An Email Charged $950 For a picture Shown In A Website. Is This Legal or Scam?

I used an image with creative common license for an informational blog post.
Today i received an email from Pixsy demanding $950 for the use of that picture with ultimatum of 21 days.
If you have dealt with them before or have any idea, please let me know!
Ignoring them seems not an option since i made an mistake of not crediting the author.


9 👍🏽1 😢10 filtered from 67 💬🗨

Do you have information about where you legally sourced the image from? If so, I'd suggest that you provide this information to them as evidence that you've legally acquired the image and that it is available in more than one place. It might make them put their foot in their mouth and apologise. I'd also be looking into whether it's legitimate and whether their aggressive tactics are legal or a scam.

Usama » Fiona
I got that image from Flicker.
Fiona » Usama
No brainer then. Login to your Flickr account and show your receipt for the image.
Flickr is photo hosting site, they don't sell stock images. However, they list images under creative common which are free to use with a credit to artist. Our writer was not aware of using such images so we got this notice. Now they want an extraordinary amount for this.
Salman » Fiona
9/10 pixy letters are scams. IMHO, the better course of action is to simply credit the photographer where his photo was used and inform him directly about where you're using it because it is and ABSOLUTELY AMAZING image. You'll mostly likely get some sort of approval in response which you can shove in pixsy's face.

So the CC license required credit and you didn't provide credit?

Usama » Scott
Yes, our writer was not aware about how to use such images. However, now we need to deal with them and asking for tips from others who have received similar notices.

I have dealt with them with a similar issue, they want to close cases quickly so if you drag it out as long as possible they drop the amount they demand. Unfortunately there seems to be no way out of it but I just kept asking for justifications and evidence of everything, one issue at a time until they got fed up and dropped the amount requested by 50%

Usama » Wylie
Did you use image with cc license?
Wylie » Usama
Yes but didn't do proper attribution because I didn't know about it. They are nasty little sharks

Pixsy Copyright Threats Lawsuit Investigation | Did Pixsy threaten you?
Pixsy Copyright Threats Lawsuit Investigation | Did Pixsy threaten you?
Drag it out until you die.
Never had this issue, but I would keep the post as is and add a small subtext giving credit. Their screenshot can also be altered you can claim.
I also wonder where the 950$ comes from? Could you buy it for that price?
Do you know if the owner of the picture gets any money? If so how much? Maybe contact them directly and ask them to drop the suit in return for a small fee?
And next time give credit or buy the rights.
Wow a 50 % service fee so that could mean you could cut down the cost in half minimally.

Usama » Nijhof
Your advise is really helpful, I will contact the photographer today and ask to settle this without going through pixsy.
Lori » Nijhof
You can't do that. If they say pay us or take it down, you must. IF they really own it. The dollar value is often arbitrarily done based on what they think you can pay using traffic metrics. It's always negotiable, but there's a fair chance this is nothing but a scam which is why he needs to ask for proof of ownership.
Nijhof » Lori
They didn't say "or take it down" just pay us
Lori » Nijhof
No this is all about making money what they said was even if you take it down we can still Sue you. The reality is that most lawyers here are not going to take a law suit for $750
Nijhof » Lori
The easiest solution is to just pay for creatives
Lori » Nijhof
Absolutely. Or use free stock sites
Nijhof » Lori
Yeah, but that is what this guy did, wasn't it? Just "forgot" credits. Aren't most free stock sites like this?
Lori » Nijhof
Free stock sites usually convey the license so you have a copy

Interesting article.
Pixsy Copyright Threats Lawsuit Investigation | Did Pixsy threaten you?
Most of these emails are scam.
Ignore it and delete the picture from your blog.

Nagar » Aaron
I talked to him and checked links. It's legal mail


I've encountered this a few times with clients using unauthorised imagery. The problem with this scenario is it's an extortionate amount.
They also charge you for the rights to use the image up to this point, you then have to pay again for copyright usage as some of my clients are not tech savvy, we've handled cases for them.
Some people say to ignore and I get that but these guys don't go away and it's a constant pain.
My advice is ask them to pay quarter/half of the stated amount within a 14 period and you'll also copyright the image for later usage too.
Bite the bullet, learn your lesson (or the client) and move on.
Be careful. Not everything in the creative commons is legitimately there. Also Getty has a history of claiming CC content and sending out demand letters. This firm may be doing the same. Ask Pixsy to PROVE ownership. I know one photographer who intentionally released 100% of her content into CC got a demand letter from Getty and ran them through the legal ringer – suing them for capitalizing on her free content.
And to clarify, I have been through this twice with Getty. They were serious. Fortunately the content had been legally licensed and they were wrong.
I had a similar issue with Getty images years ago. I removed the image and ignored their demand for, I believe $1,600. Never heard from them after the second letter.
I believed that it would not be worth their effort to sue me, and it apparently was not.
Not saying that pixsy will handle it the same way though.

Lori » Todd
Those jerks put me into collection when I refuse to make one of these payments. I simply emailed the collection agency and explained I never had a contract to do business with Getty and therefore therefore they had no claim. Plus in California which is where they're located and had filed, they would have had to Sue me and lose before they could have sent me to collections. They removed it.

