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Author Topic: Extortion Letter received from LCS / Picscout  (Read 4913 times)

Hamish

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Extortion Letter received from LCS / Picscout
« on: April 15, 2015, 12:04:34 AM »
Hello,

I've now received my second letter from License Compliance Services / PicScout on behalf of Aurora Photo (agency) in Seattle. It's the usual blurb and format as discussed in this forum and it is for innocent copyright infringement on my web site. The image was simply found on Google Images - there was no file attached to it with any info of copyright, registration or how to purchase it if I had wanted to.

Anyway - they want $760. I admit to using it and I think the photographer should be compensated. So I'm happy to send $200 - in full knowledge that the photographer probably would see very little, if any, of this.

Anyway - I'm a writer, I've read the forums and advice and I'm not intimidated. I believe I could just write them a letter to let them know that I've educated myself about this and that I'm not a push-over. I'll offer $200. If that doesn't work - then I'd pay for the lawyer's letter from Oscar Michelen - roughly $200.

Any thoughts on this before I take any action?

Thanks,

Hamish

stinger

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Re: Extortion Letter received from LCS / Picscout
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 08:43:15 AM »
Consider ignoring them.  I'll explain why later when I have more time.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Extortion Letter received from LCS / Picscout
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 09:37:13 AM »
They won't care that you educated yourself, they won't care if it was "innocent infringement', they want your money! Picscout can only chase you for the "claim" they don't have the right to sue you on behalf of the photographer, that being said it's generally not a good idea to admit to anything to bolster their case, even though they are not likely to file suit.
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..

Hamish

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Re: Extortion Letter received from LCS / Picscout
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 12:31:29 PM »
Stinger - Thanks for that - I'm probably going to ignore them but look forward to your further input.
Robert Krausankas - Thanks also - yes, I know from the reading on ELI that they're just in it for the money etc. I certainly haven't admitted to anything, nor would I. The only reason I mentioned 'innocent infringement' is because that's exactly what it is - if an image carries with it no identification or ways to purchase it (Aurora Photos info or the photographer info are not attached to the image) then how can one be expected to purchase a license or otherwise pay for it and avoid innocent infringement? There must be millions of images on the www where nobody cares about copyright / payment etc. - and this could easily have been one of them.

 

stinger

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Re: Extortion Letter received from LCS / Picscout
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2015, 04:27:27 PM »
My reasons why you may want to ignore it:

  • It is unlikely they will sue over 1 image.
  • When you respond, they know they have a live one - until you respond, they know very little.  They are taking educated guesses at ways to get paid.  Your response tells them they have someone who might feel like they are on the hook to them.
  • You think because they have contacted you that they know a lot about you.  But they know very little.  Part of this is phishing.  The response (whatever it is) helps them plot their strategy to extract money from you.
  • When you respond, they know you have a conscience.  Remember, they do this for a living.  They know how to read people.  Your mailing address will tell them something about you.  Your email address will tell them something about you (no one here recommends using email - if you are going to respond, drag it out)
  • How you respond tells them a lot about you.  You may feel you are justified.  They don't care.  They just wanna get paid
  • What if you were in their shoes and you sent out multiple notices of infringement and heard nothing.  What would you think?  Are you barking up a dead alley?  Are you wasting your time?  Should you move on to lower hanging fruit?
  • I played the response game with Getty.  I made it past my Statute of Limitations.  If I had it to do over again, I may have just been dead silent.  It would have saved me a lot of time.
  • I responded because I thought my position was justified.  They really didn't care.  My response gave them more reasons to come at me.  They had found a live one.  They never listened to or negotiated anything in any of my responses.
  • In short, my way worked, but with a 1 image infringement, I would just take the image down - and all others that might be infringing anyone's claims, and be silent.  Less effort for likely the same result
  • Perhaps the most difficult part of this strategy is to quiet you conscience and stop trying to prove your case.  It should take a lot less time than playing the 3 year SOL game with communicating with them.

Hamish

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Re: Extortion Letter received from LCS / Picscout
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2015, 01:04:34 PM »
So sorry I didn't get to this earlier. Thank you for this detailed account of why you think I should ignore them. It was certainly on my list of options - but this has tipped the scale for me - most of all because it just makes sense. I'll ignore the letters (3 now) and see where it goes - reporting back here when anything useful comes up for me to share - even if it takes months.

Thanks again.

 

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