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Author Topic: Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?  (Read 4925 times)

Ethan Seven

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Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?
« on: April 23, 2018, 12:26:39 PM »
Has anyone seen any evidence that Copytrack does more than just send demand letters?  They are not a law firm and obviously cannot file law suits.  I also could not find any evidence that the parties they are collecting for ever file lawsuits.   Has anyone seen any evidence that their claims gets escalated to a law firm or that they litigate claims?

I have a friend/client that received a letter asking for about 10 times what I think the normal licensing fee would be for the picture.  Just want to make sure it is safe to ignore Copytrack’s demands until they accept or make a reasonable offer.

Thank you for any insight.
Even if I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer.  Copyright matters can have serious consequences.  If you have assets worth protecting, consult a lawyer who is familiar with copyright law and who can review the facts of your case. If you cannot afford one, call your state or county bar association.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2018, 01:17:58 PM »
We usually get wind of the lawsuit thing if it were to happen. And if a lawsuit were to happen, it would NOT likely be in Copytrack's name because they are not the copyright holder's. The case would be likely outsourced to a lawyer to "motivate" and threaten someone to pay. But that is a different thing from having an actual lawsuit. And even if there was a lawsuit, most of these things never go "all the way".

For the time being, I would say most of Copytrack's letters are fairly low in the "danger list".
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, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Ethan Seven

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Re: Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2018, 01:39:04 AM »
From what I have been able to find, most of their clients are from Europe.  I searched Pacer and none have ever filed a copyright lawsuit in the US.  I think there is close to a zero percent chance that this claim would result in a lawsuit.  The image is not even registered in the US, which means they would not get statutory damages or be able demand attorneys fees. 

My client would pay a fair amount for the time they used the photo and a little for the costs incurred, but Copytrack is insisting on way, way more than that.  So, they will probably just get ignored now.  Greedy bastards.
Even if I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer.  Copyright matters can have serious consequences.  If you have assets worth protecting, consult a lawyer who is familiar with copyright law and who can review the facts of your case. If you cannot afford one, call your state or county bar association.

UnfairlyTargeted

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Re: Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2018, 12:53:21 PM »
You client should pay nothing, EVER.

Do some research on the photographers that use these services - go in photographer forms where copyright infringement is discussed.  if their work were any good, they would not need to extort people.  Most of these people are talentless hobbists that think their work is worth something.  when you read about the guy that bought himself a new lens, your blood should boil and you should never pay a dime, ever.  instead, expose the photographer for who he is.  and contact his real employer to tell them that they may be illegally extorting people using company resources and time.

Ethan Seven

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Re: Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2018, 05:32:12 PM »
I can understand the emotion behind that suggestion, but I cannot say I agree with it in most circumstances.  There are many legitimate photographers who sue people and being on the defense on a copyright claim is not a good place to be without a license or real defense.

In this case, the creator of the image is definitely an established photographer and there is no doubt my client used the image.  So, at that point there are both ethical and strategic reasons to make some offer. 

The ethical  reason is obvious, my client used someone’s property without paying and caused them to incur some costs in enforcement, my guess this is a very small amount since Copytrack is not a law firm. 

The strategic reason is is twofold. One,  they may accept the lowball counteroffer and that reduces risk and saves time and stress. Second, if they do litigate, it looks very bad and increases the chances that a judge will award attorneys fees if the defendant made no offer to settle the claim; conversely, it also makes the Plaintiff look very bad if they are wasting court time when the defendant made a somewhat reasonable offer.   

I understand how someone who does not have ethical concerns or is not worried about being sued may wish to ignore the letters or offer nothing, but I doubt that is most people.  It is definitely not my client
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 05:35:27 PM by Ethan Seven »
Even if I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer.  Copyright matters can have serious consequences.  If you have assets worth protecting, consult a lawyer who is familiar with copyright law and who can review the facts of your case. If you cannot afford one, call your state or county bar association.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2018, 08:59:10 PM »
Sounds like conventional lawyer talk to me here.  And it is exactly what they want you to think.  It plays into THEIR narrative for extorting more money.

What if I told you that most claims NEVER go to lawsuits?  What if I told you they routinely lie about the lawsuit thing?  And even if the very few go to lawsuit level, they end up getting settled way before a judge gets involved?  And in some situations, filing a lawsuit is like farting in the wind. It becomes a win that is entirely noncollectable.  If filing and winning a lawsuit was so simple, there would be no need for extortion letters.

The scenario you paint anyone is free to believe and follow. And if someone has more money than actual facts and a true assessment, then they can piss their money away. People piss money away all the time unnecessarily because they never learn how things really work and how to fight back. Or they let their imaginations run so wild and insane, they sabotage themselves.

Just because there is an infringement, does not automatically mean it is "monetary worthy". That is a myth perpetrated by those who drink the spiked kool-aid.  There are many images which are free you can't get people to ever pay or use. Period. If you want to pay, go pay. If your client is aching to pay to satisfy his conscience, that is fine.

However, there is a such thing as a "de minimus" infringement which I see all the time. The images are not special or noteworthy and they could not sell it for $5.  But because someone stupidly infringes on the image by posting on a website that gets 10 views per month, it suddenly becomes deserving to pay $1,000 or more?  I want to make clear that I believe it is bullshit.

I don't condone infringement or piracy but I don't buy into the bullshit line about someone's "ethics" is questionable because they don't want to roll over and pay a stupid/nonsensical amount of money. What I understand about your statement is that it is YOUR opinion and YOUR stance. If you think ELI is infested with ethically-challenged people, maybe you shouldn't be reading the discussions here.

Second, if they do litigate, it looks very bad and increases the chances that a judge will award attorneys fees if the defendant made no offer to settle the claim; conversely, it also makes the Plaintiff look very bad if they are wasting court time when the defendant made a somewhat reasonable offer.   

I understand how someone who does not have ethical concerns or is not worried about being sued may wish to ignore the letters or offer nothing, but I doubt that is most people. 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 09:01:21 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, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Ethan Seven

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Re: Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2018, 03:03:55 PM »
While I am sure it was not done intentionally, I believe you, Mr. Chan, completely misconstrued what I said and just put words in my mouth that I never spoke (or wrote in this instance).

So, let me reiterate or clarify.  I never called anyone ethically challenged.  Nor did I say that people should pay over inflated demands.  I actually made it clear that I was advising my client to not pay Copytrack’s inflated price which seems to be 10x the market price. 

I did say that I do believe that most businesses are ethical and that when faced with the fact that they used another businesses property, they will pay a reasonable amount to compensate the owner and to reduce the risk of being sued. 

I agree with you that nobody should pay $1,000 for a $5 image that was used on a page with 10 visits.  Faced with those facts alone, my advice would be to offer to pay $25 to $100.   That is a reasonable amount for the image and costs incurred.   At that point, there is next to no chance that an attorney would let their client clog up a federal court docket over the dispute.  Most judges are annoyed or furious when they are asked to resolve a small dispute that should have and could have been resolved without litigation

That being said, the addition of a few facts could greatly alter my recommendation.  For instance, if my client added his watermark to the image or removed meta data, which would give rise to a section 1202 violation. 

In general, I think very small or floundering businesses without assets have very little chance of being sued.  Plaintiffs attorneys in copyright cases almost always work on contingency.  They want to sue businesses or people who have assets and who can pay the judgment or settle.   While companies without assets do sometimes get sued, it is usually because the attorney was under the mistaken belief that the defendant had assets or for personal reasons.

Alright, enough on this thread for me.   I have learned what I was hoping to learn: nobody knows of any Copytrack cases leading to litigation in the US.   I will check back occasionally.



Even if I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer.  Copyright matters can have serious consequences.  If you have assets worth protecting, consult a lawyer who is familiar with copyright law and who can review the facts of your case. If you cannot afford one, call your state or county bar association.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 05:34:10 AM »
I "misconstrued"?  I am not convinced I "misconstrued". Let's revisit the last sentence of your earlier post.

I understand how someone who does not have ethical concerns or is not worried about being sued may wish to ignore the letters or offer nothing, but I doubt that is most people.  It is definitely not my client.

To paraphrase your words, "someone who does not have ethical concerns".... "may wish to ignore the letters or offer nothing." It sounds like a sideways swipe to me.

I have no problems with advising many people to ignore the letters and offer nothing by virtue of the fact that the majority of these extortion letters ask for egregious amounts and totally unjustifiable. They routinely lie to people and use people's legal ignorance to coax people to pay up outrageous amounts of money over images that could never sell for $10.

You brought in the ethics discussion with your statement and I am telling you the ethics part is often in very short supply the minute most extortion letters are sent out with the garbage that is often printed out. My general opinion is that when that happens, similar reciprocal tactics is fair game.

While I am sure it was not done intentionally, I believe you, Mr. Chan, completely misconstrued what I said and just put words in my mouth that I never spoke (or wrote in this instance).

So, let me reiterate or clarify.  I never called anyone ethically challenged.  Nor did I say that people should pay over inflated demands.  I actually made it clear that I was advising my client to not pay Copytrack’s inflated price which seems to be 10x the market price. 

I did say that I do believe that most businesses are ethical and that when faced with the fact that they used another businesses property, they will pay a reasonable amount to compensate the owner and to reduce the risk of being sued. 
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, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Ethan Seven

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Re: Safe to Ignore Copytrack Threats In the US?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 10:07:21 PM »
My saying a person needs to weigh the ethical concerns about a particular claim is no where near to saying this board is “infested with ethically challenged people.”   



Even if I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer.  Copyright matters can have serious consequences.  If you have assets worth protecting, consult a lawyer who is familiar with copyright law and who can review the facts of your case. If you cannot afford one, call your state or county bar association.

 

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