Copyright Infringement Claim AKA Extortion

This post is for anyone who has ever shared an image online. Specifically bloggers.

Yesterday I received an email from a company called License Compliance Services, Inc. regarding an image that was posted on my blog. They claimed that I used the image without permission from their client, AUGUST.

Here’s a copy of the email:

On Jan 12, 2016, at 9:48 AM, <> <> wrote:

License Compliance Services, Inc. on behalf of AUGUST
701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4200
Seattle, WA 98104, United States
Email:, Telephone: +1 855 387 8725,

January 12, 2016

Attn: K. J. Farnham

Further to our prior correspondence to you, we hereby reiterate that unauthorized use of AUGUST’s represented imagery is considered copyright infringement and entitles AUGUST to seek compensation for infringing uses (Copyright Act, Title 17, United States Code).
Please note that removal of the imagery alone does not resolve this matter.

You have previously been notified of this matter and to date, we have not received payment or any proof of a valid license.

AUGUST is willing to offer you one more opportunity to resolve this matter.
Your failure to make payment immediately will result in escalation to our legal representatives and the possibility of legal action being commenced for damages exceeding the amount presently being offered by way of settlement.

To avoid the possibility of legal action, you are required to immediately remit the {Original_Amount} settlement payment by one of the following options:

  • Online payment. You can remit your payment online at:
  • Check payment. You can remit payment by check to:
    License Compliance Services, Inc.
    701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4200, Seattle, WA 98104, United States
    Please include Reference 4864-6431-2554 with check payment.

Full information regarding this claim can be viewed at
For any question or if you believe you have mistakenly received this letter please contact us by email at or by phone at +1 855 387 8725.


License Compliance Services

Since I never received previous correspondence from them (even though they say I did), my first thought was that it was a scam created by someone hoping I’d click on one of the many hyperlinks within the email, resulting in a virus on my computer. But after further inspection and after looking up LCS and AUGUST, I decided to investigate a bit more before deleting the message.

First, I clicked to view full information regarding the claim. The link took me to a PROOF OF USE page that shows the image in question. To my surprise, it’s an image of Jamie Lee Curtis that I REBLOGGED back in May 2015. However, the photo doesn’t show the part of the screen that says I REBLOGGED it, and it doesn’t show where the original site that featured the article is cited and hyperlinked. I obviously can’t post the picture here, but here’s the text from that page:

Unauthorized Use of AUGUST’s Imagery.

AUGUST has mandated License Compliance Services to handle the matter of unauthorized use of its images.

AUGUST has noticed its represented imagery being used on your company’s website.
After searching its records, AUGUST was not able to find a valid license for this use.
You should note that use of an image without a valid license is considered copyright infringement in violation of copyright laws.

You can see below the imagery represented by AUGUST (left) and proof evidencing the use of this imagery on your website (right).

Click next to view the payment details, and then proceed with payment.

I clicked NEXT to view the payment detail, simply out of curiosity NOT because I intend to pay them anything. Guess how much they say I owe for reblogging a photo of Jamie Lee Curtis… $510! Seriously?

At that point, I became nervous so I discussed my dilemma with a group of author friends.

Here are some useful links I received during the discussion:

I also received this fine nugget of information (Thanks, ND!):

“…with copyright, you only have to pay if (1) they have registered it via the copyright office and (2) they can prove damages. BOTH are required. This is true of anything that is copyrighted. If copyrighted but not registered, all they can ask for is you to remove it (cease and desist).”

ETA: Copyright exists at the moment of creation, no registration is required. Registration with the US Copyright Office avails the creator the ability to sue for damages, but they can still sue you if not registered..Granted most won’t sue if the image is not registered and registered properly, as it would cost them more then they could “win.” (This is according to Robert Krausankas, who weighed in on this post in a PM to me.)

And this (taken from the LCS site):

“…This is called infringement. (This does not include non-commercial use, such as social networks or personal blogs.)”

After reading about these extortion schemes and learning these tidbits about copyright and infringement, I now believe that this is a frivolous threat. So this is how I responded to their email before deleting it:

I never received a first notice about this. By the way, I reblogged this post from another blogger’s site. Her post also included the source of the photo. I’ve removed my post and won’t be paying you people a dime. Don’t you have bigger fish to fry?

ETA: This would not be a valid defense, first notice or any notice is not required..and reblogging would only be a defense IF the image in question was linked to and NOT stored/Copied on your server.. Including a source does not absolve anybody of anything. (This is also according to Robert Krausankas, who weighed in on this post in a PM to me. Certainly important info to keep in mind about copyright law, but not relevant to this whole LCS debacle because they’re scammers!)

