PhotoAsia successfully recovered damages for copyright infringement from a client who sheepishly confessed that they have used our images for commerical use without authorisation. After five weeks of negotiations the client finally agreed to pay RM127,790 ($38,438.83) in damages for the use of 30 images from 18 different photographers represented by PhotoAsia. The 18 photographers have not been contacted yet but they should be getting their share of the damages by the first week of April 2010.
What caused the client to confess this infringement? We found out later that another library has sent them a lawyer’s letter for copyright infringement for an image. This started a chain reaction and the client decided to do some housekeeping, digging out all their projects that used images to see whether they have all been paid. To their horror they discovered that the staff in charge of these projects have not paid for the reuse of many images or renewed the licence to continue using some of the images. According to the client the staff has already resigned sometime ago and her inefficiency has only now been uncovered.
This particular client has been a regular and loyal client and we have no reason to doubt that this was an oversight on the part of one individual staff and not a deliberate desire of the company to infringe our copyright. In view of the fact that they themselves came forward to make retribution, we were happy to reduce the penalty and charged the client only three times the normal rate. They even came to hand us the cheque personally and I have to say that this is the easiet settlement that we have experienced and without the aid of a legal counsel too!