In the last couple of years, companies have formed with the sole purpose of scouring the internet for the unauthorized use of copyrighted works. It’s a booming business that benefits big stock photo companies like Shutterstock and Getty Images, but is becoming a bigger and bigger problem for small business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs.
Even though there are no official numbers, it’s estimated that up to 50% of all infringement cases don’t take into consideration the so-called ‘fair use’ defense. In other cases, the companies sending out copyright infringement letters threaten small business owners to pay thousands of dollars for images that actually belong to the public domain.
This is why the platform Fairplay in Photos has been launched to help the thousands of business owners and freelancers who are at risk of having to pay these unfair copyright claims.
According to the US Copyright Office, the average infringement claim varies from 750 – 30,000 USD plus attorney’s fees, but in especially egregious cases of willful infringement, courts may award up to $150,000.
According to the United States Sentencing Commission, the 2021 fiscal year saw more than 100,000 copyright infringement cases. A number that continues to rise.
Fairplay in Photos is totally free and is a response to a culture, in which major stock photo companies threaten small entrepreneurs to pay fines for images that were CC0 and did not even belong to these stock photo providers.
What has been seen numerous times is stock photo platforms uploading CC0 images to their websites and then afterwards sending out copyright infringement letters to use these images, even though they didn’t actually belong to the stock photo platforms.
CC0 is a license term that describes an image, with which the creator of the work (e.g., a photo) has decided to relinquish all copyright and similar rights and dedicated those rights to the public domain.