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Higbee & Associates / sued for copyright case when I was willing to settle... mean & wasteful!

2 Los Angeles, CA, United States Review updated:

Higbee & Associates sent me a letter demanding $950 because I used a photo of one of there clients and I did not know I had to pay for the photo. I thought the demand was unreasonable because I found the photo online and it did not have the copyright symbol on it.

Rather than deal with this distraction, I accepted Higbee & Associates offer to settle the matter without a lawsuit for $950. But then Higbee still sued me just because I was a little late in sending payment and did not return their emails when I was on vacation for 2 weeks. Despite their talk about not wanting to sue me, they did it very fast and now are not honoring the agreement to settle for $950. They now want $5, 500 to cover the cost of filing the copyright law suit. This is outrageous and should be illegal. You should not get sued after you agree to settle, even if the payments are a little late. I have the letter that I wrote showing that I intended to settle and pay.

Feb 29, 2016

More Higbee & Associates Complaints & Reviews

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  • Ha
      9th of Mar, 2016
    Best Best Advice +14 Votes

    Higbee & Associates sent you a letter asking you provide a license or pay for the copyrighted photos that you used on your web site. Our client gave you several weeks to accept a very reasonable and fair offer.

    We attempted to settle the matter prior to filing the copyright law suit. We contacted you several times by mail, email and by phone. We provided you the evidence and explained copyright law to you. We even suggested that you hire an attorney.

    As we stated in the letter, all of our clients would prefer to settle copyright claims outside of court. However, that requires cooperation and willingness to settle. You never communicated to us that you were willing to settle the matter, nor did you sign the settlement agreement or make a payment. We never received any letter from you.

    Ultimately, Higbee & Associates did not sue you. Our client, who depends on people paying for his work (photos), hired us to file the law suit on his behalf after you refused to pay for the images that you used and the harm that you caused.

    The initial demand of $950 was based on the value of the image and the costs that our client incurred to find your unauthorized use and to contact you. Your stall tactics and then refusal to settle forced our client file the law suit and incur significant costs. $5, 500 is still a very generous offer to settle a copyright law suit. If this goes to trial, will likely cost you 5 or 10 times that amount. Please hire an attorney licensed to practice law in your state and have them call us. P.S. Your answer is due in court in about 14 days. If you hire an attorney prior to the date the answer is due, we will gladly grant him or her an extension in order to prepare an answer or settle the matter.

  • Th
      22nd of Dec, 2016
    0 Votes

    Higbee and Associates sued me for Copyright too. It is total BS that the law allows them to sue people for using images that appear free on Google. The picture did not say that it was copyrighted. I had to pay $8000 in lawyer bills and settlement for using something I thought was free and did not cost the photographer anything. Copyright law needs to change. I am sure the photographer is laughing his ### off spending my vacation money for the next two years. Higbee and Associates probably took most of the guys money. EIther way, I feel screwed.

  • Be
      11th of Jan, 2019
    +1 Votes

    @Thomas1970 I just got sued too. Apparently, they sue hundreds of people. How much did it cost you to settle it? I saw court documents where judges were giving them $45, 000 for one image. It looks like everyone they sue settles with them once they get sued, but I cannot tell for how much. The attorney I spoke to said it will cost me at least $10, 000 just to fight the lawsuit. What the H!

  • Ho
      30th of Dec, 2016
    +6 Votes

    Been there. It sucks! Copyright law is a joke. Higbee & Associates sued me asking for $25, 000. Huge headache. I hired an attorney and negotiated a settlement of the case. That is about all I can say as the settlement had a non-disclosure provision. I feel your pain.

  • Ug
      17th of May, 2017
    -1 Votes

    I got sued by higbee too. what a # show. I paid some jackball lawyer that I found on a blog to help. it turned out that he was only licensed in ny and his letter did not stop higbee & associates from suing me. it is not cool having someone come into your work to serve a lawsuit in front of your customers and friends. that part should be illegal. my take away was this, get a real lawyer in your state. there is sooooo much bad advice online. don’t waste your time getting advice from anyone but a good lawyer.

  • Zz
      8th of Jun, 2017
    +1 Votes

    Go back and reread these comments (including the original post) with the knowledge that Higbee's operation wrote every comment, and have a chuckle.

