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Author Topic: Educational Web Site  (Read 6011 times)

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: Educational Web Site
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2013, 08:43:09 AM »
My comment appear in bold.


While what you said sounded really nice there are a few problems with your solution. First is for copyright infringement one must make a protected image/article publically available. You don't have to make any money from this availability, it's just the fact of dilution of the copyright holders value.  While the company I paid to create my web site put copyright images on it they didn't make these images publically available.  As such they are not guilty of any copyright infringement. By the definition of what constitutes copyright infringement Go-Daddy should be the one Getty sues as only Go-Daddy (which is who hosts my web site) can make the files/images there publically available. However, Getty doesn't seem to sue anyone with a lot of money like Go-Daddy.  Even though I pay for a web site and someone else puts copyrighted images in the sites directories it's the actions of Go-Daddy that actually makes the images publically available not me.  At any time Go-Daddy can cut this thread and then nothing in my web site's directory will be publically available.

Copyright infringement is a statutory offense so it doesn't matter who, what , why or how you are responsible, others may help responsible as well.  Now courts will look at the circumstances and if it was done by a 3rd party and you assumed good faith that what you paid for was legitimate courts may rule for the minimum fine which is 200.00.  Getty knows this and this is one of the reasons they don't sue, beside the fact that the majority of their images are not registered properly.

Actually if you put a copyrighted image file in a directory that can be addressed from the internet is copyright infringement. This image file does NOT have to be displayed anywhere and even if there is no way it can be seen by anyone one on the internet does not matter at all as far as the law goes.  If the file is in a location where it can se found with a robot (even if it isn't viewed) it is copyright infringement.  So if you get Getty's demand letter you not only need to remove the code from your web pages so the image can't be loaded you also need to delete the image file from the server and all servers that have any sort of internet access.

Again, if Getty took you took court which is HIGHLY unlikely the courts would look at the situation you have described and take that into consideration.  IF you get the letter from Getty you should remove the image on your servers and from the wayback machine if archived there.

I went to see a bankruptcy lawyer a couple week ago to see how bad it could be.  He said I had to have an attorney to represent my company as Glycomeds was a company at the time of Getty's notice (so I couldn't represent my own company myself even if it had no money and I couldn't terminate the company to avoid the infringement).  He said they would sue me in Washington State and claim they have jurisdiction and as I wouldn't have anyone one there to speak for me the judge would go along with it.  As Getty has in-house paid attorneys this action would cost them nothing but $150 filing fee.  As no one would appear it would upset the judge and he would go along with what Getty said - My company made millions of dollars over the years through the sole use of their two images. All in all the bankruptcy attorney said he would expect the judge to award fines and penalties of six or seven digits against my company.

Here is part of your confusion, you consulted a bankruptcy lawyer for a copyright infringement case, this is like me asking a plumber about my broken truck...."hey you fix things what do I do about this."  Getty would have to sue you where your business is based in most cases.  I was told by a COPYRIGHT LAWYER I consulted about my case which is as minor as yours that Getty would have to sue me here, you need to have a lawyer as you can not represent yourself in federal court but he said he tries cases there and knows the judges and if Getty were to bring a de minimis case like this before them and waste their time on a 200.00 case they would not be happy and Getty would know it.

The next step would be for Getty's free attorneys to petition the court to include me as a defendant as I am the head of the company (I am the company Manager of the LLC - there is no CEO or anything else).  Next they would sue me directly in Washington State (I live in Arizona) for mismanagement of company funds for my personal benefit.  They wouldn't have jurisdiction but unless I hired an attorney to contest jurisdiction I would again lose.  I could file a motion with a simple one-liner "I contest jurisdiction" but Getty would argue the Federal case brought me into their Washington jurisdiction.  This would be very difficult to defend for free, for if I sent a letter to the court explaining I didn't live or work in Washington this letter would automatically give them jurisdiction over me...

Again, unless there is some unique circumstance Getty has to hire a lawyer in your area unless their lawyer is licensed for your state.

As soon as I would be accepted into the case Getty would move to freeze my bank accounts so I could not transfer any money out of the country and without me being there at $500 a flight to Washington, the judge would agree. The court would then seize my personal bank account as that is all I have and after they had received all my money (about $150) from my bank the court would send me notice of the pending freeze of my assets.  I know this is exactly how it will go for a fact, as this has already happened to me over a credit card account in Virginia three years ago.  Even though all the money in my bank account came from a protected source, Social Security, the court still took it. It cost me $3500 for a Virginia attorney to get my money back and my account unfroze.  The real problem was every month when the Government deposited my SS into my bank account the bank automatically sent all of this protected money to the court as they were under a court order to retrieve all funds.  I eventually got my account released but this didn't stop the suit and now the Virginia court had actually jurisdiction.

This is a copyright claim not a debt, but since you already know this for a fact there is no point in me going into detail why this would not happen.

It gets worse. We bought our home in 2002 for $120K. It's now worth about $50K but we have nowhere else to go or live (parents, children, etc). I can't pay all of the bills (credit cards are out of sight and killing us) and make house payments so my wife has a job to make the house payments. Once Getty gets me in their Washington court they will also include my wife as we are married and Arizona, where we live, is a community property state.  Then Getty will file a suit against us for about $125 in Washington State court, equal to the Federal copyright fines and fees plus all their trumped up attorney costs against me and my wife (probably well into the seven digit figures by then).  While I am bankruptcy proof my wife isn't as they can attach 80% of her wages. Without her income we will lose our home.

Again, take a step back and calm down, this is nothing like you are making it if the information you provided about the image is correct.  Let's say Getty were to sue you which is 99.99999999% likely they won't and you lost, if you don't have it they can't collect it.

According to the bankruptcy attorney it doesn't stop there but you have the general picture.  He said after all the dust settles we can file bankruptcy but we have to wait until Getty runs out of things to do to us which could take up to five years.  For this it will cost them less than $250 plus some time from their free in-house attorneys.  What they would get for their $250 would be a great case to flaunt publically, scaring more poor people into paying them extortion money for fear of loosing everything or just pay Getty $2000 and everything will just go away...   

The bankruptcy attorney said for me to wait until everything is over and then we could file bankruptcy for $700 (his fee) plus $1200 Federal filing fees...

Stop asking a bankruptcy attorney copyright questions, talk to a copyright attorney or get Oscar to handle it for you.  For 200.00 you can stop worrying and Getty can't contact you again.  You are obviously and understandably stressed over your current situation with everything else going on in your life and I think every time Getty or McCormick sends you a letter you are going to panic again, I think Oscar's program is a great solution for you.

Thanks for every ones help and kind words.

Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy


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Re: Educational Web Site
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2013, 10:22:55 AM »

Thanks for posting the law case link.  I read the whole thing and it was GREAT!  It was a real moral booster.

The bankruptcy attorney I went to really scared the pants off of me.   

Thanks everyone for all the helpful information and support.



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