One of her clients, for whom I recently designed a site, just received a $25,000 invoice from a law firm in London representing Corbis, who claimed their content was on the client's site. The client of course was frantic when they received the bill and called my marketing friend, who called me. I investigated and sure enough, there were images on the site that were rightfully the property of Corbis, which I put there. In this instance I neglected to swap out the comps with legal images I purchased for the client from another online source before I made the site live. As a designer I respect content rights and did not, would not, maliciuosly steal images. The client and my friend had no idea.
I moved quickly to correct the situation — scrubbed the site and looked through other clients' sites to make sure nothing else had gotten through. I called Corbis and told their legal department what happened and they told me I would have to deal with the law firm, who handles "all our overseas affairs." I then sent a certified letter to the law firm telling them what happened in an attempt to exonerate the client, and by default, my friend. That was today.
I quoted the images in question on the Corbis site and the total would have been about $800. I did my due-googling and in the spectrum of copyright infringement, I want to believe I'm closer to the speeder than I am the serial-killer. Other photo houses (Getty) send out cease and desist letter and it's done. There is mention of similar situations on some forums, especially in the UK, but I can't seem to find any precedent as to what my fate might be. Does anyone have any idea? I made about $1,000 for the site about a year ago, and as much as it would pain me, would be willing to give that up to make this go away. But something tells me this is going to get ugly.