An Open Letter to Pixsy CEO Kain Jones, Who Keeps Sending Me Legal Threats

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

Cory Doctorow
9 min readFeb 13, 2022

Image: Tobias Bomm, CC BY 2.0 (modified)


In January, I published an article describing how a company called Pixsy sent me repeated legal threats in a bid to get me to pay $600 for a Creative Commons image I’d used. Pixsy falsely claimed that I had violated the Creative Commons license by failing to correctly attribute it to its creator, the photographer Nenad Stojkovic. After I challenged them on this, they apologized and withdrew the threats, but refused to answer any of my questions about how this happened or how their business operates (Stojkovic also failed to answer multiple messages seeking clarification).

In my article, I expressed my disgust with the unethical practice of “copyleft trolling” — where predators post photos under outdated, out-of-use versions of Creative Commons licenses, then threaten to sue the people who use these images over minor administrative errors in their attributions (the current Creative Commons licenses require rightsholders to offer a 30-day grace period to “cure” attributions after notifying users before taking any further action).

I named both the Pixsy employee who threatened me and their supervisor, who apologized but refused to answer my questions about how these threats came to be sent, and whether Pixsy was a company that made a practice out of copyleft trolling. Though these employees only gave their first names (apparently, Pixsy is a company that sends pseudonymous legal threats, which is a giant red flag), I included links to the LinkedIn profiles of Pixsy employees with matching first names.

On February 2, Pixsy CEO Kain Jones sent me a letter with yet more baseless legal threats, inviting me to an “open conversation.”

Open conversations do not take place under a cloud of baseless litigation threats. Open conversations are not conducted at lawyerpoint. “Legal intimidation” is fundamentally incompatible with “open conversation.”

Which is why I’ve decided to reply to Mr Jones in public.

Cory Doctorow

Writer, blogger, activist. Blog:; Mailing list:; Mastodon: