Did you receive an email or form submission from your website's form from an unfamiliar contact who claims that you are using their copyrighted images on their website? If so, then you may have been the recipient of an increasingly-common spam email.
Many website owners have reported receiving an email or form submission from an unfamiliar sender, containing the message below (often, with a different name or slightly different wording):
This is _____ and I am a licensed illustrator.
I was disturbed, mildly speaking, when I saw my images at your website. If you use a copyrighted image without an owner's permission, you'd better know that you could be sued by the copyright holder.
It's illegal to use stolen images and it's so filthy!
Check out this document with the links to my images you used at (your website name) and my earlier publications to obtain the evidence of my legal copyrights.
Download it now and check this out for yourself: (link to phishing site)
If you don't remove the images mentioned in the document above during the next several days, I'll file a complaint against you to your hosting provider letting them know that my copyrights have been severely infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.
And if it doesn't work, for sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.
What To Do it You Received This Message
If you received the above message in an email or in your form's notifications, then there is no need to worry - it is a spam email that was sent by a bot and not a real person. Do NOT click any of the links in the email, as they may lead to a malicious website and can put you at risk for viruses or malware.
It is against the Madwire terms of service for our teams to include any copyrighted material on websites we build. If you built or edited your website yourself, then you will always want to make sure that the images either belong to you (whether taken by you or purchased), or are royalty-free stock images.
Before you mark the message as "Spam", double-check how you received the email:
- If you received this email directly and NOT via your form notification email: You can go ahead and mark the email as SPAM so that your email inbox knows to filter out messages like these in the future.
- If you received this message as a form submission notification: Do NOT mark the email as spam - doing so will block your form notification's email from your inbox, and you may not receive new form submissions if you do so. Simply delete the email.