Warning: Do Not Fall For The PicRights Copyright Trolling Scheme!

PicRights infringement scheme
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As is well known, there are hardly any limits to the design of business models on the Internet. Get Rich Quickly scams are particularly popular, where potential victims are promised high (and completely unrealistic) profits. The Austrian PicRights scheme has a special business model. They are offering copyright compliance services and send emails to website operators claiming they would infringe PicRights’ customers’ image rights.

The truth is that PicRights is a copyright trolling scheme aimed at obtaining, often by threat, financial compensation for the alleged use of copyrighted material. PicRights writes emails to the website owners informing them that they had found a copyright infringement by using images of PicRights‘ clients. This infringement could be compensated by payment of several hundred dollars. If this payment is not made, the website operator may be sued.

On Trustpilot, you can read that the claims of PicRights are likely to be false very often. One Trustpilot reviewer reports that PicRights claimed a copyright infringement of pictures on her website, although the website operator herself took these pictures.

The Austrian national Alfred Hoefinger controls the PicRights scheme. The director of the UK entity is the French national Anne Quilliet.

Our Recommendation

Website owners should only use images and texts that infringe any copyrights in the first place. However, we recommend that website owners do not respond to PicRights‘ emails. According to our knowledge, it is not clear whether PicRights was actually authorized by the rights holders.

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