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Author Topic: "Retroactive Use"  (Read 6619 times)

apdpsudx

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"Retroactive Use"
« on: January 16, 2009, 04:23:24 PM »
Hello,

First I'd like to thank you both for this website.  It has provided a lot of valuable information.  

I received a similar letter from Masterfile for 1 image I did not know was copyrighted.  I removed it right away from my site.

Masterfile requested $2,000 "retroactive".    I looked at their website for this image, and it sells for $230.00.  As well, based upon non-willful infringement and the 1976 Copyright Act as stated in your topic A Summary of the Getty Issue in the United States that the damages may be reduced to $200.

I am interested in finding out - what is the likelyhood if I challenge them or offer a settlement and state these numbers above that they will agree to this?  Are there any existing court cases I may site?

Also, as stated earlier, I noticed that there is no copyright record onfile at copyright.gov for this image.  Although it was mentioned that copyright law states that it is copyrighted as soon as it is produced, this does not indicate that the company Masterfile/Getty may not have:
   1, had this designer as a customer when I first used the image or sold rights to the image before I had used it,
   2. provided no date of how long I have used this image,
   3. provided when they "imaged" my website for their letter (which is also odd, as I did not give them explicit permission to use an image of my company's website, which *is* copyrighted.. ironic no?),  
   4. provided no montary value loss to me using this image or impact on their business.

This seems to raise many questions or doubts!!!

Their letter, oddly enough, states INVOICE.  Although, I have agreed to no business at anytime with them (and now I doubt I ever will because of this shady "retroactive" business practice).  (:P) So basically, it seems to me that they have accused me of stealing, copyright infringement and now are blackmailing me for $2000!   Only a court could decide damages, correct and if I owe even at all!

I will definitely be writing a letter to my congressman, senator and maybe Attorney General to complain about this and will be willing to share this letter.  I would encourage the others to do the same to prevent - no, not to prevent lawsuits against copyright infringement, but to prevent these abusive, questionable and greedy practices both of these companies employ!  I don't know if it will help, but I think if enough people complain, that eventually some change may occur.  

Thanks again for your help and comments!

apdpsudx

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Re: "Retroactive Use"
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2009, 04:36:14 PM »
Additionally, i notice the "invoice" states:

"This invoice is subject to the laws of the Province of Ontario.   Jurisdiction shall be in the municipality of the Metropolitan of Toronto."

My company is a US based S.Corp.  Can I simply tell them to buzz off?  I realize WTO enables copyright protection across boundry.  But, i am not in the jurisdiction of Toronto... that whole thing about full faith across international boundries does not exist like between states.

Oscar Michelen

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Re: "Retroactive Use"
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2009, 10:33:00 PM »
OK Masterfile is different than Getty for a few reasons - first they normally DO register their images and if you ask them for proof of registration they will send it to you. Second - they do sue, They have filed several lawsuits and retained lawyers across the country to represent them without suit.  All the suits I have found have been settled apparently. Third, they can be reasoned with. The invoice is irrelevant, they would likely have to sue you in the federal court in your district and this is what they are doing across the country. We are currently dealing with a handful of Masterfile claims (all of them with registered images). I would not tell them to buzz off.  I would engage them and try to offer something reasonable. Copying a screenshot of your site to prove to you that you infringed is not itself copyright infringement  - it would be considered a proper and fair use provided they did have the copyright to the image.  With a correct approach you may get them down significantly

apdpsudx

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Re: "Retroactive Use"
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2009, 01:33:31 PM »
Thanks for the reply Oscar, I appreciate your time and help.  I have some lawyers assisting me in the matter.  Its good to hear that Masterfile is reasonable.  

I did read online that they had filed numerous cases and did win in the US (cited here).  Even in my own municipality.  

I am curious, in regards to US laws, is the US Congress or Senate, etc taking a look into this issue?

Thanks again Oscar!

roger

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Re: "Retroactive Use"
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2009, 01:04:58 AM »
I received a letter from Masterfile

Oscar Michelen

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Re: "Retroactive Use"
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 05:00:10 PM »
I cannot help you in Canada, just recall that under UK Copyright law (as is applied in Canada) if you can prove innocent infringement then the copyright holder would not be entitled to damages. With that many images on the line, you shol dconsult an IP lawyer in your area ASAP.

 

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