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Author Topic: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger  (Read 4711 times)

Matthew Chan

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Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« on: October 12, 2010, 11:32:05 PM »
Let me start by saying that his post is a vent. It is predicated upon the premise of deleted messages/responses from what I considered helpful responses. The first deleted message was my message from July 27, 2008 and the second was Oscar's from October 25, 2008.

Specifically, I refer to a high-Google-ranked blog post for Getty Images letter recipients.

http://excesscopyright.blogspot.com/2008/05/watching-getty-images-watching.html

If you follow the entire thread of discussion, you will find the blogger, Howard Knopf, is an IP attorney. I have read his blog post as well as all the updates and the first piece of advice I hear him give is:

"I have spoken to David Fewer, Counsel at the wonderful CIPPIC clinic  at the University of Ottawa, who has agreed to keep track of these demands from Getty Images and to consider CIPPIC’s possible involvement. He can be reached at 613-562-5800 ext. 2558. His e-mail is: dfewer@uottawa.ca"

His second piece of advice is:

"Dear Readers:

There's clearly lots of interest here. Unfortunately, I cannot answer any questions or give any legal advice on this blog. I urge anyone at the wrong end of these letters to contact David Fewer at CIPPIC above.

Or call me and we can chat briefly, with no obligation. If it's the right case for a test case, it's possible that I could get involved."


His third message is this comment.

"As of today, June 18, 2009, Getty Images has only sued twice in the Federal Court of Canada and has discontinued both actions. Getty Images appears to be far less litigious than Masterfile.

I don't know whether Getty is suing in the courts of the provinces, though I would doubt it."


His fourth message is this comment:

"Once again, GETTY IMAGES has not sued anyone in the Federal Court in Canada since March, 2008. I can't speak for the provincial courts.

If anyone gets sued, let me and David Fewer at the University of Ottawa clinic www.cippic.ca know ASAP."


If you visit the website he suggests, CIPPIC (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic) appears to be largely a legal reporting site.  It does not appear they have taken any meaningful action or provide meaningful advice beyond an intellectual exercise. If they have, they have certainly done it in "stealth mode".

I want to know if anyone can tell me if there is truly anything meaningful, helpful, or substantive advice for Canadians beyond "tattle-taling" on Getty Images? I have been told CIPPIC does have some influence in Canada but in the context of Getty Images, I am awaiting new information.

Oscar and I attempted to share our website information to Canadian readers much like we used to refer U.K. letter recipients to the FSB forums before the thread was shut down over a year ago. Howard appears to be content with reply after reply of individual complaints but he deletes our messages which provide links to our website which provides more substantive and actionable advice.

For an IP attorney, he is very unhelpful and uninspired in his replies. To be clear, he is not obligated to help anyone but he went out of his way to delete my and Oscar's post which was more helpful than anything he has posted thus far.

In my view, Howard does a poor job for his Canadian readers. He shows very little knowledge, insightful commentary, or actionable advice.  Reporting to CIPPIC that you received a Getty Images Settlement Demand Letter or if you get sued is not helpful. Telling people that Masterfile is more litigious than Getty Images means little without more explanation.  Fortunately, Oscar has explained why that is the case here in the U.S.

Howard can do whatever he wants with his blog and blog post. But he doesn't appear to be helping many Canadians in this issue except letting letter recipients vent.  And he goes and deletes the responses of the two people who are most able to substantially help.

Bottom line: This is one reason why I started this website and have control over it. This is why Oscar and I have taken ownership of this issue because there is simply too much unhelpful and disorganized content on this subject. This isn't just an intellectual exercise or a case study for us.  This is real business in real life affecting real people. We are mindful of this.

I am okay if people don't want to be involved or tell people about our website.  Lord knows I have said more than once about shutting down this website and removing myself from the discussion. I cannot say it is a thankless job because we do get many thanks. This website is certainly not a revenue generator and that is ok too. But I continue to have mixed feelings about having my name associated with this website and issue since my own issue has been resolved.

But I really think it is a slap in the face when someone who is supposedly as smart as an attorney would intentionally squelch the two volunteer responders who could help Canadian readers the most. It is true that we primarily serve a U.S. audience but we have gotten thankful emails worldwide that reading our website has been helpful to them in their respective countries.

Oscar has openly volunteered to coordinate with attorneys in other countries to create a letter program, a legal representation plan, and support community like we have but to this day, no one has stepped up. We would be more than happy to spread the word of other great resources on the subject matter.

Until that time comes, Oscar and I appear to be the only people who care enough to publicly discuss and take on the issue. Thanks for letting me vent.

MatthewC
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 04:52:08 AM 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.

Oscar Michelen

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Re: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2010, 10:53:31 AM »
Matt I was unaware that he deleted our posts.  Do you think its worthwhile to ask him why or should we just leave it be?

SoylentGreen

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Re: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2010, 12:24:49 PM »
Like you Matt, I checked that particular blog, and I was also dismayed to find that much of an interesting conversation was removed.  For a short period of time, Mr Knopf had a notice on that page of his blog explaining that he had removed some posts because he felt that an American lawyer was seeking to gain business in Canada.  Of course, I'm paraphrasing here, as this info has been removed also.  Personally, I really feel that Oscar's participation on the blog was of value.

S.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2010, 07:35:19 PM »
I would just leave it alone. We are at the top of all the major search engines nowadays.  We certainly didn't get there by spamming anyone.  We did it by providing a platform for people to share their stories and information.  We also did it by old-fashioned hard work of providing good research, information, editorials, and commentary.

I surmise he believe what we were doing was self-promotional.