  • Ge
      20th of Jun, 2017
    0 Votes

    I got a letter from these jags, and guess what? I told them to get stuffed. Then I read up a bit more, and found out how much $$$ it costs them to actually sue you. Trust me, they won't do it if you waste enough of their time. They only make money when you settle and only quickly. Google their law firm name and Reddit, then read up on the actual informed users and cases therein. You'll see how easy it is to make them go away.

  • Ne
      5th of Aug, 2017
    +7 Votes

    I just got hit with a law suit, My lawyer says that he can see that Higbee does file a lot of copyright suits. He looked it up on the court website. Most of the law suits settle. However, I cannot tell how much these cases are settling for or what I should be offering. They are asking $14, 500. Can someone who has been sued tell me how much they paid to settle??? Is it illegal for me to contact some of these people who have been sued to ask? If it matters, I used two images. One was on my home page and other was on a blog post.

  • Ex
      4th of Oct, 2017
    -1 Votes

    Higbee & Associates, extortionists. The worst sharks you can encounter pretty much anywhere. They phone me every month to threaten to suit me and my business every month. I told them to stop harassing me and my business and to proceed with whatever proper legal action they have to and to stop calling me. They rather opt to harass me every month in the hope we cave in and pay them. I told them I have legal representation and that they can do whatever they wish to proceed but told them to stop harassing me over the phone and threatening suit every couple weeks. However, they continue to harass me and my business after more than 6 months every month with phone calls threatening to suit. They are a despicable legal firm, sharks, have no substance to their claims and just want the payout of several thousands dollars or will continue harassing until they get it. If the claim has substance, go ahead, follow proper legal action. Otherwise stop harassing me and my business. Never do any business with Higbee & Associates. You will regret it.

  • In
      22nd of Jan, 2018
    0 Votes

    @extortionist-radar Hi,
    I was wondering if we can talk. these sharks have sent me a letter back in april 2017 — still trying to get 1000 from me. I see they gouge different amounts to different people.
    Please e mail what is your current status with higbee & associates since your comment here oct. 2017

  • Pa
      13th of Jun, 2018
    0 Votes

    @extortionist-radar File with the BBB, I just did.
    They have an A+ rating, what a joke!
    I agree, they are extortionists!

  • Hs
      30th of Mar, 2018
    +1 Votes

    Our non-profit is also being sued by higbee & associates over a photo on a website we had just purchased. it has been identified as legal extortion. I am filing a complaint with the attorney general of california — if others would like to join me, please do! I will also be filing with the better business bureau against this firm and the attorney, in addition to contacting the representatives and senators about their practices. I have reviewed case law and legitimate operations like reuters and others settle accidental infringement for a couple of hundred dollars. these extortionists are coming after my non-profit! unbelievable. please join me in getting this type of legal extortion eradicated.

  • An
      15th of Aug, 2018
    +1 Votes

    @HSToday Hello,
    According to the District Attorney, Santa Anna, if you believe someone is committing a criminal action, the first step in the process is to report it to the Police Department. They investigate the situation and if called for involve the District Attorney's office.

  • Pe
      30th of Oct, 2018
    0 Votes

    @HSToday Wonder if you are still dealing with this. A number of people have contacted me for advise. Thinking we could launch a class action suit if there are enough of us. Will look for your response and from others.

  • An
      6th of Jun, 2018
    +2 Votes

    have a great day.

  • An
      6th of Jun, 2018
    -8 Votes

    No, you guys are all a bunch of ignorant [censored] who can't face your wrong doings. Sounds like you all have no business even operating websites if you don't understand how it works. As a web designer, a reputable one at that who actually went to should notice there is a reason you see copyright disclosures all over the internet. Stop pissing and moaning when you know it's your own idiotic faults for not knowing how to build a website. I love how people get caught doing [censored] and then get mad at the accuser as if they made you do it. Learn something from this hire web designers like me who know what they are doing and not some jack off in India who offers the best rate. Being cheap will get you exactly what you paid for.

  • Sp
      22nd of Jun, 2018
    +3 Votes

    Anon 1432 - you're an [censored]. no wonder your screen name is "anon"... I wouldn't want anyone to know who I am either you prissy [censored]. we are all business owners and not copyright attorneys you [censored]... and when you download a stock image off the internet that does not have a copyright symbol on it, it is usually free game. so take your prissy attitude and shove it up your ass. post something more useful that has some value or else go sit on it and rotate. obviously you have never been sued before from a bottom feeder lawfirm such as higbee & associates. these people who posted on here are seeking advice as they are being sued for a wrong-doing they had no knowledge of. and your hateful response is the best you can give. go [censored] yourself and piss off!!

