Collecting For Foreign Infringements

Posted on 6/7/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Back in 2016 Tony and Chelsea Northrup discovered that their image, originally published on the cover of their Adobe Lightroom 6/CC for Photographers book, had been used by an Australian company on the packaging of a smartphone case, and the product sold in Australia and New Zealand without their permission.

The couple has published a very informative 26-minute video that details many of the problems they faced while trying to collect for an infringement in a country other than their own.

They contacted the company hoping the company would admit their mistake and offer a reasonable settlement. Instead the infringing company turned the letter over to its lawyer. The Northrup’s received the following:

    "Our client was unaware that the graphic being used was anything other than a stock photo. Our client used an external graphic designer whom they made enquiries of after they received your letter. They were informed that the graphic had been taken off of a website and incorporated into their advertising without checking.

    “On informing the client of the status of your image, they have agreed to remove the graphic from their website, Facebook page, Instagram feed and all other advertising material. They will recall all other products bearing the graphic for disposal.
No settlement was offered. This was not satisfactory, particularly when friends and followers started sending them pictures showing the product was still being sold in Australia and New Zealand with the unauthorized image still on the packaging.

At that point they needed an Australian lawyer, but found it very difficult to find one who would take the case. Eventually, they were able to find an International firm that had arrangements with an Australian firm that was willing to handle the case.

Almost two years after the initial infringement, and countless hours Tony had to spend supplying additional information the Australian firm got a settlement of $40,000 Australian (about $30,489 U.S.). The Australian firm kept 50% and the intermediary firm that had made the arrangements for the Northrup’s kept half of the remaining amount leaving the Northrup’s about $7,622 U.S. (The headline on the video link in Australian Photography says the settlement was for $60,000, but that included Tony's estimate of what the Australian company had to pay its own lawyer to pursue the case rather than offer a settlement.)

While they never wanted their image used in this manner, they question whether it worth it for all the time and frustration involved in getting a settlement. If you have the time the video is worth reviewing.

Copyright © 2018 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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