Lots of bot generated scams out there. Even with ADA compliance, the issue IS real and if you get a letter, it's time to do something, but there are lawsuit mills who send out hundreds a day figuring a percentage will pay and they rarely bother with those that don't. The problem for site owners is that it's not always easy to know who is a genuine threat, and who is just playing extortionist.

Nagar » Lori
I just checked email and confirmed it's legit.
The email may represent a real company but they are using bots to look for images just that make you a target. That's not human found that's 100% bot located. In this case the email is also likely auto generated.

They will only take you to court if they think they can get the $ out of you. The chance of that happening is very low, it costs something like $500-600 just to file. They send out thousands and then if they take people to court they pick the easy wins (businesses with online presence, corporations, etc).
Had a nightmare situation with them some 2 years ago.
Here's how my rsearch and activity got these vultures off my back.
1. Remove the image.
2. Wait for another email from them telling you you're still up for a fine.
3. Write back informing them that you have removed the image, and if they continue to harass you, you will take legal action starting with a Cease and Desist letter from your lawyer.
4. That's it. You won't hear back from them.
The copyright laws they'd throw at you do say that it's an infringement if you purposefully took that image and caused damage. It is up to them to prove what sort of damage you've made to the author of the image.
Also, this is a scavenger company. They don't represent anyone. They are an extortion operation preying on people. Whoever they screw up for cash, they then send some money to the author of that pic.
Tell them you had given credit in the source code or on a special dedicated page to give source credits. You were confused and so that is what you did. You still gave them credit in code or on another page. Tell them that you can show them the source code if they want. I had similar issue with getty almost 10 years back. My argument was the website never mentioned where the credit needs to go. They disappeared. Read their terms and see if they specify if the credit has to go under the image or what font color it has go in etc. They probably only have the screenshots of the image and not the source. Like everyone said make it hard for them and they will disappear.
Did you actually have the rights to use the image? If you did, then you have nothing to worry about. Send them the proof and be done with it.
If you did not, I would ask them to settle for a lower amount. They will probably take half that amount and go away.


As a photographer, I commonly come across this issue of people using my images and it's a hot topic amongst photographers in forums.
There are two main reasons why it is wrong to do:
First photographers requesting credit do this in order to a) increase brand awareness and b) obtain backlinks from the websites using the images – something I'm sure everyone in this group can appreciate the value of. That is in lieu of payment, and general 'free' stock image libraries will contain thousands of generic images shot for this very purpose.
The second reason is that clients have paid a photographer to produce images for them, because they want unique imagery. For them to find the imagery that they have paid for being used by other sites or their competitors rightfully makes them unhappy.
Many photographers, like myself retain copyright of the photos and use software that scans for the imagery being used on other sites.
You mentioned that you employed / contracted someone to do work for you – you still have the final say in which content has been published – you engaged that person to do something, and had final sign off, so ultimately it falls on you.
If you have benefitted from the use of that image – whether this be financially, through increased traffic, web presence, brand awareness then this should be punishable by a fine.
In my opinion, the photographer has not been benefiting from the backlink, so financial reimbursement is the only way to fairly compensate them.

Lori » Martyn
Unless the photographer did release into CC unrestricted. I avoid Google's CC as too many discrepencies there.

Change image – don't reply
Pixsy letters are usually a scam.

Nagar » Kolleen
I checked that letter, it's legit one

Those are scamsters sending you the email. Ignore the mail and don't reply. People are looking for gullible people who will fall prey to those unscrupulous guys. I thought it's all over..still it's happening. Or better mention credits: so and so. Best thing to do is change the image. There are so many free sites like etc. I generally take images from there.
Free Stock PhotosPexels
Free Stock PhotosPexels

Nagar » Suresh
I checked his email. It's legit one

I have used Pixsy for breach of copyright before on two cases.
Once when Paddy Power used my website image in an online ad (came across the ad randomly), and they couldn't find anyone at PP to speak about the breach, so they gave up.
Another breach was when a small company used a product image of mine for their own store. Think I got $100 back as compensation.
If Paddy Power can ignore these claims, you can probably do the same.
Some updates on the following case:
Marco Verch is a photographer who has released half a million pictures on the internet under CC version 2.0 where attribution to original author or source was required (was not needed with latest CC 4.0).
He does this by photographing some images and then outsourcing to freelancers for $3 per image from east europe and other places to do it cheaper than he can himself since his business model involves releasing hundreds of images each day, waiting for someone without proper attribution use them first before suing suitably frightened people that don't know better into paying him in order get their lives back quickly.
You can read more about it in this article:
One individual has released a tutorial on how to use Marco Verch's strategy of threatening small businesses with huge bills and lawsuits in order to make quick bucks.
Automated image recognition: How using ‘free' photos on the internet can lead to lawsuits and fines

Firdiansyah » Usama
So he's scammed peoples with this dirty trick

You wont get sued for 950, probably. delete and ignore

Usama » Luis
It's their business to trap small businesses. You can check my latest comment on this post.

It's a common scam.
Smells like scam. Looks like they trying to scare you.


Read another article: DMCA | A Website Else Copy Pasted My Content, but It Gave the Original Link as Credit and Even Kept My Internal Links

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *