Getting Payment for stolen photographic images

Right invoice wise this is the procedure I follow when invoicing for stolen images:

1 – Call company in question and inform them that you will be invoicing them for use of image, do not ask if its ok just tell them this is the case, if they argue with you refer them to copyright theft etc…. BUT MAKE SURE YOU ARE POLITE AND WELL SPOKEN. The biggest problem I believe is people don’t come accross in a business and polite manor, this makes them sound like a push over to the company/ thieving media.

2 – if they threaten you with handing your info over to authorities and that they dont pay criminals etc…. then point out that trespass is civil but theft of copyright is criminal. Also point out that handing information over to anyone without a warrant from the police or prior consent is a breach of data protection. If they continue to argue politely end the conversation informing them of the impending invoice and when it should arrive.

3 – Write invoice and add around 20-25% for theft of images.

Invoice should be layed out as follows:

address of Client/ thieving media

invoice number (make this up)
Date of invoice issued
Invoice reference (usually initials of client and two numbers)

Description of what invoice is for
amount of invoice
methods of payment which should be:
address for cheque to be sent to and name of person the cheque should be made out to.

Include at the bottom the following if you wish

Payment should be made within 30 days, any late payments with incur a 10% charge.

also write in the footer:

this invoice and all information contained is for the sole use of the intended recipient.

4 – Send invoice via recorded delivery so you know it has arrived and been signed for. file all receipts, track the order via the internet and screen print when it arrives. Print and file this screen print as well as saving the original copy.

5 – Follow up invoice with phone call informing them that you have sent the invoice and according to the tracking it has arrived and you wanted to make sure they received it.

6 – wait

7 – two days before invoice due date call up the accounts department of the company/ thieving media and ask the following:

hi I am enquiring about the payment of invoice number (blah blah) and was wondering if you could let me know when it is due to be paid.

if they come up with the “we pay in 60 day” etc…. argument then point out that they have already published your image and did not wait until payment had gone through and therefore have stolen your property, this is a criminal offence and you wanted to give them a chance to repair the damage by paying your invoice before you pursued legal action, this usually works. If not then consult a solicitor.

8 – Wait

9 – give the company 2-3 days leeway on the invoice payment date as RoyalFail etc…. tend to take a while.

10a – receive payment = happy

10b – do not receive payment, my advice now is call them, if they are being awkward consult a solicitor, a letter from them will usually do the trick.

Hope this helps.

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