picrigts scam copyrite

PicRights Scam? – Fraudulent Copyright Enforcement

In the digital realm these days, people will do just about anything to make some money off of others, even if this means an outright, illegitimate, and illegal scam. One of the more detailed and sophisticated scam programs that have likely taken money from an array of unsuspecting individuals, is none other than the copyright agency known as PicRights. When it comes to image rights and copyright laws of photos on the web, many companies and individuals strive to ensure that the images they use are done so in a legal manner, while giving credit where it is due. However, companies such as PicRights often attempt to undercut these efforts, by convincing their victims of the legal ramifications of using a photo that is “copyrighted”, in instances where the usage of the photo was, in fact, legitimate.

In a nutshell, PicRights claims to act on behalf of image owners as a means of protecting the copyrights to their photos, even when they do not represent any of the firms in which they claim. Their robust algorithm allows PicRights to pick up on imagery that is used throughout the web, popular images that may be owned by a single outlet, and that are used on another person’s or company’s website, and reach out to the latter in order to claim copyright infringement and nearly demand that compensation be provided so as to avoid legal ramifications.

 

Picrights.com-Fraudulent Online Copyright Enforcement
Picrights.com-Fraudulent Online Copyright Enforcement

Put yourself in any of these individual’s shoes, receiving a well-thought-out, well-written email that includes an array of legal terms, many of which are foreign to the untrained eye. Without a doubt, the consequences of legal action on behalf of PicRights and their “represented agency” sound terrifying and daunting, which consequently causes the individual using the image to abide by essentially whatever the agency asks. This often plays out to the tune of hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, which website owners quickly yet hesitantly relinquish to the scammers, in order to avoid any oncoming problems. Upon making the payments, PicRights then magically disappears from the inboxes of individuals, and further goes to ignoring them and their outreach to gain information about the image that they have now purchased licensing for. This leaves PicRights hundreds of dollars more affluent while causing debilitating suffering to the company or person that was coerced into paying them. Thus, there you have it. A well thought out scheme, aimed at attacking unsuspecting victims, and squeezing as much money out as possible without legitimacy to do so.

 

One specific instance of a company which will remain anonymous outlines the scam as having reached out to them on behalf of popular French media outlet, Agence France-Presse, claiming that the image the company used was under copyright laws and that the outlet had complained about photo use without proper consent. However, further information from AFP showed that the outlet had not filed any form of complaint regarding the image to PicRights and that their outreach was seemingly unwarranted. Nonetheless, upon reviewing the email the anonymous company paid PicRights’ invoice due to the potential onset of legal ramifications, in an attempt to resolve the situation. Once gaining the licensing for the image, any outreach to PicRights regarding how to publish the image accordingly under their name was disregarded and ignored, with the agency going so far as hanging up on the company when inquiring about publication rights.

 

The scam promoted by PicRights is one that has impacted an array of individuals in recent months, or perhaps years, without any proper or formal confrontation to the company on their illegitimate outreach. The agency simply sends the precisely-worded and legally-structured email as a scare tactic to their victims, in the hopes that such an intimidating correspondence will spark a reaction of payment. This, unfortunately, has been the case for many, and has worked for the agency thus far. However, as knowledge and information is the key factor in avoiding falling victim, publishing this piece, in our belief, is an obligation to the online community of bloggers and companies that are just starting up, and unsuspecting of the array of schemes that exist in the digital world.

If you have been contacted by PicRights, be very careful about your follow-up actions, and make sure they are well-informed before taking any measures. If they reach out to you “on behalf” of any major agency claiming copyright infringement, your best bet may be to reach out to the company being represented, to truly uncover whether they have filed such a complaint to the farce copyright agency. This will ensure that any payments that you may need to make, are done directly to the company that has filed the infringement and that the problems that are resolved are done so by dealing directly with the primary party. Dealing with PicRights may cause you to fall victim to the scam that they have so robustly developed, leading to unwarranted and illegitimate payments that you may not have needed to make in the first place. As such, similar scams to PicRights exist in the online world today, and understanding how best to deal with these fabrications is the most effective way in resolving the problem to the best interests of both you, and the company that may (or may not) have filed a complaint.picrights.com scam

13 replies
    • Aaron
      Aaron says:

      No, they aren’t. They’re a bottom feeder which counts on ignorance and fear to earn what amounts to living on extortion. They, and by proxy, you should be ashamed of what they do. You’re defending the worst sort of patent trolling and you’re embarrassing yourself in public you waste of skin.

