Enforcing Copyright Laws: Copytrack or Lawyer?​

The pros and cons, from collecting evidence to legal enforcement abroad

Copyright violations can cause massive financial damages. Going the route of judicial enforcement is often nerve-racking and complicated, and in most cases you’re forced to take part in uncomfortable negotiations in order to defend your rights. That’s why many photographers ask themselves what their best course of action is: Is it better to pursue cases of copyright infringement using copyright services like Copytrack or is it easier to just hire your own lawyer?

How to Claim Compensation for Your Stolen Pictures

Before you can enforce your copyright claims, you first have to figure out where your images are being used illegally. That can be time consuming and isn’t always easy. A good starting point is with popular search engines like Google’s reverse image search or by using an image search service.

In this phase, the technical capabilities of attorneys are generally very limited. That means you’ll have to find the infringing party yourself by making do with popular search engines and run-of-the-mill image search services.

One alternative here is Copytrack’s image rights service. Copytrack offers an efficient image search that photographers can use to monitor an unlimited number of pictures. The AI-powered reverse image search scans the internet around the clock for a rightsholder’s entire portfolio and provides an easy-to-use overview of all matches found. Users can use the overview to easily identify and report cases of copyright infringement.

Check for stolen images now
Registration only takes two minutes
and is completely free of charge.

What Are My Chances of Successfully Enforcing My Copyright Claims?

Before submitting a claim to an attorney or a copyright infringement service like Copytrack, you should check whether you’ve actually suffered financial damages from the misuse of your pictures. Not every instance of image theft causes the same type and extent of damages.

Having your pictures stolen is always annoying, but a schoolchild uploading one of your images to a private Facebook account is an entirely different matter than an online store using your images to advertise their products.

If you hire an attorney to enforce your rights, then your prospects for success hinge on that lawyer’s experience, expertise and area of specialization. You’ll first have to find an attorney who is qualified, specialized in copyright law and willing and able to represent you.

The Copytrack image search service has several years of experience in enforcing image rights and conducting copyright proceedings. Specialized employees cooperate with a large, worldwide network of experts who have extensive experience in the field of copyright law.

What Costs Can I Expect for the Legal Enforcement of My Copyright Claims?

If you decide to pursue your copyright claims with the help of a copyright lawyer, then you’ll first have to make an appointment to discuss the details of your case. In terms of the costs of enforcing your image rights, hiring an attorney always involves risk – even if the attorney offers an initial no-fee assessment. If you go to trial and lose, you’ll end up bearing not only your own attorney fees, but also your opponent’s attorney fees and any applicable court costs.

Even partial losses in court incur pro-rata fees. And even if you win entirely, you could still face the risk of financial costs, for instance if the image user is unable to pay. You will still be liable for your attorney’s fees. And, while some believe that their legal expenses insurance will cover the costs of a copyright dispute, it is important to read the fine print. Copyright infringement disputes are commonly excluded from such policies.

► Copytrack’s Cost Overview

Once you’ve decided to pursue and enforce a copyright infringement case with Copytrack’s image search service, you will generally only be a few clicks away from submitting your claim online.

Image Search

Copytrack’s cost overview
  • No sign-up fee
  • No monthly fees
  • No additional service fees

Legal Enforcement

"No win, no fee" – Copytrack’s commission structure
  • No advance payment
  • 30 % for post licensing
  • 30 % for commercial debt collection
  • 45 % for out-of-court settlements
  • 45 % for court settlements

With Copytrack, users won’t face the risk of financial costs: The entire process, from the post-license offer to the legal enforcement of claims for damages will cost the rightsholder only a fair commission.

Check for stolen images now
Registration only takes two minutes
and is completely free of charge.

How Are Image Copyrights Enforced?

Once you’ve handed over your copyright case to a lawyer, you won’t have the opportunity to easily have your work post licensed. The infringing party will immediately be sent a warning letter. If he doesn’t pay it, then litigation will ensue. This puts the image user under immediate pressure to comply, which could potentially lead to a quick win.

Copytrack follows a “fair use policy” and always starts off by offering every user a fair post-license offer, which often leads to amicable settlements. The Copytrack settlement portal gives copyright infringers the opportunity to quickly and easily purchase a post license. Around 50 percent of copyright disputes are able to be settled this way.

International Enforcement of Copyrights

Copyright infringement doesn’t respect national borders and happens throughout the entire world. Although there are some multi-national agreements, there is still no international copyright standard, and that means that national idiosyncrasies must be taken into account.

Lawyers generally pursue cases on copyright infringement only in their own countries. If your rights are violated abroad, then you’ll have to find an attorney where the violation took place. If you have cases in multiple countries, you’ll need a trusted lawyer in each country. Coordinating such a network of attorneys is difficult and time-consuming.

Copytrack has already processed 100,000 cases around the globe and always starts off by giving the infringing party the opportunity to retroactively license an image in an amicable settlement. If this mode of action isn’t successful, then Copytrack offers further options for enforcing your rights, depending on the country. Copytrack has an international partner network and has already won cases in more than 90 countries.

Copytrack versus Lawyers: An Overview

Users should carefully consider which option – an attorney for copyright law or Copytrack – is more efficient and more likely to result in success:

Attorney for Copyright Law

  • Individual support via legal consultations
  • Each case assessed individually
  • Manual collection of evidence, unless done by customer
  • Requires considerable efforts until legal enforcement
  • Usually limited to domestic cases, no guarantee of area-specific expertise
  • Post licensing is uncommon
  • Sometimes possible to quickly enforce copyright claims
  • Costs usually not covered by legal expenses insurance policies
  • Advance payment and risk of financial costs, even for successful cases if defendant is unable to pay

Image Rights Service Copytrack

  • Free online registration and integrated image search
  • Standardized processes
  • Automated evidence collection with match overview
  • No further intervention necessary after submitting a claim
  • Worldwide copyright service with an international partner network
  • Fair post-licensing process as per our “fair use policy”
  • Sometimes takes longer due to large volume of claims
  • No advance payment and no additional service fees
  • “No win, no fee” commission structure with transparent cost overview

If you value access to legal consultations or want a lawyer who can represent your individual interests, don’t mind doing the necessary work to identify copyright infringement cases, have the time to coordinate the remainder of the legal enforcement and also aren’t afraid of the risk of financial costs, then hiring an attorney for copyright law might be the right choice.

Copytrack is a good choice for photographers and rightsholders who want quick access to an overview of their images that have been used online illegally and who want to enforce their copyright claims in a fair way – even abroad – without expending too much effort. Thanks to the automated collection of evidence and expertise attained from over 100,000 cases, Copytrack provides rightsholders with an easy-to-use service.

Check for stolen images now
Registration only takes two minutes
and is completely free of charge.