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Copyright & Patents/Intellectual Property


Dear Mr. Morgan,

My name is Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. and I'm a NYS licensed psychologist and an AllExpert volunteer as well. I'm writing to request your advice involving intellectual property. As a cyberbullying prevention and internet safety educator, I create many educational images that I disseminate public domain for parents and teens. Although this is irrelevant to my question, I'm mentioning this to verify I always make sure backgrounds to created images I use either are from public domain resources or not claimed by others. Although I'm aware the original image owner is not required to supply ownership of an image, I conduct reverse image searches and other methods to see if an image is in widespread usage.

Approximately 6 months ago, I agreed to create a small website for a family friend who has 3 delis in my vicinity. As part of the website, they were also very supportive of including an educational blog on cyberbullying. Yesterday, my friend receives a notice of copyright infringement stating he was to pay $735 for using the image in question. I immediately contacted Gallery Stock and informed them the image was removed and de-indexed in Google. In the hour-long debate, the Gallery Stock representative said they were not required to include any form of copyright on the image or in the filename. They also said that my due diligence to find the rightful owner was also not an excuse nor are they required to send a DCMA Takedown Notice.

As I informed her I was fully aware of these facts, she stated the $735.00 had to be paid promptly. I'm hoping you can offer any advice on how to prevent my friend and myself from having to make this exorbitant payment. My family friend and his family are extremely upset with me as they think my due diligence was nothing more than negligence. I've attempted to speak with the Gallery Stock corporate office and they have yet to contact me back. I may sound paranoid, but I can't help to conclude Gallery Stock generates significant revenue from not publishing ownership of their images. Even spending 3-4 hours today researching places the image is published online, not one search result directed to Gallery Stock. Your input would be greatly appreciated.  

Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.

I am not qualified to answer copyright questions. You need a lawyer for that. I doubt they own the copyright as they didn't claim it on the pages you used. Among your options: See a lawyer. Or, tell them to sue you. Or, ask for proof of their copyright registration & ignore them.  They would have to prove they owned it, in court, to sue you successfully. And I suspect it is a small claims court matter where they would have to show up to get a ruling.  I would like to hear how it turns out for you.

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George H. Morgan, P.E., Patent Agent


U.S. Patent Law only, no copyright or trademark qualification. I was a volunteer in the past, but my homeland defense activities pulled me away at times, and I was dropped. If you want me back, I am willing to come back.


Thirty one years as a Registered U.S. Patent Agent and a lifetime in product and manufacturing process and methods development as well as sales and marketing of new products with a number of blue chip corporations.

Rotary, Society of Automotive Engineers, American Army Aviation Association, Registered Professional Engineer, St. Vincent De Paul Society, Indiana Guard Reserve Officer

Various Society of Manufacturing Engineers & Society of Automotive Engineers technical publications. Ref. my web site:

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Machine Design Option), L.S.U., Baton Rouge, Louisiana; M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics Option), University of Missouri at Rolla, Missouri, Helicopter Maintenance Course, 18 weeks, Ft. Sill Army Aviation School, Troop Information and Education Leadership Course, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, Numerous Society of Automotive Engineers Seminars, Dale Carnegie Management Training Instructors Course.

Awards and Honors
Bausch & Lomb Science Award, Indiana Homeland Defense Service Ribbon, 2003.

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