I wanted to make you all aware of an unsavoury situation while using Unsplash.
Recently, I was using an image through unsplash for a blog (thankfully not a website). A little while later I received a communication from a copyright infringement company called COPYTRACK, based in Germany, stating that the image I had used was not available freely and that I had breached copyright. I was being told that I had to pay a licence fee for the image or face prosecution for copyright theft.
So, I have contacted Unsplash and currently am waiting for them to resolve the issue, as the image is no longer available on their service. In fact the photographer who had put the image up is no longer on the service.
Having explained that the use of the image was through unsplash and in good faith that Unsplash had used due diligence to certify the use of the image, it still hasn’t put the copyright company off. They are still trying to force me to pay up.
As a photographer myself, and knowing the issue they are trying to make some money out of, I thought I’d share this with you.
There are companies online that photographers can upload their images too, and then the company has image algorithms that search out uses of that image on the internet. They then determine if there is a copyright breach. The companies take a commission for every successful payment taken, and pass the rest onto the photographer (which is only a small amount of the total fee).
While the original idea of this was extremely appealing to photographers, as chasing payment for copyright breach is an expensive and time consuming process, it has now become more akin to Patent Trolling.
If you are threatened with such a process, please do not give in. The issue should be pushed through to Unsplash.
I will try to update this thread when more information comes to light (for I go to jail!!!).