A bit snarky? Maybe. But $510 for an image that I reblogged? Give me a break! And you know what makes this shakedown even more ridiculous? This particular reblogged post on my site was viewed by a grand total of three people. And those three people viewed the post on the day it was reblogged back in May. Not one person has seen it since.

And one last tidbit, the blogger whose post I reblogged has NOT received an extortion letter like this from LCS. In fact, until I contacted her, she still had the post up on her blog. It’s gone now though. So,  at least that’s one less potential victim of LCS.

Have you ever received a copyright infringement claim like this before? How did you handle it?


I received the following emails today (1/14/16):


Message body

I responded to this one by marking it as spam.

About 10 hours later, I got this one…

  • K. J. Farnham

Message body

94 thoughts on “Copyright Infringement Claim AKA Extortion”

  1. Thanks, Tina! It is scary. And what’s weird is there isn’t much online about people receiving claims like this. Makes me wonder if people are afraid to post about it because they really think they did something wrong. I mean, I know there are those who intentionally break copyright laws, but then there are those who would never do it intentionally.

  2. Super scary! Glad you were able to find more information out versus paying for it straight away due to threats. I thought your reply back was completely spot on.

  3. I received a similar letter, but was accused of taking it from a photo archive company. I asked them for proof of registration, and noted that the size I used (which I had not taken from an archive, but from an education site, which offered to share images and worksheets). I also said that I do not have a commercial blog and the amount ($789) seemed excessive and asked for proof that they had sold the image for that amount. I received the identical letter as the second one you posted, word for word. It didn’t answer any of my questions. I’m in the process of hiring a lawyer. If you pay them, they will come after you again, for more money. I did removed the image from my blog and my server, as a precaution and to show good will. Good luck with your case.

  4. Thanks for sharing your situation. I’m curious…why are you hiring a lawyer? Do you feel that ignoring them isn’t enough of a solution? I read in several places that after three years from when they first reported the supposed infringement, they can’t do anything about it. The thing that really gets my goat is that they present these emails as if the recipient is guilty when that’s not always the case. Best of luck to you as well!

  5. I received one of these last weeks. I work with nylon shop, they sell my brand, and one of their photographers used my product for a shoot, they published in their magazine. Of course, I was thrilled we were published but not thrilled about the $800 fee for posting the image on my site. I got Nylon to help me get the fee down to $500. After I paid, this extortion company wouldn’t give me any further information as to how to share the photo under our press column. Hung up on me. Terrible customer service. Felt like they were speaking from a script and only cared about getting as much money from me as they could. I finally got in touch with the photographer after I had paid and she has no idea that I was being persued. I knew getting my lawyer involved would cost me even more so I didn’t bother. Ruined my month.

  6. So sorry to hear about your troubles. Really disturbing. Thank you for sharing your experience. It might help others who are afraid to ignore LCS, which appears to be nothing more than an extortion company.

  7. We are too currently dealing with this exact same letter and threats. They even somehow retrieved and called my girlfriend’s, and fellow employee, cell phone number and called her after she questioned the customer service woman so much that she quit the chat.

    We’ve done a ton of research on this License Compliance Services. It’s a scam. They’re not a registered company on the state of Washington.

    Their phone number is the exact same as a website called PicScout. I called the number and asked what PicScout was and the woman became VERY irritated, defensive, and hung up on me.

    Our plan is to do the same as you did: tell them where they can stick their $902 they want from us for using a 300 x 300 px image on our blog 4 years ago and moving on with our lives. They aren’t a real company, and if they wont spend the time or money to actually sue us.

    Con artists do everything they can to appear legitimate. This is why it’s so important to do your research. Thank you for sharing your testimony about this. The more their bogus letters are spread, the more we can stop these scammers from extorting money from people.

    Spread the word; LCS is not a real company.

  8. Irritated But Informed, so glad you stopped by. I totally agree with you that we need to come together and get the word out about LCS’s tactics. The really sad and confusing thing here is that they’ve been up to no good for years, as far as I can tell. When I searched for others who’ve received similar threats, I found very few. I assume that’s because people are afraid. 😦 Thank YOU for sharing your story.

  9. Interesting post. As I am another victim of LCS extortion, I’ve been googling around to see what I can learn about it, First off, PIcscout is Getty images who are the biggest internet trolls in this business.
    They came after me a year ago for a ‘reblogged’ picture on my site, just like what happened to you. It was a damn reblog of someone else’s photo and a link. I’m a law abiding person and didn’t want any trouble and paid it.
    Now they’re back for 2 photos THAT AREN’T EVEN ON MY BLOG. When I got that first fine, I went through every single blog I ever posted a year ago and got rid of all images that were questionable. Now they’re fining me for 2 of those long ago removed photos, that somehow they have screenshots of them on my blog. Apparently internet providers are giving free reign to these companies. These trolls fish out photos and see the IPS addresses where they’ve been downloaded around the world, then contact the internet providers for email addresses, letting them know that they are ‘helping stop copyright infringement’ by being proactive in providing our addresses. Apparently Canadians (like me) are the biggest target because of some loophole.
    These thieves will go through every picture ever downloaded anywhere from anytime, find it on your server and tell you you’ve unlawfully downloaded it. Who can stop this madness?

  10. Thank you so much for commenting, djkaye. These trolls are just unreal, and you’re right, someone needs to stop the madness! In the meantime, I think it helps that people like us who’ve been harassed are communicating publicly about the issue. By banding together and refusing to respond to these extortion tactics, we’re taking baby steps toward putting them out of business.

  11. I’d like to think we are helping. But that won’t stop them from continuing to send the letters. I wish I knew more.

  12. I just received this same email today! And it is from a picture that comes from an rss feed that I put on my site and it sites the author. What action next needs to be taken next to stop these scammers? Has anyone tried calling their office? What happened after 10 days for those who didn’t respond?

  13. I never called them because it felt way too scammy when they sent more aggressive emails after I responded by email. I wouldn’t contact them at all!

  14. Mark 3/30/2016

    Put all of these types of letters in the bin, where they belong. Never negotiate with bullies. In most cases you will find that the image was never registered correctly or they don’t have the registration details because their paperwork is not in order. They are just a bunch of tea supping office collection clerks – keep this is mind and you’ll never lose any sleep.

    If they keep writing to you I’d suggest one of the following:

    1. Continue to bin the letters – remember that they are doing all the work, not you

    2. Threaten them with 1997 Harassment Act – Instruct them to CEASE and DESIST

    3. Charge them £30 per letter you send them and £100 per hour for any research you have to do formulating a reply. Invoice them for every separate reply you do, but the difference here is that unlike claims for copyright, claims for non-payment of invoices can be dealt with by the small claims court.

    Just view it as a little game.

  15. Mark 3/30/2016
    Put all of these types of letters in the bin, where they belong. Never negotiate with bullies. In most cases you will find that the image was never registered correctly or they don’t have the registration details because their paperwork is not in order. They are just a bunch of tea supping office collection clerks – keep this is mind and you’ll never lose any sleep.

    If they keep writing to you I’d suggest one of the following:

    1. Continue to bin the letters – remember that they are doing all the work, not you

    2. Threaten them with 1997 Harassment Act – Instruct them to CEASE and DESIST

    3. Charge them £30 per letter you send them and £100 per hour for any research you have to do formulating a reply. Invoice them for every separate reply you do, but the difference here is that unlike claims for copyright, claims for non-payment of invoices can be dealt with by the small claims court.

    Just view it as a little game.

  16. See why Getty Image is behind the scence, and LCS clown is on the stage now! They mailed a demand letter to a big lawyer firm specialied in COPYRIGHT LITIGATION by accident, Bingo!!!

  17. Have you ever heard from them again? I’m getting emails/letters about a picture on our website that we got from our website developer’s stock images.

  18. They are sending letters to our office as well. We put them in the trash and Godaddy told me to forward emails to, which I’ve done. People ARE paying them without trying to fight it though. They are counting on that. I have no doubt that Godaddy already owns the file in question. They are a legit company and they told us to choose from their stock files.


  19. Also, if you read all of the comments to the post, you’ll find a lot of other interesting info about LCS. In particular, look for the video that someone shared.

  20. Don’t pay, don’t ever pay. Lets just say for argument’s sake that they were actually REALLY going to sue you. This would go to small claims court, if they win there is STILL no way to make you pay THAT bill. They have no legal grounds. All they have to do is get 1 in 20 to pay and they are doing great.

  21. Hey dgkaye, I have not made any communication with them in the hope that it will stop. I’m surprised you mention they’ve been trying to contact you for years. I have blocked the emails, but am concerned that they have sent physical letters to me also. I saw this on the Which website and am wondering if it’s the step we should take or just to ignore it completely.

    “If you do receive correspondence you believe to be from fraudsters, you can forward it to Royal Mail with a covering letter to Freepost, Scam Mail, PO Box 797, Exeter, EX1 9UN. You can also email or call 03456 113 413. “

  22. Hi R. They haven’t been on me for years. They accused me last December (as I wrote above in my comment) and I paid them. Then 2 months later they came after me for 2 more photos, one of which I had already taken down, and one which didn’t exist. Incidentally, the one I had taken down they said was owned my ‘Almay’, the photo they screenshotted had a ‘shutterstock’ watermark through it. The one I used did not, and came from a site where it was CCO use. I mean who the heck is stupid enough to use a photo with a watermark through it? Anyway, I stupidly replied and told them I don’t even have those photos on my blog. They replied in Feb. saying I still had to pay. After reading lots around the web about this and talking to a lawyer friend about, I was told to ignore them and don’t respond. It’s been a month since I’ve heard back. But I don’t mind telling you, it’s uncomfortable for me everyday when I check my mail, as I fear another ‘scarier’ letter. Thanks for the email link. Have you used it? And what do you mean ‘you are worried they may have sent you letter you letters to your home? Wouldn’t you know if they have?

  23. Oh I understand, sorry I had misread..

    Gosh that’s awful. I had never heard of them until now. It’s some automated thing which crawls through the web and use their scare tactics. I guess as you previously responded and paid, they now think they can get more from you.

    And I mean, the thing that worries me is that they do have my address and have sent a letter. Whereas the emails I have blocked and I’ve reported their site, but I’m the same as you, I’m worried that they will send more letters.

    I think I shall email the Royal Mail scam helpers, and if as many people can do the same and report their website and flag them as scammers then hopefully we can help each other and warn more people of this.

  24. I looked them up on google maps and they did not show up so we contacted the Seattle Police Department. They said this is a scam (see the note below).

    Please disregard these emails as this is a scam. The address provided is for a fire damage restoration business. Don’t provide any payment or bank information to the suspect(s) contacting you.


    Felicia Montaño
    Administrative Specialist II
    Fraud, Forgery & Financial Exploitation
    Seattle Police Department
    East Precinct
    1519 12th Avenue
    Seattle WA. 98122-3907
    (206) 684-8981

    Please pass along so no one else is scammed!

  25. We contacted the police department in Seattle because when I looked up the company address, it did not show up on google maps. Here is what they told me:

    Please disregard these emails as this is a scam. The address provided is for a fire damage restoration business. Don’t provide any payment or bank information to the suspect(s) contacting you.


    Felicia Montaño
    Administrative Specialist II
    Fraud, Forgery & Financial Exploitation
    Seattle Police Department
    East Precinct
    1519 12th Avenue
    Seattle WA. 98122-3907
    (206) 684-8981

    Please pass along so no one else is scammed.

  26. Thank you Robin. I have also contacted the scam postal office here in the UK and sent this to them. I suggest we all do the same if contacted further and stop these awful people.

  27. Thanks again R. I may follow you with that. Please keep us all updated, as I will do. And just curious, when they sent you a letter to your home, was it the same as the email, or more threatening?

  28. Royal Mail got back to me and said they were sorry I had encountered this and gave me a form to fill out and also I sent them scans of the letter itself.

    The information from Robin below I also quoted, it definitely helps that an official from the Seattle Police department have confirmed it is a scam.

    And the letter I received was very much the same as the email saying I have 7 days to resolve the situation, on the back exactly the same thing as on the link with the screenshot of the images and their info. I also noticed that inside the letter it had the address of their supposed office. However, on the envelope the ZIP code was from an offshore island.

    I think because you have previously paid, it’s wise that you not only go to your mail department about this but also the police so that you can also get your money back in some way. I know it’s really something you don’t want to do, but again, because you actually lost money and were scammed by this, it’s probably the ideal thing to do.

  29. 701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4200
    Seattle, WA 98104

    This is shared, furnished office space…this company doesn’t even have a “real” office. We’ve never responded to emails or letters. What kind of legitimate company raises the “fine” the more someone does not respond. There is no way that they’d go through any type of litigation and no way that they’ll will collect any “damages”.

  30. Thank you so much ‘R’, for sharing. Wow, interesting, the letter was post marked from an offshore island. We really need to expose these people! Interesting that by the time they sent you the letter that they didn’t add they were escalating to legal department. How long ago did you get the letter, and since heard nothing more?

  31. Well, I received the email on 21st April, and then the letter in this same week saying I have 7 days left to pay. It’s the first time so I guess the 2nd letter, if they send, will be more threatening. I just wanted this sorted straight away and I knew I wasn’t in the wrong.

    From the Royal Mail:

    “Thank you very much for the information, your comments have been noted and your scans are just what we need to make enquiries. We are constantly trying to prevent this type of letter entering the postal system. We will contact you if we need any further information.

    If this is the only letter received, I suggest that you do not make any attempt to make contact. If you receive any further suspicious mail please send it to us at FREEPOST SCAM MAIL or scan and email it to”

    So, I can now relax and let them handle it 🙂

  32. Hey K.J, I just want to thank you so much for this thread, and to everyone who has commented. This really helped me to get my case resolved as all the other places I researched hadn’t stated things quite as clearly like as you’ve done.

    I urge everyone who is dealing with this to not communicate with them and to report it immediately. It has now officially been stated as a scam, so we need not worry – and most certainly do not give them any information. Also even clicking the link in the email, they’ll get your IP address etc. So don’t even open them, mark the emails as scam and delete. Forward the letters to your local authority or scam officers, and you’ll find that everyone is very happy to help stop this kind of problem.

    Thank you 🙂

  33. That’s fantastic! I wonder who this ‘royalmail’ is. And I also wonder if they’ve been getting many of these same types of submissions. And where on earth did they get your home address from? So infringing on our privacy.

  34. I’m in the UK, Royal Mail is our version of your Canada Post.

    LCS had addressed it to my company regarding our blog, and we are incorporated so our address is on company directories so that’s how they must have got it automatically.

  35. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all this info. I just got an email from these people and I did not know what to make of it. My first thought was something like this would normally come as a registered letter requiring a signature of acceptance. Threatening legal action and demanding compensation…when legit…does not come in an email like this.
    They are asking for $980.00! I googled the phone number and seems like this company is attempting to scam a lot of people. Beware…and thanks again for all of this info.

  36. Their email to me was followed up by a letter asa well. I somehow think if it was TRULY legit they would have sent a cease and desist from an attorney and the letter would have been registered. Scammers!!!

  37. Pay them NOTHING. We never paid, we never responded. We purchased our images legitimately from Godaddy. We sent their email to They’ll give up. They bank (literally) on the fact that one in ten or twenty will pay. Make them bring a lawsuit. They won’t.

  38. Hi Guys, Hope everyone is well – firstly, thank you to you all for posting – every insightful considering I have too received an e-mail and letter re an image on a blog. I was hoping to get an update from people who have decided to ignore, or request a settlement?

  39. I received a letter today, and I was freaked out at first until I read your post. Thank you for sharing the information. The link included in my letter was dead. We no longer use that domain which set off alarms in my head that is possibly a scam.

  40. I recommend not paying them. Don’t even respond. Not legal advice, of course, but based on the experiences of everyone who responded to this thread, these people are scammers.

  41. I got the same letter from this company about a mouth ago since then they have been emailing since asking for settlement of $750. I have not responded to the letter and email, any idea what should i do?

    Thank you

  42. I ignored them, but don’t consider that legal advice. If you read through the comments of this thread, you can find out what others have done besides ignore these extortionists. Good luck!

  43. This thread has put me at ease! I’m required to pay $800. Where do they even come up with these numbers?! I keep trashing the letters and deleting the emails. According to the most recent notice, I have 14 days to respond before they take further legal action.

    I understand now that it’s a scam, but I am curious to know if anyone has received further or more aggressive correspondence after their supposed “deadline?.

  44. I am so sick of the letters and emails. I was getting them more often than now, perhaps they gave up? I don’t want to respond to them because scammers often will latch on even tighter when they know they have “gotten” someone to communicate with. I have chosen to ignore them. But they still annoy the heck out of me. Wish I could go bang on the door and bring the cops with me!!!!

  45. I got a letter today myself. If someone don’t mind e-mail me I would love to speak with someone about this. Is this a big scam?

  46. I got a letter today too, asking for $650 (reduced from $1200!!) for a photo I reblogged on my website. How do they even find these things? I’ve taken it down but I don’t want to deal with these bullies any further.

    Should I report them as spam? Ignore them? Say something back?

  47. Omg, this happened to me too!

    I have a Tumblr blog where I reblogged a bunch of images from other bloggers. I synced this blog with the one on my Squarespace site. They emailed and mailed me about the image use. I caved on the first letter and paid $175 for an image that I had reblogged. Then a month later, these jerks came back saying I owed $800 for yet another image that I reblogged and demanded that “my company” (I am not a company, my blog is personal in nature) pay within 14 days. After that, I started researching LCS and found them to be extortionists.

    They are awful people who use mindless bots to scour the web for images and then send these letters out while ignoring the context in which images are used. My image use has always been fair-use. I reblogged for visual research purposes only and to provide commentary on those posts. They also never go after the original source of a reblog either. They are petty and awful.

    I rip up the letters and delete all their emails.

  48. Thank you so much for this thread. My fee was for $110. I haven’t paid, but have recieved 2 letters via mail and 3 emails. Just for an update the return address on the mail was 26 Queen Street East, Brampton, ON L6V1A3. This is what made me especially suspicious as the LCA address is 701 Firth Ave, Seattle, WA. Thanks so much for everyones responses. I’m not going to pay. Oh, and the kicker, they spelled my business name incorrectly on the Envelope. Pretty sure we’re not dealing with a Law Firm. Bastards.

  49. Hello everyone, I am so happy I found this forum and article about LCS Global. Ironically I received a letter in a mail from them yesterday, no signature, no name, they did not specify amount of money they wanted just kept redirecting me from link to link demanding for money. I found it suspicious and made my own research. The most interesting and useful information I found from this guy:
    If you will go deeper on the Internet there is a lot of compliance of them with BBB, individual forums and blogs of people who were extorted, scammed and harassed by them. I spoke with a several attorneys all of them recommended ignore them.
    The picture I have on my website they claimed I download it from Trunk Archive website which I’ve never heard of. I pulled my picture on the Google and found over 25 000 000 resources of the exactly same picture and half of them for free. They have offices in UK and Israel (supposedly) I decided to block all countries from visiting my website except US and Canada.
    I will file BBB compliance of them, also I will contact attorney general office asking to protect me and my business from harassment and extortion from these people. Attorney General office is keeping records and track of scammers.

  50. Wow, this “company” is just despicable. Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve learned, Elena. I’m so glad this post/discussion thread has helped so many people!

  51. They dont even send me letters/emails anymore. If you COMPLETELY ignore them, they move on to the next. I actually went to their site, they have a chat place. The person from their company was like “how can I help”? I gave them my case number as if I was about to pay, the person got very excited then I just started spewing all kinds of verbal garbage at him. He eventually shutdown the chat and stopped the conversation but it felt good to do. They are a completely fake company. Thieves.

  52. When I used said picture, I found it under google images “labeled for reuse”. It has since been moved. Kind of funny I think. I did get LCS to cough up the name of the photographer and I have contacted them to resolve this matter personally. But now I want to find out if it is registered. Everything I have looked up regarding LCS says they are phishing.

    Here is a response I received after requesting proof of the copyright license:

    License Compliance Services Inc. is a company that specializes in assisting copyright holders with the management and protection of their content. Our customers have mandated LCS to handle the matter of your online use of their imagery. We are here to protect the interests, intellectual property and livelihoods of our artists.

    The image in question is a copyrighted image, which have a very restrictive licensing model that limits use of an image to the specified size, type of use, placement, and duration of use set forth in the license. This image license is not transferrable or shareable. That is to say, a specific license is required for the use of the image on any given website. Ultimately, the responsibility to settle this case lies with your company directly.

    A valid license is required prior to publicly displaying any Rights Managed (RM) image on a website. You do not have a valid license to use the images in question. All it takes for you to infringe is to post a rights managed image publicly without a valid license.

    If you have proof of use, copy of the license or letter from the artist authorizing the use of the restrictive copyrighted rights managed imagery please forward us a copy for review.

    Images do not need or require copyright registration or notice of copyright in order to be protected. A copyright exists automatically from the moment that a photograph is taken. Federal copyright law does not require us to provide anyone with certificates of registration during an out-of-court settlement. Registration are not required with regards to settlement.

    Copyright law places the legal burden on a user of content to determine whether his use is legitimate and to obtain a valid license for such use from the proper owner. The burden is not on the copyright owner to police its work.

    Please provide a link to where you received the image in question so we may determine if indeed it was a public domain. And just because you view an image on the internet it’s not necessarily a public domain.

    Resolution in this matter includes the removal of the imagery and the payment of the settlement fee for the unauthorized use.

    For information regarding the infringement, please visit: Here you will see the imagery in question and where it was captured on your website.

    To view the Rights Holder Form, Statement of Authorization and Settlement Release Agreement go to “Additional Supporting Documents.”

    If you have proof of use, copy of the license or letter from the artist authorizing the use of the restrictive copyrighted rights managed imagery please upload any relevant documentation by clicking on “I have a license/authorization to use the imagery. What is the next step?”

    Also, this link is a video that was created by Getty Images to help explain how copyright infringement can occur and how to avoid it.

    Thank You,
    Koleta Vee
    License Compliance Services, Inc.
    Address: 701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4200, Seattle, WA 98104
    Telephone: 1.855.387.8725 Email:

  53. This is what LCS’s message sounds like to me: blah blah blah blah blah blah. They are scammers.This is not professional legal advice, but I recommend you ignore them. No matter what they say, ignore them. And don’t contact the supposed owner of that image. I also recommend you read through all of the comments on this thread. These people with LCS are extortionists. All the best ~KJ

  54. FYI, looks like they updated their letters….received a letter with the same graphic but company name was PicRights Ltd. with a new phone number of 888-367-7778

  55. Jesus Christ. I have a simple portfolio website where I post MY graphic design and MY photography (which I typically watermark) and I’ve been seeing IP addresses and referral links coming from PicRights. I would like to know why they are viewing my website, and if they are going to try to talk to me with this bs… I have since locked my website as password access only.

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

    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 ( ) 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 (

    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 ( about PicRights ( 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:

    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 ( about PicRights ( 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.

  57. Just a thought.

    It would be reasonable for company to ask first to remove an artwork from a published website. If owner of the website refuses to do so, then it is reasonable for company or author to talk about fines and escalate case further. It is not reasonable by a far stretch to come forward with a huge fine for an artwork that most don’t even know who and how it got to on the website. There are thousands of websites that offer free images that really are copyrighted. It’s unreasonable to hold accountable end user who may have got images from such websites.

    I think we can help fight this problem by contacting authors of artwork or companies that hired PicRights or other such agencies, and inform them of tactics that they use. The more phone calls and emails clients of PicRights get, the less they will be inclined to work with un-ethical legal firms. Posting in blogs is powerful. It helps others find solutions.

  58. Hello everyone, I received mail from LCS a year and half ago (see my topic above), was harassed for several months. That was strange, they never took any legal actions against me, just money extortion and threatening through mails and emails. I simply filed complain with NC Attorney General office…., and magic happed, never heard from them again ever, moreover, their website is gone and phone is disconnected.
    Three-four months ago, I received email from totally ignored them, never heard anything from them anymore.
    My experience with these “companies” tells me that they are just a balloons, and mean nothing, they do not have legal rights to prosecute you, because if they had such a rights, they would go for legal actions immediately, instead of to contact with you to extort for money.

  59. Good Day Elena,
    Thank you for you comment. Over these days I have found source that I got images from:,%20Canada/
    and they are covered by use all you want for free terms:

    So now that I have strong case that they are simply extorting money from me without any legal or reasonable grounds I am thinking of filing a lawsuit against them. It really was a nerve wracking experience, and no one should have rights to send such demand letters left and right without any concrete proof.

    If a police officer stops you, he stops you for a reason, and certainly doesn’t issue you a fine just because he thinks you are up to something. So I’ll probably be taking this to court. Anyone wants to join in?

    I am getting some legal advises here right now, and if lawyers deem that I have a case here I’ll make a legal rebuttal.

  60. Got one from picrights uk ltd yesterday, too, claiming a monstruous sum for an AFP picture.
    I got it on getty most probably so did pay for a licence, but it was in 2012 and I can’t find it. Thing is I checked them on companies house and it’s a £100 share company with one shareholder, aka director Anne Quilliet. It also sais “Nature of business (SIC) – 70229 – Management consultancy activities other than financial management”
    wich means:
    70.22/9 Management consultancy activities (other than financial management)

    This subclass includes the provision of advice, guidance and operational assistance to businesses and other organisations on management issues, such as corporate strategic and organisational planning, business process re-engineering, change management, marketing objectives and policies; human resource policies, practices and planning; production scheduling and control planning.

    This provision of business services may include advice, guidance or operational assistance to businesses and the public service regarding:
    – advice and help to businesses and public services in planning, organisation, efficiency and control,
    management information etc.

