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Author Topic: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team  (Read 12462 times)

shelly808

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Yup got the letter Friday, they are asking over 4,000!  She states the copyright number of the photo in her letter and a screenshot of the photo.  I did a stupid thing responding saying I don't have money, no credit and owe the irs and state of hawaii back taxes.  In the same email reply to her letter, I sent the google image link I found the image on...stated there were no watermarks.  I had no idea that was considered an infringement!!   

She came back saying for me to send her my tax info (without SSN) and her client would take that into consideration.  She asked for a reasonable counter offer.

I came back to her and told her I took down the image and thought that was reasonable and the right thing to do.

She came back with puffed feathers saying I could be liable for tens of thousands of dollars and repeated for me to please send all my tax documents for them to consider. 

After all that I decided to cruise the internet and found this site... what an impetuous ding dong I can be at times!!   I scanned and sent letter to the attorney here... but man, 295. is hefty fee for me to pay!  UGH.   I do know a few lawyers locally was thinking using them but its not their specialty.  :-(   Sooooo bummed and consumed over this!! 

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 08:48:23 PM »
You won't find an attorney to do this for anything near 295.00...Too bad you researched after emailing them back and forth...yes you could be liable for 10's of thousands, but it's highly unlikely a judge would award that much and also pretty unlikely they would file suit over 1 image...
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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shelly808

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 08:41:55 AM »
Hi Robert, I was thinking the same thing after I typed that up.  295. is a small amount.  I am so angry at myself for sending that off before looking around on line.   I was just sort of freaked out.  I spent hours taking all the photos off my website and found a place to buy photos super cheap.  I cant believe I did not know that just because there is no watermark does not mean its fare game to use!!  I would never have used images I was supposed to pay for.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 08:43:38 AM by shelly808 »

lucia

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 09:42:17 AM »
Shelly-

Most people freak out. That's why the racket works. 

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 12:12:52 PM »
Lucia is right the letters are designed to instill fear and make you panic into paying before you have a chance to find out what is going on.  Given what you said I think the letter program is the best solution for you.
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

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 12:17:35 PM »
Shelly, I'm not sure where you bought your microstock images from. But I ask that you avoid purchases from iStockPhotos as this company is owned by Getty Images. There is no sense in helping to "feed" the trolls in any way.
Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

SoylentGreen

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 02:49:11 PM »
I wouldn't tell them anything.  Unless it's absolutely necessary.
Keep your financial info to yourself.  They have no right to request that.

S.G.

Oscar Michelen

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2013, 03:56:14 PM »
It was great speaking with you and keep us posted!

shelly808

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2013, 11:28:06 PM »
Here's the latest from Photo Attorney Tyra...

I sent her this...

Based on the usage of the image and the fact that I am an innocent infringer, I am concerned that the initial amount your asked for is soooo unreasonable that it appeared consist with warnings I have read regarding copy right extortion.

Then I offered 200, then 400... she refused it. 


Shelly,

Thank you so much for your emails. To answer your earlier question, under the law, the infringement you committed was an unknowing infringement but not an "innocent" infringement. Innocent infringement is a very high legal standard, which very few fall into. According to the case National Football v. Primetime 24 Joint Venture, (citation: 131 F.Supp.2d 458, 476 S.D.N.Y., 2001), the copyright infringer must show not only that she had the authorization to use the copyright owner’s photograph, but also that such belief was reasonable. That means that in order to qualify for this legal doctrine, you would have had to have thought that Phototake gave you permission to use the photograph and that belief would have to be a reasonable belief. Because you simply took an image from Google Images, this is not a reasonable belief that you had a valid license and is just an unknowing infringement.

The Copyright Act states that because my client registered the image with the Copyright Office, Phototake is entitled to statutory damages, which start at $750.00 per infringement and can range up to $30,000 per infringement, in addition to court costs and attorneys fees. Thus, the minimum damages my client will receive should we be unable to settle is $750 plus attorneys fees.

Thus, while my client appreciates your offer to settle for $400, we find it mildly insufficient, given what my client is entitled to. My client is open to reasonable installments, if that is necessary for you, but would like to counteroffer $1320, or three times the licensing fee of $440 in order to settle this claim without litigation, which is generally much more expensive (just in attorneys fees) than this amount. Please let me know if this amount is acceptable, and if not, please feel free to make a counteroffer to my client, bearing in mind 1) what they would be minimally entitled to in court; 2) the fact that the settlement would be inclusive of all amounts (no additional legal fees to be paid); and 3) taking into account the fact that my client's work was infringed upon and not licensed ahead of time. I look forward to us finalizing this matter and I think that we can work it out to where the payment is manageable installments for you and acceptable to my client.