      Reply
  1. Mauricio Hernandez
    Mauricio Hernandez says:

    Alan, do you work for them? Please, click your link and tell us why picrights.com is not secure? Why they don’t have a location in the USA? Legitimate where in Russia?

    Reply
  2. Geoff
    Geoff says:

    For the record I think PicRights are a load of shysters! I run a small business in the UK and they’ve been pestering me for money due to me breaching someone’s copyright on an image on our website. The copyrighted image they have sent me as evidence is of a couple looking in a shop window and pointing at a display. The ‘matching’ image that I have used on my site shows two of MY employees looking into OUR shop window & pointing! Whilst the images would appear loosely similar – the 2 people look very different to those in the copyrighted image (for obvious reasons) as of course does the shop shop window – because it’s our shop! I realise these companies have bots that scrawl across the internet trying to match up images and catch poor unsuspecting (often innocent) people out, but when you try to contact them to point out their error, of course you can’t actually get hold of anyone. All they are doing is sending out thousands of these threatening letters on the basis that a percentage of people, sometimes vulnerable people, just pay up out of fear, to make them go away.
    Unscrupulous and disgusting behaviour.

    Reply
  3. Carl
    Carl says:

    They are threatening to post porn links leading to a popular website, if the website techs do not buy their services. This would lead to Google removing them from their index for mass spam porn links. I’ve seen this email/threat personally and can attest. They are literally threatening to try and hurt a business’s sales if their services are not bought.

    Can you say gangsterism? lol

    They are most certainly a scam company, avoid and ignore them.

    Reply
  4. Daniel
    Daniel says:

    Somebody on fiverr is posing as picrights by using website contact forms to contact companies. They input their reply email address and name on the website contact form as “picrights,” but they direct you to fiverr for payment.

    Reply
  5. John Berry
    John Berry says:

    I have received the same message that Carl mentions. There is no reference to a copyrighted image or anything: just, “use my services or I will ruin you”
    ____________________________
    From: picrights.com
    Subject: powerful backlinks for your site
    Message Body:
    Hello guys, I would like to make offer for you. Please buy my services from https:…. or I will create negative porn backlinks to your website and get it removed from Google index. Please choose. I recommend that you buy my gigs to avoid losing business. If you order my gig, I will take your site to top and if no, I will spam it with porn links and get you removed from Google. I hope you understand the serious matter.

    This e-mail was sent from a contact form on (my website):
    ___________________

    This is in no way legit: this is a direct threat. Is it even worth bothering to reply? What can I do to protect myself? There must be a Government agency that follows up on this sort of thing: I’m in the USA.

    Reply
  6. Helen
    Helen says:

    A legal company named Higbee & Associates have contacted me as representatives of Picrights because I have not responded to Picrights notifications. Are they a legitimate law firm or are they part of the scam?

    Reply
    • Ben
      Ben says:

      Can unlicensed/ scam hire licensed/legit businesses? Why not? They will need to prove that PicRights is a legit US-based company. Lawyers work for money. They do not care if money earned in an illegal activity.

      Reply
      • Lorriane
        Lorriane says:

        This same law firm (Higbee, out of CA) contacted us after we ignored Picright’s claim we owed the almost $3,000 for using a photo that we found on a copy-right free image page. This same image (the inside of a cave) is being used on at least a dozen other sites on the internet. I deleted the page the image was on so it no longer exists. We are a nonprofit and thankfully we have a pro-bono attorney who is responding to their threatening letter. If they want to move forward in suing us then bring it on, and welcome to Texas. ☺

        Reply
  7. Martin
    Martin says:

    PicRights is a licensing and compliance agency in Canada. I do not know what they do for cases outside of the US, but when they cannot settle a case they send the claim to a US law firm, Higbee & Associates… and they file a lot of law suits. Been there. Wasn’t cheap. Google search Higbee Copyrighht Lawsuits

    Reply
  8. Carine
    Carine says:

    Moi habitant la france, picright m’a envoyé beaucoup de lettres de menaces et la derniere c’etait un cabinet d’avocat. Ils disent que j’ai utilisé 2 de leur photos, une photo en afrique… Comme je ne repondais pas, ils ont augmentes l’argent que je dois leur parce que j’ai utilisé leur soit disant.. Je ne comprend pas

    Reply

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