A lot of you now know that you need two licences (PPL and PRS) to play music in your store and some of you may be vaguely aware that you need to pay for the use of images as well.

The fact that many of you are developing websites means that you need to be very (not vaguely) aware of which images carry copyright.

Chris Beckett, who runs The Bottleneck in Broadstairs with his wife Lin, was surprised to receive a demand for £612 for using a generic picture of two glasses of wine, along with some bread and some fruit.

Their web designer had put the image up there about seven years ago and removed it the minute he was made aware of the situation.

The image agency demanding payment, StockFood, contacted the Becketts last month to say that it had a ‘snap shot’ of the picture (originally taken by a German photographer) as proof that it had been found on the website. The snap was dated September 2010.

Chris asked StockFood why it had waited three years to demand payment. He had had no breakdown of the fee. So had they deliberately sat on it in order to ramp up the bill? One of StockFood’s emails says: “We receive periodic reports from our two infringement detection agencies and due to the number of reports act on them in the order in which they are reported. It has no bearing on the claim.”

So I asked StockFood if the bill would have been £600+ if the image had only been up for five minutes, but the spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate for her to discuss their dealings with a third party (ie me). Rubbish.

This story isn’t over yet - the Becketts and StockFood are still at the email-swapping stage.

“It’s outrageous,” says Chris. “They are trying it on.” The couple are taking legal advice before deciding on their next move. Anyone else experienced this?