Consider a blog on which the blog author displays images taken from internet sources. The author later learns about copyright implications of this.

If the blog author removes the images from the site, is it possible that a company or individual could sue the blog author retroactively for infringing the copyright of an image, assuming that they have archival evidence of its use? Is it likely?

I am interested in the UK law.


2 Answers 2


If you commit a robbery but then return the money, can you be prosecuted?


Similarly, if you breach copyright and then stop, can you be prosecuted?

Yes, however, you will probably not be because:

  1. Your offence may not have been noticed by the copyright holder, and/or
  2. The damages they would get are probably not worth the effort.
  • 1
    @Mowzer copyright in most jurisdictions is both a civil wrong and a crime against the state.
    – Dale M
    Dec 14, 2015 at 3:18
  • You are correct. My apologies. Dec 14, 2015 at 3:21
  • @DaleM : Really? The jurisdiction I am most familiar with is England and Wales. Normal copyright infringement is not a crime there. Aug 23, 2017 at 16:33

Yes, if you suffered a loss as a result you could still sue to recover that loss. There are limits on how long you can leave it, simply because the defendant will find it hard to contest things that happened a very long time ago and for which they could not reasonably be expected to retain evidence for (e.g. licences to use the work).

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