  • Th
      3rd of Aug, 2018
    0 Votes

    This guy is a complete scam. Running a corrupt fraud posting pics as free to use then extorting them. Might send him a card when he's in jail.

  • An
      24th of Aug, 2018
    +6 Votes

    Do not confuse with Creative Commons (the non-profit organization) is not affiliated with the scam website Creative Commons Images.

    Mathew K. Higbee, Nick Youngson, RM Media Ltd, and Alpha Stock Images are purpratrating a creative commons extortion scam using the Creative Commons Images website.

    Creative Commons is an American non-profit organization.

    Creative Commons licenses require that users provide attribution to the creator when the material is used and shared. A Creative Commons license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon creative works (photos, images, etc.) as long as credit is given to the creator. Typically attribution consists of displaying the image title, author, source (often including a website link) and license in a resonable manner.

    Creative Commons offers licenses and tools to the public free of charge and does not require that creators or other rights holders, such as licensees, register with Creative Commons in order to apply a Creative Commons license to a work. Therefore, image licensees have not formal license documentation---no proof of registration, no receipts, etc.

    Higbee and Youngson abuse the copyright laws by filing copyright registrations over effortless and mundane images. They then make those images available for free on under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC BY-SA 3.0) in exchange for "attribution". The images are owned by Mr. Youngson. Rights managed licenses for those same images for a fee on Alpha Stock Images website.

    The Creative Commons Images attribution requirements and guidelines are purposefully convoluted, diffuclt to follow and change frequently. They do this so they can later 'catch' people using the photos without proper attribution. Then use the Higbee & Associates law firm to bully victims with scare tactics and harrassment in order to extract money to “settle” purported copyright claims with damages of up to $150, 000.

    The Creative Commons Images website ( is owned and operated by RM Media Ltd (, a UK-based corporation founded by Nick Youngson (, which also does business as Alpha Stock Images (

    Mathew K. Higbee lives at 3409 Calle Del Torre iin Las Vegas, NV and is registered to vote as a Republican in the State of Nevada. His main office is located in a small strip mall office suite located at 1504 Brookhollow Drive in Santa Ana, California. He has setup virtual office addresses in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Washington State. When you look at these "office locations" on Google maps you can see that they are also just tiny office buildings--one is shared with a barber shop. If you Google the addresses you'll see dozens, if not hundreds, of other business using the same addresses as virtual offices to make themselves look legitimate or large.

  • Ha
      9th of Jan, 2019
    -2 Votes

    This entire Higbee & Associates issue is a scam and a fraud. If you are contacted by this weasel, request immediate copies of ALL legal representation documents for their client and copyright documents for the image they are referring to. If the Higbee firm is unable or unwilling to provide these legal documents of preliminary discovery, the case they are presenting to you is a scam and fraud and should be reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) including the Attorney General of your state immediately. To that end, there are some copyright laws and protection but, it does not protect "every" image or "any" image just because someone states it is "original" or special. This practice is a fraud and Higbee is a fraud and disgrace to the legal community. He will soon be in jail. DO NOT PAY HIM OR NEGOTIATE!

  • Be
      12th of Jan, 2019
    +1 Votes

    @h alvin sharpe I tried that approach and I got sued by them. The BBB did not seem to care. They did not do anything about my complaint. I would say do not ignore them. Get a lawyer.

  • Be
      11th of Jan, 2019
    +1 Votes

    I just got sued by these fascists.

    I first got emails from PicRights. Ignored them as they seemed suspicious as they were in Canada. Then I started getting letters from Pigbee. I thought it was a scam and ignored them too. Apparently, these @ss clowns sue hundreds of people. It seems the courts are in on this. A judge gave them $45, 000 for someone using one image. They posted the court document at I posted pictures of the documents.

    This is crazy town!!! They and crooked judges are fleecing people.

    According to their web site and the documents they reference, these are some of their results:

    RM Media LTD wins $17, 500 for infringement of 2 images offered via Creative Commons

    Alex Wild wins $15, 000 copyright infringement judgement

    Chris Sadowski wins $30, 000 copyright infringement judgement

    Michael Grecco wins $45, 000 default copyright infringement judgement

    Michael Grecco wins $60, 000 copyright infringement judgement

    Sadowski wins $50, 000 copyright infringement judgement

    I wish someone would have told me they are lawsuit happy. What the H should I do now other than cancel my vacation and hide my assets???

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