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1
Wow, great example.  So much fraud out there. Even when one tries to be legit, you encounter suspicious material.
2
Getty Images Letter Forum / Re: How do Copyright trolls find their targets?
« Last post by clist on August 17, 2017, 12:58:25 PM »
You may be right.

Way too many hail Mary passes being thrown...  8)

3
I believe in addition to the "matches" that the Picscout software finds, it also identifies and extracts contact information from the site and then adds it to a database as well.

Then after a certain amount of data is collected the site probably then goes thru a manual review to verify the info (possibly by an actual person / minion / troll assistant) who then assembles an "infringement packet" and... away it goes.. (either via email, snail mail or both)

Once the accused responds ~ the games begin...   ;)

I strongly dis-agree with anything "manually" happening..right down to the unsigned form letters they send. Look how many people get letters, where the image in question was linked from an outside source, or brought into a site via feed scripts..
4
So check this out.

I was drafting a blog post and needed an image of "money" to accentuate the post. Nothing special, just a generic "money" pic would do.

So, I searched for a "Creative commons - CC0 no attribution required" pic of money...

Boom!

Found one that fits the bill: https://pixabay.com/en/dollar-bank-note-money-finance-941246/

At first glance everything looks legit. User seems credible. Site seems legit. 20k downloads.

So, out of curiosity I ran the image through tineye to see how many hits would come up and viola...

1184 matches:
  https://www.tineye.com/search/979c2d9c8d191b7b27e9c8ffc26aba12efa2510f/?extension_ver=

I'm not surprised. Its labeled as "free to use".

However there was one thing that stood out to me.

In the returned results (in tineye) you can tick the box that says: show only the (1) result found in stock.

So I did and it returns a hit at shutterstock: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/dollar-banknotes-1-currency-united-states-682215031?irgwc=1&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=TinEye&utm_source=77643&utm_term=

Out of curiosity I followed that link...

What I found next was very interesting.

The uploaders of the image appear to be 2 different people.

Different names, different countries...

Again, this goes to show you ~ you never know...

Who knows, 1184 people could be receiving extortion letters someday...

BTW: I ended up reaching in my pocket and taking a picture with my cel of a couple of bucks and then ran it thru some filters on Instagram and came up with a very nice high res shot...


Free of charge.


5
Getty Images Letter Forum / Re: How do Copyright trolls find their targets?
« Last post by clist on August 17, 2017, 03:02:19 AM »
I believe in addition to the "matches" that the Picscout software finds, it also identifies and extracts contact information from the site and then adds it to a database as well.

Then after a certain amount of data is collected the site probably then goes thru a manual review to verify the info (possibly by an actual person / minion / troll assistant) who then assembles an "infringement packet" and... away it goes.. (either via email, snail mail or both)

Once the accused responds ~ the games begin...   ;)
6
My comments inline...

I received one of these Higbee demand letters in February 2017 through a website I run. At first, I was a little nervous and then I Googled and came out to this site. I'm a lawyer and I knew things were fishy before even coming to this great resource.

Welcome, glad to have you here!

1. I found it odd that they sent a demand through regular mail. Usually, in important legal papers, I at least use tracking.

In the "old" days (pre-2012), almost everything we saw was through regular mail but then gradually we began seeing copyright claim emails which has almost become the norm today. I estimate there are literally thousands of copyright claims each year.  It is all based on most people's legal ignorance. The emails are generally as effective as sending a snail-mail letter.

2. The $5,000 demand bears in no relationship to any damages that Youngson could have for a page that maybe had 200 views on it. I deleted the photo after I got the initial paperwork.

Absolutely correct  The $5K number is made up and arbitrary. We see that number for most people.

3. The whole honeypot scam of labeling the photos for reuse in Google Images when it should be labeled as commercial or reuse with modification since you have to attribute or pay the license.

The Nick Youngson website operation is so shoddy and the wording and disclosures are so bad, I didn't even know it was his website until another victim reported his findings and it compelled me to give a closer look. He promotes his "free images" so hard that people are falling for it left and right and put into a "gotcha" situation.

4. The whole license fee of $10. How can he demand $5,000 in damages when he'll sell the picture for $10?

That is correct. It is far above even the $750 minimum statutory damages assuming he even registers his images.