Look forward to hearing from you,

Tyra
_______________________________
Tyra Hughley Smith, Esq.
Law Office of Carolyn E. Wright, LLC
www.photoattorney.com
573.268.0893 direct
775.580.7322 fax

THEN, Today I decided to send in the CC authorization, filled out the questionnaire and sent it to Oscar accordingly...   I emailed her to let her know I did that and she sent me this....   

Tyra Hughley Smith
11:33 AM (5 hours ago)


Shelly,

Thank you for that information. Do you know the extent of their representation? Will they be representing you throughout the whole matter or is this retention simply for an initial letter? I only ask because I am familiar with Oscar Michelen and I believe that I have addressed many if not all of the points that will be raised in his letter on your behalf. Please let me know if he will be representing you beyond that point. 

Thank you,

Tyra

_______________________________
Tyra Hughley Smith, Esq.
Law Office of Carolyn E. Wright, LLC
www.photoattorney.com
573.268.0893 direct
775.580.7322 fax

shelly808

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2013, 11:30:01 PM »
BTW, I am now purchasing from these guys...  http://www.canstockphoto.com/

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2013, 06:35:19 AM »
BTW, I am now purchasing from these guys...  http://www.canstockphoto.com/

did you read and understand this:

Section 8: Releases and Captions
Licensor grants no rights and makes no warranties with regard to the use of names, people, trademarks, trade dress, logo types, registered, unregistered, or copyrighted designs or works of art or architecture or other forms of intellectual property depicted in any Content, and Licensee must satisfy itself that all the necessary rights, consents, or permissions regarding any of the above, as may be required for reproduction, have been obtained.  Licensee acknowledges that some jurisdictions provide legal protection against a person’s image, likeness, or property being used for commercial purposes without their consent.  Licensor does not warrant the legality of the Content, the accuracy of caption and keyword information, nor the legality or accuracy of any release information affiliated with the Content. 

and this:

THE CONTENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” AND LICENSOR MAKES NO REPRESENTATION, WARRANTY, OR CONDITION OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, REGARDING THE CONTENT OR ITS DELIVERY SYSTEMS, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR NONINFRINGEMENT.  LICENSOR DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE PRODUCT WILL MEET LICENSEE’S REQUIREMENTS OR THAT ITS USE OR THE USE OF THE WEBSITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE. THE ENTIRE RISK REGARDING THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE CONTENT IS WITH THE LICENSEE.  IN NO EVENT SHALL LICENSOR OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES, DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, ATTORNEYS, AND SUCCESSORS BE LIABLE TO LICENSEE OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FOR ANY GENERAL, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES; LOST PROFITS OR LOSS OF PROSPECTIVE COMPENSATION, GOODWILL OR LOSS THEREOF; OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES, COSTS OR LOSSES ARISING OUT OF LICENSEE'S USE OF THE CONTENT, OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF LICENSOR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, COSTS, OR LOSSES. 

just sayin.....buyer beware


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..

stinger

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2013, 01:07:24 PM »
Good "Heads Up"  Robert.

The lawyers have made digital image licensing into a messy quagmire these days.

shelly808

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2013, 04:15:46 PM »
Oh Dear lord!  Does this mean I could STILL get someone after me for using those photos?   How am I able to "purchase" the right to use them??  THATS messed up!!   Anyone have a good source?  I have tons and tons of images on my site!!   coconutgrovemassage.com

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2013, 04:34:48 PM »
Oh Dear lord!  Does this mean I could STILL get someone after me for using those photos?   How am I able to "purchase" the right to use them??  THATS messed up!!   Anyone have a good source?  I have tons and tons of images on my site!!   coconutgrovemassage.com

First and foremost, if you have "tons of images", you had better go through everything, and any images you don't have a license for, promptly remove them it's simply not worth the risk. Use your own images, maybe look at pond5.com for micro stock images.. some photographers will allow you to use their images if you gice them visable credit and a link back to their site..but be sure you have something in writing from them just in case..
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..

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: Got a letter from a "Photo Attorney" who is on Caroline Wrights team
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2013, 01:39:04 PM »
Robert is correct, if you don't have a license for an image and it is not your image you should remove it.  pond5 is a great resource, I only use my own images but I have looked at their site and they have good images at fair prices and if I ever find myself in need an image I will look there first.
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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