Violation due to copyright infringement — help with written warnings

Warnings due to copyright infringement are not uncommon in online commerce. Shop owners are often asked to submit a legally binding cease and desist declaration, especially due to the unauthorized use of images and texts. The following works are protected by copyright: photographs and images, graphics and designs, software, texts and article descriptions, music and jingles, as well as films and videos.

We recommend seeking legal advice. The experienced lawyers of the Händlerbund are happy to help. We represent you as an Unlimited or Professional member - also retroactively.

  1. Fast support from Händlerbund
  2. Assistance in case of already received warning letter
  3. Representation by experienced and specialized lawyers

Have you received a warning for a violation of copyright law?

If you have received a warning for copyright infringement, you should take the matter seriously, but remain calm. Any letter from a competitor or image agency demanding payment of license fees or a warning letter from a law firm for copyright infringement should be carefully reviewed by a lawyer.

Before signing the accompanying legally binding cease-and-desist declaration, it is advisable to clarify whether the claims made are justified and proportionate. In some cases, the cease-and-desist declaration may be too broadly formulated or the amount demanded may be set too high. Therefore, hasty reactions in the event of a warning are neither necessary nor helpful.

A warning for copyright infringement can be a shock at first, but don't panic, we'll take care of it for you.

What is important now: have your copyright warning reviewed by a specialized lawyer.

Why? If the attached cease-and-desist declaration is too broadly formulated, this can have unpleasant consequences for you. In some cases, substantial contractual penalties may be imposed for future infringements.

  1. We will contact you immediately.
  2. We will check whether the warning is justified and whether there is actually a violation of copyright.
  3. We will modify the cease-and-desist declaration in your favor.
  4. We will check whether the demanded warning costs are set too high.

Do not panic

Receiving a copyright infringement notice can be frustrating, but there's no need to panic. Stay calm, we'll take care of it.

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Don't sign right away

Often, the cease and desist declarations are too broadly formulated and to your disadvantage. We'll check for you.


Do not pay immediately

In many cases, the costs of an infringement notice are set too high. We will verify this and, in the best case scenario, you will pay less.

Get help fast: Upload your warning letter directly

Use the warning letter upload and send us all available documents. In order to fully represent you, booking the Unlimited or Professional membership package is necessary. In addition to representation in case of warning, you benefit from many other services such as shop depth examination, legal text service and much more.

Warning uploader

Send us all documents now. In order to be able to represent you retroactively, it is necessary to book the Unlimited or Professional membership package. You’ll also benefit from many other services, such as a shop inspection, legal text services and much more.

What happens once I've uploaded my legal warning?

Choose a membership package

After you have uploaded your legal warning it's time to choose your membership package. As an Unlimited or Professional member we will help you with your written warning. Apart from that you will have access to many more e-commerce services.

Immediate help
Our experienced lawyers will take over from here. We have processed more than 26.000 legal warnings and you will receive fast assistance from our experienced lawyers.
Do you have questions?
Do you have further questions? We are always glad to be there for you. Use our Callback Service or see all possibilities to contact us.

What is copyright infringement?

To protect intellectual property, copyright law clearly regulates what use of protected works constitutes copyright infringement. The author, who is entitled to the necessary "creative height", has the exclusive right to fully exploit his work. This includes, among other things, the right to make his work publicly accessible or to reproduce it. If someone else violates this right, the author can defend himself. The usual means of choice is a warning letter for copyright infringement.

Technically, protected works such as images, photographs, or texts are easy to find, and copyright warnings are therefore commonplace. Image agencies often commission a law firm specializing in this area to pursue violations of copyright.


When are copyright infringements committed?

Copyright is always infringed when a work is used without the necessary permission, also known as a license. Before using an image or text from the internet for your own website, you must ensure that you are allowed to do so.

To be on the safe side, it is best to search for images on stock platforms. Here you will find paid models, but also free offers. However, free offers should be viewed critically to ensure that they are really legitimate. In general, it is definitely worth taking a look at the terms and conditions: they regulate how and to what extent the provided images may be used. Users must strictly adhere to these rules. A violation of the terms and conditions also constitutes a copyright infringement.


Costs of a copyright infringement warning

When a copyright holder warns someone else of a copyright infringement, there are generally two cost items to consider.

Fictitious license fee as damages

On the one hand, the author can demand compensation for the unauthorized use of his works. For this, a fictitious license fee is usually calculated. So, it is assumed that the author has granted a license for the use and demands license fees for it. If several rights are violated simultaneously by using a work, a license may be required for each violation. For example, if a photo is used illegally, the following copyrights are usually violated simultaneously:

  1. the right to publication
  2. the right to name the author
  3. the right to reproduce
  4. the right to modify

In individual cases, it may therefore happen that a license fee is charged as damages for each of these four violations. The amount of this fictitious license fee is highly individual and depends, for example, on whether the author is a professional photographer.

Costs for legal prosecution

If the author notices a violation of copyright, a warning usually follows, in which the author calls for an injunction. The author can be represented by a lawyer for this warning. The costs that arise for the representation are called warning fees and must be paid by the warned party in the case of a justified warning. The amount of the costs depends on the so-called object value, which is identical to the amount of the requested damages. However, warning fees usually amount to around 1,000 euros.

Consequences of a copyright infringement warning

With the warning letter, the author wants to achieve two things in addition to compensating for the damage caused: on the one hand, the copyright infringement should be stopped, and on the other hand, the risk of repetition should be eliminated.

In the case of a justified warning, the warned party must therefore remove the copyrighted work from his site and provide a cease-and-desist declaration. If he does not comply, the author can initiate legal proceedings and enforce legal consequences.

From practice: Often, the author requests information before the actual warning. This request for information is intended to find out to what extent the copyrighted work has been used.

This is why we are a good fit:


Over 26.000 processed written warnings

Our experienced legal team helps online retailers quickly and reliably with cease and desist letters.


Protected from future warnings

In addition, you benefit from e-commerce solutions that protect you from future warnings.


We care deeply about online merchants like you

As Europe's largest online merchant association, we have been advocating for online merchants for over 16 years.

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What is copyright?

Copyright protects the rights of authors.

§ 11 Copyright Act: "Copyright protects the author in his or her intellectual and personal relationship to the work and in the use of the work. At the same time, it serves to ensure appropriate compensation for the use of the work."

Examples of works "without" copyright

There are also works that are in the public domain. In general usage, these works are often described as "without copyright" or "license-free". Copyright-protected works can become public domain if:

  1. The copyright has expired
  2. The author has relinquished their work for public domain use

Copyright on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube

Copyright must also be respected on social media platforms. For example, videos cannot simply be downloaded from YouTube and uploaded elsewhere. However, platforms often offer the ability to embed content via an HTML code or similar means. This embedding is generally legal because when uploading content to the platforms, authors are aware that this function exists and must expect that others will embed their works in this specific way.

When does copyright expire?

Copyright for works expires 70 years after the death of the author.