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Organizations that have been publicly noted to use questionable tactics have threatened legal action against the publisher of because the organizations claim their image copyrights are being infringed. Unlike reasonable parties, they don’t simply ask to have the image taken down — they are demanding hundreds of dollars in “damages” and are quick to threaten legal action. In each case, we removed the images immediately upon request.

→ The two firms currently making demands have not shown official proof that they own copyrights on the images in question.

→ These firms are ignoring fair use, a part of U.S. copyright law (along with other similar fair use-type laws in the Western world), which protects “freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works” in “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.” We’re talking First Amendment rights here. U.S. Copyright Fair Use statement » has been a strictly educational site for the last 12 years and has not generated any revenues in that time. It also does not accept advertising of any type. It’s a passion project created by the publisher to tell the stories of horses in art, history, science, and pop culture. We will continue to remove disputed images, but we believe we have a strong fair use case.

Meanwhile at, we’ll have to figure out the best way to navigate this new trend of firms around the world threatening legal action over images for which they may or may not own the copyright. It takes time to investigate each new threat from these firms and figure out how to manage it. Our hope is to be able to publish again in the near future while limiting threats from questionable organizations.

There is one thought we ask you to consider in this situation: What will the internet look like as a news and educational tool if copyrighted images are no longer safe for small publishers to use under “fair use”? These legal threats from questionable firms are increasing, and no blog is safe from their demands.

If you use images on your blog in a fair use way, we encourage you not to pay these companies if they show up in your inbox. After all, “fair use” is an important part of freedom of speech in the U.S., and giving in to their demands only fuels their next threat campaign against a small publisher.

With a heavy heart,

The Publisher