OXENHOPE'S parish council will consult with its insurers after being hit by a financial claim for a photo it had previously used on its website.

Councillors discussed how to respond to the claim from a company called Pixsy Case Management during their latest meeting.

The company is demanding what it has described as a "retroactive license fee" of £368 for the council's use of a photo it says was taken by Steven Gillis.

In a letter to the council, the company has warned that if it does not receive this fee it will progress the matter to a solicitor, who will begin legal proceedings to secure a much larger sum.

Pixsy Case Management's website says its services are designed to find and fight "image theft", by helping photographers recover compensation for unauthorised use of their pictures online.

Speaking during a meeting last Wednesday, (Nov 8) Oxenhope Parish Council chairman Ken Eastwood, apologised and added: "We made a mistake and used an image we should not have used. It's an unfortunate set of circumstances.

"Pixsy Case Management are one of a number of companies that are very aggressive and use extortionate tactics to try to claim money for copyright infringement."

Cllr Robert Goulding said: "I think we have got an argument that what they are asking for is unreasonable. I think all we can do is wait for a response from our insurers."

Cllr Tony Maw said the company has not yet offered evidence to show that the relevant photo had been taken by Mr Gillis.

Kain Jones, chief operating officer for Pixsy Case Management, responded after the meeting: “Our role is to act as agent for the photographer, Mr Gillis, who notified us of this case and authorised us to act on his behalf.

“Mr Gillis is a professional photographer trying to operate a business and this particular photograph, a landscape image, is on his website.

“When he hasn’t been given the opportunity to charge for the use of one of his photographs, and it’s used without his permission, that is where we’re able to help.

“We don’t intend to be aggressive, but not all the organisations we contact are so polite, so often our wording can be quite strong.

“Our real motivation here is to have our photographers’ rights upheld and for them to be fairly compensated when their work is used.”