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Author Topic: Another Peter Holt Shakedown  (Read 745 times)

WayneVee

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Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« on: March 23, 2018, 04:05:13 PM »
I received a threatening "Settlement Demand Letter" about the "copyright infringement" of a Michael Briner photograph from attorney Peter Holt in Folsom CA. His letter, in so many words, said I could be liable to pay $30,000-$150,000, but if I pay him $1672, he will let me off the hook.

I got the photo from one of many free photo image download websites. After a 15-minute web search recently, I found the picture on several of these. There are undoubtedly many more. The copyright symbol had been removed from all the copies and there were no restrictions stated on the download page. I have screen captures and web addresses of all of these pages. So, the download of the photo was in good faith because there was no indication that the image was copyrighted. Also, it was on a third party website that posted the image and built it's site using that picture. Of course, I removed the picture from my website immediately.

I realize this is a form of entrapment where the photographer places his photos on free wallpaper and image sites, then uses an application like PicScout or TinEye to scan the internet for the image. He then works with an attorney to send out a "Settlement Demand Letter" to "coercively extract" money from the unwitting victim with fear-inducing tactics.

I found U.S. Code 504 - Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits, Paragraph 2 that states "In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200." So, Holt intentionally inflated that number from $200 to $30,000 in his "Settlement Demand Letter" to perpetrate his scare tactic.

Any sugestions for the best way to proceed from here?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 02:50:46 AM by WayneVee »

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 06:57:28 PM »
this is typical, read the forums, get educated and then decided your best course of action..nothing is ever "free" anymore.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

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Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2018, 02:52:31 PM »
That asshole Peter Holt doesn't like to be associated with "extortion", go read this very old thread, he got his panties in a knot when phrases such as "Attorney Peter Holt sends extortion letter" , Peter Holt Practices Extortion" and the like when we discussed him on ELI, he seemingly doesn't like any of us to post our opinions that he is a copyright troll, practicing legalized extortion...We haven't heard a peep from Peter Holt or his firm in a very long time, now all of a sudden he has chosen to step back into this arena.....

https://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/attorney-peter-t-holt's-letter-to-oscar-michelen-eli-website/msg3763/#msg3763
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

WayneVee

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2018, 04:23:27 PM »
Here's more information on the Peter Holt shakedown post. The photographer in question, Michael Briner, registered the copyright of the photo I used 7 months after I used it. How does this affect his claim of infringement?

WayneVee

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2018, 04:33:52 PM »
It's curious that the photographer, Michael Briner, placed his images on these free photo download websites if he doesn't want people to download and use them.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 02:45:12 AM by WayneVee »

WayneVee

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2018, 06:09:44 PM »
Section 1203 of the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act states: "The court has discretion to reduce or remit damages in cases of innocent violations, where the violator proves that it was not aware and had no reason to believe its acts constituted a violation." [Section 1203(c)(5)(A)].
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 02:43:56 AM by WayneVee »

Matthew Chan

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2018, 11:05:58 PM »
My comments inline...

I received a threatening "Settlement Demand Letter" about the "copyright infringement" of a Michael Briner photograph from attorney Peter Holt in Folsom CA. His letter, in so many words, said I could be liable to pay $30,000-$150,000, but if I pay him $1672, he will let me off the hook.

Peter is so sweet and generous to give up the other $28,000 to $148,000 that he could have gotten, right?  LOL.

I got the photo from one of many free photo image download websites. After a 15-minute web search recently, I found the picture on several of these. There are undoubtedly many more. The copyright symbol had been removed from all the copies and there were no restrictions stated on the download page. I have screen captures and web addresses of all of these pages. So, the download of the photo was in good faith because there was no indication that the image was copyrighted. Also, it was on a third party website that posted the image and built it's site using that picture. Of course, I removed the picture from my website immediately.

You need a wake up call and you may have to learn the hard way.  Piracy is rampant. That is what you are seeing. And whether there is a copyright symbol or not, all images are owned by someone. If ain't you, then that should automatically give you pause.

I realize this is a form of entrapment where the photographer places his photos on free wallpaper and image sites, then uses an application like PicScout or TinEye to scan the internet for the image. He then works with an attorney to send out a "Settlement Demand Letter" to "coercively extract" money from the unwitting victim with fear-inducing tactics.

No, it is not always entrapment. There are some cases where there is "baiting". But many of these "free wallpaper" websites pirate images from legitimate artists/owners and then lure people in for the web traffic. Without knowing the websites you are referring to, it is hard to say. More than likely it was a pirate who launched these "free wallpaper websites".

Any suggestions for the best way to proceed from here?

That is too broad a question.  If you want to negotiate and settle, there is a set of strategies.  If you want to avoiding paying/settling, that is another strategy. It comes with its own set of risks.What do YOU think you want to do?

« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 11:07:38 PM by Matthew Chan »
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, epithets, & profanity. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2018, 11:08:51 PM »
That is generally a bad assumption. There are many pirate sites out there that put up "free wallpaper" websites. In my view, if you see that, RUN AWAY FAST!  Which website did you get the image from? Was it his website?

It's curious that the photographer, Michael Briner, placed his images on these free photo download websites if he doesn't want people to download and use them.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, epithets, & profanity. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2018, 11:11:02 PM »
Are you planning on going to court over this? Lawsuits on small-time infringements are actually pretty rare.

Section 1203 of the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act states: "The court has discretion to reduce or remit damages in cases of innocent violations, where the violator proves that it was not aware and had no reason to believe its acts constituted a violation." [Section 1203(c)(5)(A)].
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, epithets, & profanity. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2018, 11:12:26 PM »
The dude has to make a living somehow, right?   ;D

That asshole Peter Holt doesn't like to be associated with "extortion", go read this very old thread, he got his panties in a knot when phrases such as "Attorney Peter Holt sends extortion letter" , Peter Holt Practices Extortion" and the like when we discussed him on ELI, he seemingly doesn't like any of us to post our opinions that he is a copyright troll, practicing legalized extortion...We haven't heard a peep from Peter Holt or his firm in a very long time, now all of a sudden he has chosen to step back into this arena.....

https://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/attorney-peter-t-holt's-letter-to-oscar-michelen-eli-website/msg3763/#msg3763
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, epithets, & profanity. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

UnfairlyTargeted

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Re: Another Peter Holt Shakedown
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2018, 11:57:08 AM »
If he registered the image 7 months after you used it, you can tell him to piss off.  He has no case.

And regardless of whether he seeded the internet or not (and personally I think based on my research many photographers are doing this because they can't make it legitimately selling images anymore) his image is all over the place.  Thus he has absolutely no basis to make any claims over it - an innocent infringement defense is a slam dunk and a baiting defense is a good backup.  That horse has left the barn and he needs to move on.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 12:28:18 PM by UnfairlyTargeted »

 

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