger, are will be sure to keep you posted with regards to progress. While I cannot see me getting my money back from these guys, I would be interested to see if they ever reply to the emails I have sent.

    https://mmjdoctor.com/picrights-fraudulent-copyright-enforcement/

  6. We received one here in the UK by email and post a couple of weeks back and have assumed it’s a scam. Information regarding copyright of the image used is non-existent and they are obviously discounting the possibility that it was purchased by a third party (design company) and paid for direct to them at point of publication.

    If they are legit (and I doubt they are) they will have to spend money to take us to a small claims court, something which I believe is highly unlikely. They will then have to prove ownership of the image and licence to pursue a claim on behalf of a third party. At this juncture we would simply provide a copy of the invoice and proof of payment made to the third party.

    For those who may have simply taken an image from the internet, I would offer also offer this advice. The large sums quoted by other ‘victims’ for what I would regard as a stock image worth less than £25 is certainly something a court would take into consideration, and well worth the gamble should it actually progress that far.

    Personally I hope they do take the next step up the legal ladder but, as mentioned earlier, if they are not scammers, they are little more than debt collectors who rarely like to spend out and gamble with the UK’s legal system.

  7. Thanks for all your comments, and as discussed, these punks seem to be nothing more than debt collectors using bully and scare tactics to extort money from people. Thing is we don’t even have a debt with these guys. They are providing no paperwork or proof to support their claims, no evidence to suggest we have damaged the reputation of anybody and as mentioned above what they are doing is wrong and possibly illegal. Personally, I only saw this because my colleague was copied into an email (i am in the marketing team), asking her to pay this fine for copyright infringement. I scrolled dowm and saw the initial email from picrights and thought, who the f*ck are these guys? From experience (and sheer common sense) I never just pay random strangers on the internet because they have sent me an email. Logic suggests some further investigation was required and I was simply shocked that this claim was passed down 5-6 people in my company without anyone batting an eyelid. I mean are people that naive? Just because something looks official and is saying you need to pay, does that mean you are unable to conduct independent research? I would never pay for anything like this unless a f*cking court has summoned me and is dragging me to the courthouse by my fucking balls! 10/10 times I would consider an email like this as spam, and I am simply shocked people would pay without questioning things.Anyway all I had to do was Google this sh*thouse of a company and I found you guys, so it is clear no payment should be made and as mentioned, if they were serious they would take you to court which they wont be, and until they provide some facts and evidence, they can f*ck off. Thank you for your comments, it has been an interesting read!

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