Time Inc Threatens Websites Over Jaycee Dugard Photo Cover

Yesterday we posted a brief piece on the new Jaycee Dugard People interview coming out in this week’s issue of the magazine. Along with the post, we included an image of the Jaycee Dugard People cover. This morning, we woke up to a nasty letter from someone claiming to represent Time Inc.  demanding we take down the People magazine cover image and send them $1500 in fees stat!


WTF? Discussing the latest gossip and scandal coming out in the tabloids is standard practice in the entertainment media industry. Posting accompanying cover images is fair use and People Magazine was properly credited as the source. After scouting around, we discovered we weren’t alone in receiving this BS DMCA takedown  notice – which just smells way fishy.

Inquisitr.com was one of the other sites to receive the nasty email and as they note, the People Magazine cover “is currently on just about EVERY MAJOR NEWS SITE on the planet.” We especially like the giant Yahoo! News lead article featuring the cover image. As an entertainment writer, I’ve actually had magazines like People and the National Enquirer prostrating themselves to get media coverage – offering cover images, press releases and more to tempt writers into posting an article or  blog post on their upcoming content. Why? Because OUR media coverage of their stories helps sell THEIR magazines.

So why the alleged attack from Time Inc over a standard media practice they themselves have exploited many times in the past? We can only guess – if it is real - the company is probably hoping some frightened blogger out there without legal representation might cough up the cash and earn them a quick buck or two.

Or maybe they are just hoping creating a scandal over the Jaycee Dugard cover will drum up even more publicity to sell copies of the People Magazine issue. Either way, if this is indeed coming from Time Inc. and isn’t some elaborate scam – it’s abusive and nasty – and we applaud Duncan Riley at Inquisitr.com for being the first to say as much loud and clear!

>> Previously: Kidnap Victim Jaycee Dugard People Magazine Photo Revealed

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Annaka Turner

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20 thoughts on “Time Inc Threatens Websites Over Jaycee Dugard Photo Cover”

  1. Maybe it’s a scam — was there a real TIME address included for submitting the $1500 payment? How odd.

    Unless, of course, the AP bought Time recently…

  2. Even more interesting…. I wonder if People even received the picture with the understanding that they would have exclusive rights?!

    Did they or did they not pay Jaycee’s mother for the picture she gave them?

    Here’s a quote from:


    —– When Larry King asked J.D. Heyman if they paid for the photographs Heyman replied, “You know, we, like any news organization, pay for photographs. We have… But we, we wouldn’t — you know, that’s — that’s really all I can say.” —–

  3. @LI_Mom

    A quote from the Mindcrest website:

    Recognized as a market leader by The Black Book of Outsourcing, International Association of Outsourcing Professionals and Frost & Sullivan.

    The website is hard to work with, but it seems that Mr. Merchant is in Mumbai (or was in 2004).

    You shoulda been a detective — good instincts!

  4. This has happened to my site regarding the latest cover with Nicole Richie.
    I was really worried as im a student and i do my website as a hobbie, i can not afford to pay that amount of money & besides i found the image on a forum. Alot of other fansites have also posted the picture.

    Is it an actual scam or are People magazine in need of money?

    Has anyone had a follow up email? Ive emailed them but heard nothing. I did notice they forwarded on their own email to an email address which seems quite fake .. khtmpbtvm@whoisprivacyprotect.com

  5. @ NRN, yeah me too. where students should get the money from :/

    is there a way to ask “people” about this email? maybe is really is a scam?

  6. Wow, I just got this same email from this guy for the Nicole Richie cover. I wasn’t going to cough up the money, but I didn’t question the legitimacy if it until now. I’m also just working on my site for fun. I don’t really make much more than a few bucks a day off of it, so paying that amount of money is impossible for me too.

    Now, I’m starting to think this is a scam. I have a friend who used to work at People. I’m contacting him to see if he knows anyone over there that I can ask about this.

  7. yeah I got one today for the Nicole Richie people magazine cover, scared the crap out of me! I mean it clearly said ‘people’ on it so it wasn’t like we were saying ‘oh yes I own people magazine’
    I took down the article and the photo and I emailed the person about it, I can’t afford 1,500 K I mean we are helping them sell the magazine!

    I hope they don’t sue everyone who has the cover! I mean what is the point of having a blog then if you can’t help spread the word? Makes me want to stop posting articles.

  8. These people have been sending out so many of these BS DMCA notices that I don’t even know how they would manage to pursue them if they were real. Personally I find the whole thing very questionable and unprofessional, which is why it feels wrong. TIME has their own legal department, why would they be outsourcing to a shady, weird company out of the country? Why is no one getting any follow-ups on these alleged DMCA letters? Just smells way fishy.

  9. I agree with you! I posted an article on my site and i also put your site as a backup link, maybe more people should post these letters.
    we are just bloggers doing something as a hobby.

  10. my husband who works for an internet company told me something I wanted to share with you or anyone interested:

    copyright infringement is handled in civil court and are usually based on damage done
    usually you wouldn’t be emailed, you’d be served
    an email from a lawyer doesn’t mean sh**
    it’s just to scare people
    like a cease-and-desist through an email can be ignored and if they don’t follow up and do a real cease-and-desist order in court it’s meaningless.

    someone posted on my site that it was a new scam going out:

  11. i just got this letter too. wtf. im calling bullshit on it.

    (i had posted the sandra bullock black baby picture)

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