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🚨 Watch Out for Copyright Trolls and Scams! 🚨

Creative rights are now fiercely policed in the digital landscape, transforming the online world into a battleground, and publishing images may lead to inquiries about their utilization.

As a business, publishing images online is certain to gain the attention of not only your audience, but content copyright protection entities as well. Creative rights are hotly contested and monitored, and you can be sure that publishing material that is not original nor correctly licensed will attract attention you may have hoped to avoid.  One quick way to avoid this is to legitimately license all the images you publish, or even better, take them yourself! But, if you find yourself in the situation where an email or letter has dropped into your inbox, as a responsible website owner you need to be able to distinguish  between legitimate copyright protection and potential copyright trolling. This article spills the tea on copyright trolls, spelling out the telltale signs that a copyright claim is legitimate and details how you can confirm this!

So team up with Copyright Agent A/S and learn the difference between a potential scam and a legal matter you need to take action on! Defining a Copyright Troll:

A copyright troll is an entity that attempts to exploit copyright law for financial gain through aggressive threats of legal action. The term, “copyright troll” was first coined in the early 2000’s and is related to the word “patent troll” denoting firms that stockpiled patents and sued those infringing upon them. Deadlines are usually short, a few days, and the threats begin immediately.

Key Features of Copyright Troll:

  1. Mass Filings: Copyright trolls often engage in mass filings. This strategy can be seen as a red flag, as it suggests a profit-driven motive rather than a genuine effort to protect copyright.
  2. Lack of Specificity: Trolls are known to issue vague and generic claims without providing detailed information about the alleged infringement.
  3. Unreasonable Settlement Demands: Copyright trolls often demand payments within days or immediately and for excessive settlement amounts often tens of thousands of euros or dollars. This approach aims to pressure creators into settling to avoid potentially costly legal battles.

Identifying a Copyright Compliance Agency:

On the other hand there are professional agencies who work hand in hand with the creative parties who produce the works and actively protect their legal rights online in compliance with local and international copyright law.

With the growth of the internet, came a growth in unlicensed image use. With the sheer volume of websites and infringements, rights holders turned to agencies who specialize in identifying unlicensed image use and have the organizational capacity to address these claims, something many creators do not possess themselves. Even the largest image agencies struggle to have entire departments dedicated to monitoring their content and turn to these agencies for help.

In the simplest of terms, these types of legitimate agencies go by many names, Copyright Agents, Copyright Protection Agencies, Copyright Compliance Agencies, Rights Management Companies, Copyright Monitoring Service, Digital Rights Management (DRM) Service etc. Some are offshoots of law firms that specialize in intellectual property, others are legal tech companies blending technical nous with legal knowledge. But what sets them aside from Copyright Trolls is the legitimacy of their work and their professionalism. They typically work to ensure that the rights of content creators are respected and may offer educational materials if you ask.

Key Features of a Copyright Protection Agency: 

  1. Focused and Individualized Approach: Copyright Protection Agencies use a focused and individualized approach to copyright claims, carefully examining each case to ensure its legitimacy and verifying each case with the rights holder prior to taking contact with an infringing party. This goes a long way to preventing website owners from being caught in the crossfire of mass filings.
  2. Transparency: Unlike copyright trolls, Copyright Protection Agencies maintain transparency in their processes. You will be given their business registration number, addresses for their registered offices, legal documentation from rights holders authorizing their partnerships alongside clear and detailed information etc.
  3. Legal Expertise and Fair Practices: With a team of legal experts, Copyright Protection Agencies ensure that any actions taken are in accordance with the law. Fair practices and a commitment to upholding the rights of creators set them apart from copyright trolls.

Navigating the complex landscape of copyright protection requires a discerning eye and a reliable partner. Copyright Protection Agencies offer this to rights holders and stand as a reliable ally in the fight against online copyright infringements, ensuring that the creation of intellectual property pays off for creators and that copyright laws are respected not just used as a tool for exploitation. Remember if they have contacted you it is because one of their partners images has been published on your website.This is your opportunity to verify the license that you do have, and if you do not have one, a chance to rectify the misuse and come to an appropriate resolution.

Here’s our Top 3 Tips to Verify a Copyright Protection Agency

  1. Independently Verify their Identity: Who sent the claim to you? What’s their website? Sites like Norten’s Safe Web (, Scam Adviser ( and ( can help you determine if the website is safe. Visit the website, call them from the contact information listed there. Does the email address look legitimate? You can also ask for a business registration, commonly referred to as a business number; this number provides accountability for the agency contacting you and should provide you with verifiable information about the company's location from a government database.
  2. Carefully read through any documentation they provide. Legitimate agents will be able to provide you with information about the image, links to the image on the rights holders website, and provide documentation for the legal basis of their representation of the rights holder.
  3. Look on the rights holders website for information verifying their partnerships with the Copyright Protection Agency. If external websites publish information linking back to the agency then chances are there's a partnership in place.

Good Luck out there! And remember to support Photographers through legitimate licensing! Originality, always.

Copyright Agent -

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