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Creative Commons Photos on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi):
"2. By discouraging and scaring common people here on this forum, what do you gain? Boost to your ego? Satisfaction of trolling? Or do you feel smart thinking, I am a contrarian.

For example, you clearly do not have my interests at hand. So why do you expect I engage with you? Or anyone for that matter.
In this fight, I have my skin in the game. You don't. "

DVG is clearly NOT discouraging and scaring anyone.. His posts are always well thought out and clearly explained, he might be "the enemy" in some eyes, and we may have to agree to disagree with what each believes..

 I suppose you could decide to follow the advice of "Unfairly Targeted".. : )

For all current & future readers (*cough* victims)

The photographer, Mr. Marco Verch, we are dealing with (with Pixsy) has filed and pursued litigation twice:

1. Verch v. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. et al
Filed: June 20, 2018 as 1:2018cv00752
Plaintiff: Marco Verch
Defendant: Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. , Doubletree Management LLC
Cause Of Action: Copyright Infringement
Court: Fourth Circuit › Virginia › Virginia Eastern District Court
Type: Intellectual Property › Copyrights
Result: NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal by Marco Verch (Deal, David). So Ordered re11 Notice of Voluntary Dismissal filed by Marco Verch. Signed by District Judge T. S. Ellis, III on 8/10/2018. (dest, )

2. Verch v. Fans Favorite Fan, LLC
Filed: November 15, 2017 as 1:2017cv08884
Plaintiff: Marco Verch
Defendant: Fans Favorite Fan, LLC
Cause Of Action: Copyright Infringement
Court: Second Circuit › New York › New York Southern District Court
Type: Intellectual Property › Copyrights
Result: NOTICE OF VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the plaintiff(s) and or their counsel(s), hereby give notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed, without prejudice against the defendant(s) Fans Favorite Fan, LLC. Document filed by Marco Verch. (Liebowitz, Richard)

What does this mean? Case settled pre-trial? For an undisclosed amount?
Is it possible to find out how much and with what Terms & Conditions?

Important to note: Both cases were filed for $400 filing fee. So, the minimum settlement amount has to be >= $400 + lawyer's commision. If not, it means Mr. Verch lost money out of his pocket. (This will be unlikely because, one, Hilton can afford to pay the amount and second, if Mr. Verch lost the first one, it will leave him with a bad taste and deter him from future trolling.

For eg. COMPLAINT against Doubletree Management LLC, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. ( Filing fee $ 400, receipt number 0422-6141106.), filed by Marco Verch.(dest, )

With enough push (and Creative Commons is on it), we the people may be able to make amendments to the US Copyright Laws.
U.S. Code › Title 17 › Chapter 5 › § 504
17 U.S. Code § 504 - Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits

(a)In General.—Except as otherwise provided by this title, an infringer of copyright is liable for either—
(1) the copyright owner’s actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer; or
(2) statutory damages

(c) Statutory Damages.—
(1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just.

Explanatory Notes on Statutory Damages
Subsection (c) of section 504 makes clear that the plaintiff’s election to recover statutory damages may take place at any time during the trial before the court has rendered its final judgment. The remainder of clause (1) of the subsection represents a statement of the general rates applicable to awards of statutory damages. Its principal provisions may be summarized as follows:

1. As a general rule, where the plaintiff elects to recover statutory damages, the court is obliged to award between $250 and $10,000. It can exercise discretion in awarding an amount within that range but, unless one of the exceptions provided by clause (2) is applicable, it cannot make an award of less than $250 or of more than $10,000 if the copyright owner has chosen recovery under section 504(c).

2. Although, as explained below, an award of minimum statutory damages may be multiplied if separate works and separately liable infringers are involved in the suit, a single award in the $250 to $10,000 range is to be made “for all infringements involved in the action.”

A single infringer of a single work is liable for a single amount between $250 and $10,000, no matter how many acts of infringement are involved in the action and regardless of whether the acts were separate, isolated, or occurred in a related series.

3. Where the suit involves infringement of more than one separate and independent work, minimum statutory damages for each work must be awarded. For example, if one defendant has infringed three copyrighted works, the copyright owner is entitled to statutory damages of at least $750 and may be awarded up to $30,000.

Clause (2) of section 504(c) provides for exceptional cases in which the maximum award of statutory damages could be raised from $10,000 to $50,000, and in which the minimum recovery could be reduced from $250 to $100.

The basic principle underlying this provision is that the courts should be given discretion to increase statutory damages in cases of willful infringement and to lower the minimum where the infringer is innocent.

The language of the clause makes clear that in these situations the burden of proving willfulness rests on the copyright owner and that of proving innocence rests on the infringer, and that the court must make a finding of either willfulness or innocence in order to award the exceptional amounts.

The “innocent infringer” provision of section 504(c)(2) has been the subject of extensive discussion. The exception, which would allow reduction of minimum statutory damages to $100 where the infringer “was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright,” is sufficient to protect against unwarranted liability in cases of occasional or isolated innocent infringement, and it offers adequate insulation to users, such as broadcasters and newspaper publishers, who are particularly vulnerable to this type of infringement suit.

On the other hand, by establishing a realistic floor for liability, the provision preserves its intended deterrent effect; and it would not allow an infringer to escape simply because the plaintiff failed to disprove the defendant’s claim of innocence.

In addition to the general “innocent infringer” provision clause (2) deals with the special situation of teachers, librarians, archivists, and public broadcasters, and the nonprofit institutions of which they are a part.

Section 504(c)(2) provides that, where such a person or institution infringed copyrighted material in the honest belief that what they were doing constituted fair use, the court is precluded from awarding any statutory damages. It is intended that, in cases involving this provision, the burden of proof with respect to the defendant’s good faith should rest on the plaintiff.

