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What to do if you are notified of a copyright infringement

Industrial property law

What to do if you are notified of a copyright infringement

Have you published a photo on your website and received a warning for copyright infringement? The first thing you should do is not sign anything and contact a lawyer you trust.


More and more frequently, Italian companies are contacting our law firm after receiving a warning letter from Germany because they used a photo on their website that they assumed was license-free.

In the letter, they are accused of unlawful use of a photographer’s material and are asked to pay a contractual penalty, cover legal fees and sign a cease-and-desist declaration attached to the letter. Some people underestimate this and simply say that they have removed the photo. However, this is not enough under German law.

Not ubmitting a cease-and-desist declaration with a penalty clause can lead to preliminary injunction proceedings being initiated.

As long as the declaration is not submitted, it is assumed that the risk of repetition continues to exist. However, we advise against signing the cease-and-desist declaration attached to the warning letter, as it often obliges the subscriber beyond what is owed. Furthermore, in some cases the cease-and-desist declaration is not justified and can therefore be contested.

If you find yourself in such a situation, please do not hesitate to contact our IP experts for advice.