    This subclass excludes:
    – legal advice and representation, see 69.10
    – architectural and engineering advisory activities, see 71.11, 71.12
    – environmental, agronomy, security and similar consulting activities, see 74.90
    – executive placement or search consulting activities, see 78.10
    – educational consulting activities, see 85.60

    For all queries related to this Chapter or any other aspect of SIC Codes, please contact the Office of National Statistics on 01329 444970 or email

    I should probably ignore their request for £1500 for copyright infringement. I sent them a counteroffer of £200 wich seems more down to earth for a photo that I used on my website and I unpublished the site all together as I never traded under that name anyway. I’ll keep you updated 🙂

  61. Nothing happened and nothing will. They own no rights to these pics. They are just trying to extort you. They aren’t a real company. I tried finding them. They send that letter to thousands of people and they only need to get one person every once in a while to pay to make it worth it. Ignore it. I did and nothing happened.

  62. yeap, my £200 offer was rejected by picrights on behalf of their client (AFP) so I forgot to answer to their last email and nothing happend in over one month

  63. I spent over an hour reading all this from the beginning, and I was relieved, but kept thinking, “but my letter was not from LCS… it was a different bunch of crooks, PicRights…. what if my situation is different?” JUST as I was feeling all alone and depressed, I noticed the very first response, where some ANGEL watching over me happened to mention that “LCS changed their name to PicRights”….. I almost cried with relief. You guys have saved me from a complete nervous breakdown. I used a tiny image I found in a Google Image Search in a collage of images and quotes I made that was the header image on a page in my personal portfolio I keep online to show potential employers when seeking work. I never made money from my site, and to be honest, don’t think anyone else has ever even looked at my portfolio. I’m a costume crafts person for a theatre- not like I’m much competition in the job market to many, and with my fancy Masters degree I worked so hard for, I earn less than $400 a week. I am in debt up to my eyeballs, have horrible credit from medical bills, and live in constant stress and fear. If these people think I’m paying $500 for the past use of a pic of a hedgehog that no one ever looked at, they are dreaming. You can’t squeeze blood from a rock, you know? Thank you for your research, your advice, your perseverance and your reassurance at this time in my life, to all of you!!

  64. P.S. I contacted the company that supposedly owned the image directly to see if they might “have mercy”, and here is the response I got:

    “Thanks for your email. I’m very sorry to hear of your difficulties. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to offer much help as we have a contractual obligation to Picrights which prohibits us from dealing directly with the people they find using our photos.

    I hope you can find a way to offer something to Picrights and keep and open dialogue because if they involve lawyers it’ll get more expensive.

    Best wishes, Mark”

    WTF? Can I assume he is full of sh*t?

  65. Bottom line.. in the real world anyone can sue anyone.. Good luck collecting though. Ignore these thieves. They count on 1 in 100 paying.

  66. I’ve gotten two emails from and an actual letter sent via USM. I’ve ignored all correspondence and should they actually try and sue (highly unlikely), then the attorney will deal with them. Not worried about this at all and eventually they’ll give up. The agency they are “representing” is called Agence France-Presse and you can actually search the US copyright for that image. AFP on their website says they update their website with 3000 photos a day and have 36 million on “file”. My guess is the scammer goes online, and either grabs a file name from the copyright website or through the company itself. Unfortunately it doesn’t display an actual image so I have no idea if the image they say I used is really the image to that file name. Anyway, I’m done wasting time with this. Ignore it and they will eventually give up. Acknowledge it and then they’ll know they got a hold of you.

  67. They feed from your fear, similar to Indian call center scams but a bit more advance, they found a nice loophole and try to capitalise on it. Think about it , legit lawyers would send cease and desist , but these idiots sends payment links and use classic urgency tactics.

  68. Thanks! They’re still on this too, but switched the company to the emails come through as Global Rights Control for some reason. I have a friend who works for a major studio looking at their claim, but have since taken more precautions since I only run the site and the original infringement happened in 2016 before I knew anything about all this. The site is completely under compliance and a DMCA agency now which offers extra protections so I’d also register your blog or site too as an agent to get protection under the DMCA. They asked me for over a 1000 though which is robbery especially right now when I have no money and run the blog on my own for fun. I guess I’ll do the same as you and just block the email once my friend comes through with the info I need.

  69. I stupidly replied but now I’m deleting their emails. They are asking me for 22k for 3 images that were used and sourced properly. I’m sorry I answered and my advice to anyone is to ignore

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