MatthewC

Oscar Michelen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Matt I was unaware that he deleted our posts.  Do
> you think its worthwhile to ask him why or should
> we just leave it be?
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: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2010, 07:57:42 PM »
Thanks for your support and sharing what you read. Let me apologize in advance for my strong tone but I truly get offended when people "get it wrong" especially when I donate my time (plus some readers occasional Paypal donations) to the cause.

I have to say that has got to be one of the dumbest and least helpful comments (among the other unhelpful ones) Mr. Knopf made. I think most people in the legal community know that U.S. attorneys can only practice here in the U.S. and generally only one state (unless they qualify/certify for another state)

There is no practical legal business that Oscar could gain in Canada, UK, or any other non-U.S. country. He can only practice in the U.S. and Oscar has NEVER expressed any interest in practicing anywhere outside the U.S. What Oscar has offered is free assistance to any of his legal counterparts in other countries who want to be involved.

We shared our website because how the heck can we convey the bulk of articles, recordings, editorials, posts, etc. into one comment into a blog post?  Of course, we would have to provide a link because there is no way to pack in all the info into any one blog post or comment.

Oscar and I knew very early on this was a world-wide phenomena and very early on invited international letter recipients to share their story and their feedback. I did this in part because I knew how I felt starting out. I felt pretty alone and unsupported in this issue over 2 years ago.  The only other serious discussion forum we ever saw was the U.K.FSB forums but that thread is long gone.

I know I am biased here. But which attorney has done more for the worldwide community on the extortion/settlement demand letter situation (which as gone past Getty Images):  Oscar or Mr. Knopf?

My question is why Mr. Knopf who is supposed to be a Canadian IP attorney not done or offered something more for his fellow citizens than point to CIPPIC?

The only thing I ask is for people to tell the correct story. Don't automatically assume that all involvement is self-promotional. Even if there was some self-promotion involved, how does keeping information secret help anyone else out?

Ok, jumping off the soapbox now.  I feel better.

MatthewC



SoylentGreen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Like you Matt, I checked that particular blog, and
> I was also dismayed to find that much of an
> interesting conversation was removed.  For a short
> period of time, Mr Knopf had a notice on that page
> of his blog explaining that he had removed some
> posts because he felt that an American lawyer was
> seeking to gain business in Canada.  Of course,
> I'm paraphrasing here, as this info has been
> removed also.  Personally, I really feel that
> Oscar's participation on the blog was of value.
>
> S.
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.

Oscar Michelen

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Re: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 03:21:15 PM »
Great response Matt.  I have helped folks all around the world -Singapore, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada etc etc at no charge just because no other lawyer has decided to put up a similar program in their home country. But I do not and cannot represent people in those countries. I can represent people around the US because Copyright Law is a Federal law which is the same all across the country. Whenever there is litigation (in Masterfile or Corbis claims) in other parts of the country, we employ a local attorney to move my admission in that State so I can represent the person there.  I have done that in Florida, Texas, California and Georgia.        

As a law professor and practicing lawyer for more than 25 years, my reputation is of upmost importance to me and I am not shilling for Canadian business by putting info on a Canadian blog. I seem to need to remind people that I do this at drastically reduced rates to provide an opportunity for people to have response to this epidemic. That being said, the percentage of people who retain me is miniscule to the percentage of people who just cut a check to these companies.  That's why the INFORMATION is the most important thing so folks can understand this issue and their rights.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2011, 10:01:45 AM »
This Canadian blog post by Howard Knopf still sits out there doing nothing.  I keep getting email updates of new people posting to that blog thread and there is never one lick of a reply from him.  People continue to waste their time posting to that blog post that just hangs out there with never an updated response.  I guess people don't know they can post here on ELI and at least get someone to have a dialog with them.

Yes, I am still irked that he deleted Oscar's and my respective posts.  We have done way more than he has done and he deleted us of all people.   
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 04:56:15 AM 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.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2011, 10:31:52 AM »
Obviously his blog is completely self serving, his goal is not to assist his fellow Canadians, but rather to just let people post away, all the while knowing the search engines will eventually pick it up and give him and his law firm exposure...This is just my opinion..hopefully readers of his blog will continue to search and research, if so they will most certainly land here after all EXTORTIONLETTERINFO.COM is the go to source for settlement demand letters regarding stock images for many people around the wordl!
« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 10:40:28 AM by buddhapi »
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..

SoylentGreen

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Re: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2011, 11:13:46 AM »
It seems as if Howard Knopf and Fewer are mainly interested in gathering information/research about these letters/lawsuits.
It's plain that they're not giving advice or guidance.

S.G.


Matthew Chan

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Re: Canadian Letter Recipients Getting Poor Advice from Blogger
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 01:21:37 AM »
As far as I am concerned, the issue we deal with is more than a freaking academic exercise they observe and report on.  I can appreciate a good legal argument and analysis like anyone but if you have an open blog post that sits out there for years and people keeping posting to it without any kind of meaningful or helpful responses, why keep sucking people in?  So he can hear everyone's sob stories?

He should simply shut down the comments to that post instead of having people continually post into a total vacuum.

Even his blog tagline is a joke and total waste of space.  "My views are purely personal and don't necessarily reflect those of my firm or any of its clients. Nothing on this blog should be taken as legal advice."  

Did that really need to be stated?  Anyone with half a brain can obviously figure that out. Besides that, he writes with the flair and position of stale bread. 

As far as I am concerned, he needs to come out of his ivory tower and get his head out of the academic hole it appears to be in.

It really is unbelievable that in the whole country of Canada, there is not one Canadian lawyer that can mount a single argument against the extortion letters? GMAFB.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 01:23:50 AM 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.

 

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