Some time ago, I developed a website for a client. During the development process, I used a staging server which is registered to and operated by me to host the site so they could follow development and preview the work I was doing for them.
At this point in development, I added some images to the site as dummy content to illustrate how things would appear when the client had added their own images.
I acquired the images from Google Images and one of them now appears to have been copyrighted with rights managed by a company notorious for suing webmasters for illegally using their images.
The prototype website was not online on my server for long, but apparently long enough for the infringement to have been detected by said notorious company.
Recently, the client received a letter demanding recompense for the use of the image - though again, the website in question was on a server and domain registered and operated by ME.
My question is this:
Can my client's company be held liable for infringement that occurred on MY server/domain?
The prototype website had the client's business contact details on it, so the letter demanding payment was sent to them, even though they have absolutely nothing to do with the server it was hosted on.
I realize anyone reading this is likely not a lawyer with specific knowledge of this type of situation, but if you have any insight to offer it would be much appreciated!