A client has just been contacted by a major online stock photo outfit. It seems as though the client used 22 images on its website for whick the stock company either had the copyright or represented the owner. For its 3 years of use, the cleint has been charged approximately $60,000.
There is certainly legal exposure under U.S. copyright laws. Even innocent infringement, which the client asserts is the case, is unlawful. If the images have been registered with the U.S. Copyright office (www.copyright.gov), statutory damages range from $750 per infringement to $30,000 (potentially $660,000 in our case)
Website owners should review their websites to verify that any photos used have been properly obtained. a word to the wise, if you don't know where it came from, someone else probably has rights to it and you should take it down.