5. The whole licensing thing is a scam because if you pay the $10, Youngson provides no licensing agreement. When does it start, when does it end? Will he still claim damages from someone who bought a license from him.

I have not heard from anyone paying the $10. Did you pay $10? Is that what you are saying?

6. The people calling you on the phones aren't lawyers. Anyone who ever went to law school would understand their demands aren't reasonable.

Yup, the people on the phones are generally low-level hourly clerks. They do the grunt work.

7. Higbee hasn't sued on this because it would expose the Honeypot scam. There is more money in getting $500 to $1250 settlements from companies who don't know better or don't want to hire an attorney than filing an actual lawsuit.

That is what I have been saying. I rarely call anything a "honeypot" scheme because most victims got their images from Google Images and any number of places.  But with Nick Youngson, he promotes "free" images with crappy disclosures, then nails people for making dumb mistakes on giving credit.

I ignored the calls and I've ignored the threats that they are forwarding this to their litigation team. It's 6 months later. If they wanted to sue me, they would have already.

I agree with you that people should not return calls. In fact, people should save the voice messages. I am interested in hearing more of them. I disagree with you on the rationale of their not filing a lawsuit within 6 months. Many copyright lawsuits are filed between Years 2 & 3 when it becomes clear that months-long efforts to settle have been exhausted. IN particular, Nick Youngson filing a lawsuit is currently unlikely because of the way he operated.  His active promotion of "free" images and lack of clear disclosures is a big problem in my view.
7
I can't remember the name of a recent case (I think it was a BWP Media case) where a ruling was issued that a website owner does NOT automatically lose protections simply because a website does not have a DMCA agent. It was stated that the DMCA is a supplement in addition to existing copyright law, it does NOT override or supplant existing copyright laws.

Essentially, a website owner should NOT be liable for what a 3rd-party user posts. But of course, most of us know that it won't stop Masterfile and their ilk from trying to collect money regardless.

Having said that, it is undeniable there is a greater safety/buffer by filing and appointing a DMCA agent.

If you "own" a site that depends on user generated content, it would be in your best interest to to spend the money and file for a "registered agent". This would afford you safe harbor provisions under the DMCA, providing you do it correctly and adhere to the rules contained within.. Unfortunately it would not help you much with the current MF situation.
8
Was your email a specific request to hire Oscar and enroll in the Defense Letter Program? I have seen many people's emails over the year and several write "soft emails" asking for help or for Oscar to call them without being specific.  Emails to digitalimagelitigation @ gmail.com are read by a clerk. Generally speaking, if emails are "soft requests" for help, due to the crazy amounts of emails Oscar gets, they go to the bottom of the priority pile and do not get processed.

Without seeing your email request, no one can help you as your post has no name or signature.  You can forward the original request to me (matt30060 / gmail) and let me see it.
9
Hello,

I wanted to make a quick post here as I sent an email late last week with regards to signing up for the 'ELI Defense Letter Program' but have not received any response.

I just want to ensure that my request was received.

Thank you,
10
I received one of these Higbee demand letters in February 2017 through a website I run. At first, I was a little nervous and then I Googled and came out to this site. I'm a lawyer and I knew things were fishy before even coming to this great resource.

1. I found it odd that they sent a demand through regular mail. Usually, in important legal papers, I at least use tracking.

2. The $5,000 demand bears in no relationship to any damages that Youngson could have for a page that maybe had 200 views on it. I deleted the photo after I got the initial paperwork.

3. The whole honeypot scam of labeling the photos for reuse in Google Images when it should be labeled as commercial or reuse with modification since you have to attribute or pay the license.

4. The whole license fee of $10. How can he demand $5,000 in damages when he'll sell the picture for $10?

5. The whole licensing thing is a scam because if you pay the $10, Youngson provides no licensing agreement. When does it start, when does it end? Will he still claim damages from someone who bought a license from him.

6. The people calling you on the phones aren't lawyers. Anyone who ever went to law school would understand their demands aren't reasonable.

7. Higbee hasn't sued on this because it would expose the Honeypot scam. There is more money in getting $500 to $1250 settlements from companies who don't know better or don't want to hire an attorney than filing an actual lawsuit.

I ignored the calls and I've ignored the threats that they are forwarding this to their litigation team. It's 6 months later. If they wanted to sue me, they would have already.





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Official ELI Help Options
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