Note: I have highlighted certain sections of the U.S. Code applicable to the vast majority of copyright infringement extortion emails.

Key Points to Note:
1. The vast majority of public citizens and businesses do NOT purposefully go out looking to steal photos or other people's IP willfully with an intention to steal or break a contract.

2. The vast majority of victims are a one-woman/one-man show or a team of two to three at most, and they do not have the necessary resources (time and budget) to hire lawyers, accounts, tax professionals, and copyrights law specialist. They do not have a full-timer on the bench to learn the US Code for Copyrights before starting their business or side-project.

The above point also means this is how innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship ecosystem flourishes. Majority of individuals and businesses learn and grow with their business and project.

3. The business or individual (defendant's) gross revenue should be a major, major factor in determining the minimum statuary damages.
3a. The net income should be a secondary but also required factor.

For example, an individual or startup's yearly revenue could be $1000 and net profit/loss can be (-$9,000) on $10,000 operating expense.

Right now, it seems, the copyright laws are overreaching and blanket judgment. It almost harms all of us and most severely harms those who are trying to do something with their time, talent, and labor.

Second, the purpose of copyright is first and foremost "protection" to encourage original and creative work. Copyright's goal is to ensure "confidence and hope" in creators, not fear, confusion, and demotivation in the younger generation.

All advancements (including literature and arts) are made possible via human and cross-cultural collaboration. The copyright statutory damages judgment makes perfect sense if someone is willingly infringing your IP and is not cooperating with you by either willingly ignoring you or showing you a middle finger and not respecting your creative authorship and rights.

I rest my case.

On the side:

Premise: The is nothing "civil" about an independent civilian photographer taking another civilian (photographer or not) for a breach of contract and then using intimidation of court to extort between $750 USD to $30,000 USD.

Anyone reading this, if you have faced an unfair copyright infringement extortion letter, please direct message me. I would like to shoot a Documentary (with the hope of getting it on Netflix eventually). I have my own case to document and I need at least 20-30 other individuals where even $100 USD in fine means skipping a meal because you don't have that kind of money.

Anyone, who is passionate about this BS crap and is an advocate of "Copyleft", please contact me and donate in any ways possible. (You can donate your time, voice, writing, interview appearance, gears, money, and above all your passion).

What percentage of people in the world have net worth >= $750 - $30,000 USD?

* According to Oxfam, a leading poverty-fighting organization, ~ 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest in the world, survive on less than $2 per day.
Focusing on America -

* Most Americans will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75.
Americans living in "near-poverty" and "below-poverty" is around 100 million (that's roughly one-third of the U.S. population)
Source 1: https://talkpoverty.org/basics/
Source 2:  Haymes, Stephen N.; et al., eds. (2015). Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States. London and New York: Routledge. p. 7.

PS: I'll direct message the forum members in the coming weeks to gauge interest. I am also Googling and contacting every person and organization who has ever faced these copyright harassment.

I also wonder how come no one from this forum has ever thought of fighting this scam in a criminal court. At least is there a thread where ideas are brainstormed?

If you want to see positive change, there are two ways to tackle this --
1. Seek criminal actions against copyright trolls (Getty, Pixsy, et. al. as well as photographers who have made more money from litigation than selling their photos.
2. Seek to push for amends to copyright laws.

One tiny reform at a time. So, since we are based in the US, I am focusing on US Laws. And, by focusing on only digital photos and copyright infringement of digital photos freely available for download including on websites that list all kinds of photos ranging from public Domain to Creative Commons to Copyrighted works.


--- Quote from: aot on September 29, 2018, 08:49:52 PM ---DvG, I have two questions for you:

1. Do you think the current copyright laws are clear, concise, and most importantly fair (with no room for improvements)?
--- End quote ---

That would depend on the relevant jurisdiction :)

Laws are always evolving, but are often far slower than business practices and technologies change. For the past few weeks, I was very actively involved in the discussions and debates regarding the amendments to copyright laws in the European Union, where I live. I am both a creator and consumer of copyright works, and I know there is a fine balance between the interests of the public and those of property owners - a balance that was amply described in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights as Article 27.

--- Quote from: aot on June 16, 2457, 03:18:42 AM ---By discouraging and scaring common people here on this forum, what do you gain? Boost to your ego? Satisfaction of trolling? Or do you feel smart thinking, I am a contrarian.
--- End quote ---

I don't believe I'm discouraging or scaring anyone; I offer up counterpoints and opinions from the perspective of an active creator working in the visual arts field. If I think that someone posting here may have a flawed opinion, I may choose to reply to them if I feel I have pertinent facts or other information of relevance. Like I said in an earlier posting, you would likely be surprised that I have more in common with many of the people posting here than I have differences.

--- Quote from: aot on June 16, 2457, 03:18:42 AM ---For example, you clearly do not have my interests at hand. So why do you expect I engage with you? Or anyone for that matter. In this fight, I have my skin in the game. You don't.
--- End quote ---

I have skin in the game every single day because I believe in fighting for the rights of all creators, so as to ensure that their work is not used without their permission and/or fair payment or, at the very least, on terms that are freely negotiated by all parties in advance, and not the "better to ask forgiveness than seek permission" modus that has become increasingly commonplace over the last twenty years.

--- Quote from: aot on June 16, 2457, 03:18:42 AM ---If someday you can understand this basic principle, you may very well be surprised by discovering many other better things are out there that deserves your limited time on this planet.
--- End quote ---

Being an advocate for the arts is, as I see it, a perfectly fine use of my time.


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