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Author Topic: My letter - Belgium  (Read 4031 times)

tarik

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My letter - Belgium
« on: August 30, 2008, 05:38:29 AM »
Dears,

First of all I want to thank you for this wonderful site and all the effort everyone is doing to join forces against this Golhiat.
This is my story.
I and a friend one day started a little webhosting busniss doing this only on our free hours (you really can see it as a hobby of us) for this business we had made a little website where we used some pictures we have found on the net using them from free templates found over the net and on a free stock image site.
In the beginning of June I received a letter claiming that I used pictures and that Getty claims 4000 € without 21% VAT for using this pictures.

As everyone I first paniced, I removed the pictures and took even the site down and wrote them an apologie letter (mail), telling them that we didn't know that these were copyrighted pictures, and that we even don't have this amount, the only thing I'm willing to do is to pay the amount of the pictures as mentioned on their site (for Example 150 €).

After one month I received an answer on my mail that they thank me for taking down the pictures , but that they still claiming the amount, but that htey want to do an effort of giving me 50% reduction if I pay before september.
I once explained them that we don't have the money, and if we had this our business need to be stopped.

Received a reply that this is not their problem and that they also need to pay their photographers.
a few weeks later I received a last warning before they will send my case to their legal department, now I didn't replied on this letter and left it like this. What we are going to do is to stop our business and if there is no business they can't claim anything, can this be help?

Dear mister Oscar, What do you know about the belgium copyright law? what do you suggest me to do? should I worry and go seek for help?

Many thanks for all your feedback and keep up the good work.

rgds,
Tarck

Oscar Michelen

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Re: My letter - Belgium
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2008, 12:22:07 PM »
Dear Tarck:

Unfortunately, I cannot practice law in Belgium, and there are many treaties, convention and Belgian laws that govern intellectual property in your country. I can give you some general advice. Copyright is granted automatically in countries such as the Netherlands that have signed the Berne Convention, meaning as soon as a person creates a work, it is covered by copyright. This means that technically it is not necessary to include copyright indicators such as "copyright © 2006."  They use a different word than copyright in Beligum - auteursrechten - which is author's rights. It is generally broader than copyright.  Recently, Google lost a copyright claim for posting news articles from Belgian sources without giving credit.  

I can also give you some comfort by telling you that to date, Getty has not filed any lawsuits in any country - not the US, not England, not Australia - where it has ran this campaign.  They have been doing this in the States since 2006 and not filed suit anywhere yet. Certainly, if you close up your company that would make it hard for Getty to collect anything should they win, but you may not have to do that yet.  I would do nothing further at this point and the next step they are likely to take is send it to a "collection agency."  You can look at our other post to see what to do when it gets to that stage. But I would not close up shop and shut down until you see that they are actually suing you.  You shold also try to find out form a lawyer in your area about what wouldhappen if your company got sued and you justdecided to "default' not answer the suit.  I could advise you on what would happen here in the States but it  may be verydiffernet in your country,so try to check that out.  You do not have to tell them what it is all about just ask for  a general answer. Hope this helps and thanks for the post.

tarik

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Re: My letter - Belgium
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2008, 04:14:29 PM »
Dear Mister Michelen,

Once again thank you for this advice and indeed I'll wait and do nothing till I see what happens next.
Btw I'm from a town called Mechelen here in Belgium, maybe this will bring me luck and justice

Many thanks and greetings;
Tarck

Oscar Michelen

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Re: My letter - Belgium
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2008, 12:19:30 AM »
That's great! I should move there and run for office!  Mayor Michelen of Mechelen has a nice ring to it. Good Luck and keep us posted

 

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