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Author Topic: Need an opinion on a letter I received.  (Read 33155 times)

ideanj

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Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« on: November 14, 2013, 05:18:56 PM »
Hello,

I owned a fan site for a popular actress which was open for roughly 4 months. This fan site had a photo gallery which I uploaded various photos of the actress to. Yesterday, I received a letter in the mail from a Craig Sanders at Sanders Law, PLLC on behalf of BWP Media stating that I have uploaded one (1) unlicensed image which they hold legal rights to. The letter i received is *identical* to a letter webmaster Cary from fairfaxunderground.com (which you can find here: http://www.fairfaxunderground.com/forum/read/40/1260743/1260743.html#msg-1260743) received and posted about. Funny thing is I only received page 3 in the mail stating that removing the image is not going to solve anything. (The package they sent did not include the entire document.) Anywho, immediately upon receiving the letter, i removed said image and even went as far as completely shutting down the photo gallery and the accompanying fan site. (I received the photo from a friend and was unaware of any copyright infringements that I was committing by uploading the photo.) Also keep in mind, the photo in question had a total of 2 hits from users. I emailed them stating that i removed the photo and shut down the site, and have yet to receive a response from the firm. I've never been involved in anything like this and seeing as how it was a completely non-profit hobby to express my adoration for this actress, i have no money to shell out to the firm. I'm wondering what should I do? Anybody got some advice?
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 12:11:42 AM by ideanj »

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2013, 05:23:49 PM »
Read the forum, get educated, then decide how to proceed. There is a wealth of information here for the taking, but you'll have to do the leg work and ultimately decide what is best for your situation.. Taking the image down, won't be enough..they want your money.
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.
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lucia

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 05:03:11 PM »
Removing the image was wise. 

Next: My first thought was: is this even real?  After all, it's possible we can start seeing phishing type extortion schemes over time. And there are strange things about this letter (why suggest you communicate through email? Lots of phone number are untraceable and so on.)  But I googled around and the attorney seems to exist and he seems to be representing BWP media here:
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/candce/3:2013cv03595/268943/13

In that case, BWP is going after NING, which would at least have been a large company. But I don't know what the actual complaint is.  I also don't know if your letter is actually real. 

But I googled around, and my judgement is: you need to think about an attorney. Not because you'll lose the suit that is coming your way, but because I think this guy is filing lots of suits.

Google
csanders@sanderslawpllc.com

Among other things, you'll find traces of an ongoing suit against Ning
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/candce/3:2013cv03595/268943/13

justicia.com is a real site, so that seems real. 

I found other stuff: I have no idea what plainsite.org is.

I found this tibit: The 'filing' seems similar to the one here:
http://www.plainsite.org/flashlight/case.html?id=2553272
Scroll down to document 1.  Scroll up: note point 7:

Quote
CLERKS E-MAIL RE LOCAL RULE 3-2 TO COUNSEL on 6/3/13 addressed to csanders@sanderslawpllc.com. COURT REQUIRES YOUR IMMEDIATE RESPONSE. Pursuant to Local Rule 3-2, you are required to e-mail, within 24 hours of filing, a Filed stamped copy of your complaint and other civil case initiating documents, in PDF format to the Court. To date, we have not received the PDF images of your filing. Please do so within 24 hours or this matter will be referred to the Judge for further proceedings. (mg) (Entered: 06/03/2013)

Note 10: whatever happened, BWP dismissed the claims.  I think this means BWP dropped the lawsuit.  So that looks like a complete LOSS for BWP. But likely the person he sued hired a lawyer to respond to the suit.

Something hauntingly similar happened here:
http://www.rfcexpress.com/lawsuits/copyright-lawsuits/california-central-district-court/559949/bwp-media-usa-inc-v-playboy-enterprises-international-inc/summary/
This one is further along though.

And I see http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CEEQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdigitalcommons.law.scu.edu%2Fcgi%2Fviewcontent.cgi%3Farticle%3D1540%26context%3Dhistorical&ei=npSGUv3dHYqA2wXaqYGAAw&usg=AFQjCNHWJ8UBFjmcMeyvx3io4JqWMGKGvQ&bvm=bv.56643336,d.b2I  which suggests an ongoing suit against "FlipKey, Inc. and Tripadvisor, LLC,"

This guys seems to be filing stuff.  I'm guessing he is losing hither and thither and lots of those counts are nutso. But if he files you will probably have to answer.

I'm sort of still thinking: Really? Is this real?!! But it sortof looks real.  Maybe other people can figure out if these cases are real or if they are things that have been spoofed to make a scam look more real.



Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2013, 05:28:39 PM »
oh he's real...his name has been on thje running list of trolls for some time now.

http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/ongoing-list-of-copyright-trolling-firms-and-those-associated-with-them/

I usually search justia and if I get hits, then I move onto PACER..there is no spoofing within PACER, they are actual stamped court filings..use with caution, it's very easy to wrack up good amount of fees quickly.
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..

ideanj

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2013, 06:17:52 PM »
Well so far I've sent an email to the firm explaining the photo was removed and the site has been closed. 2 days later someone from the firm responded saying someone will contact me shortly, so far nobody has. They never specified the amount for the settlement & I never received the complete document in the mail, just page 3 explaining removing the photo would not free me from the situation. Would you recommend I use oscars program? Or should I wait to see what the firms next course of action is? Like I said I've never been involved in anything remotely similar to this situation, so I honestly don't know what to do.

lucia

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2013, 06:59:04 PM »
ideanj,
I don't know! The trouble is this guy seems different form Getty.  With Getty, Oscar's program has consistently worked. Part of the reason is Oscar's letter provides the person who hires him a good basis for dealing with Getty if they ever did sue.  But another part of the reason is that Getty almost never sues.  Their business model is to pester people; presumably some of those people fork over $$ either out of fear, or being work down or whatever. So, one of the main things that happens is that Getty -- who rarely sues-- becomes legally compelled to communicate through Oscar.

But I tend to think that yes, it would be wise to hire Oscar if you can.  That said: the getty letter is a getty letter program.  So this other guy might end up being a special case and Oscar might need to think carefully about whether he extends his program.  After all, Oscar does have to keep his work load under control so as to properly represent his other clients, and this guy might be a bit of a wild card. 

Robert-- Has anyone whose come to this site been sued by this guy?  I don't want you to wrack up to much money at pacer, but does he ever win? (The little I found showed him losing.)

ideanj

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2013, 07:43:24 PM »
I REALLY appreciate all of you taking the time to respond to this thread. I'm completely freaked by the situation and as mentioned earlier have no way of forking over 1,000s of dollars to this firm/copyright holder. Any and all help is appreciated. I've spent some time scouring through the forums and have found very helpful information, however it's hard finding information regarding this law firm and BWP media because there's not much information available online.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2013, 08:07:51 PM »
I'll have a look at pacer tomorrow, I also use a fitefox plug-in that allows archives already downloaded case, so that helps in terms of expenses.. MY problem is i get easily sidetracked, and before I know it, I'm looking at dozens of things...If I can focus like a laser beam, I can get out free or close to it..
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..

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2013, 08:19:01 PM »
just stumbled upon this one:

http://www.ndtexblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/BWP.pdf

I'll need PACER to see if there are more, and how far they went..the case above was for 2 images.. I have not read it closely, but I did see in the facts section, that bwp state they have "some" of their images registered, so I think we need to see if this image is registered...

I'm not so sure I would open up a dialog with these a-holes..they can easily twist things, and get unsuspecting and un-educated folks to say things that would be better off not said..at least with using snail mail things can be digested better..
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..

lucia

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2013, 10:44:20 PM »
It's certain that the "untrained" (i.e. nearly any letter recipient)  should not communicate  by phone or email.  Most people are used to volunteering information-- which actually is beneficial in 99% of life circumstances where you are operating with people who are acting in good faith. But it's not beneficial if you are operating with a copyright troll whose business model is to get you to volunteer stuff so that they can create a better legal case.

 One of the advantages of getting a lawyer early is avoiding saying anything that could be to your detriment should this guy sue.  Lawyers tend to know what not to say and also how to request information that you have a right to request under the circumstance. And the letter writer (i.e. troll) knows they are dealing with a lawyer, which might make them move to a tree with fruit they think is lower hanging.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 10:16:07 PM by lucia »

ideanj

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2013, 12:11:20 AM »
Question, would it be un-wise of me to call the firm directly to see how much they are requesting for the settlement? The letter I received mentioned nothing of a dollar amount owed, only that I must contact them immediately. I'm just wondering if it's around the $500 mark I might just pay them off to spare myself the stress. However I'm worried that by opening a verbal dialogue with the firm, I will be doing myself more harm then good in terms of the future.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 12:14:33 AM by ideanj »

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2013, 07:21:59 AM »
DON'T CALL!
DON'T PAY THEM!
You don't even know if it is their image..for all you know if could be MY image..or anyone elses!
I understand the stress factor, but you need to be smart here, don't be that low hanging fruit!

I wouldn't even email them. Hell they don't even have proof that you received their letter, cause they were to cheap to send it certified. Reread Lucia's last post, as she makes some good points...

Also don't forget IF a lawsuit is filed, they still have to prove their case to "win" and if they "win" there is a chance the amount rewarded would actually be a "loss"..not to mention the fact, people loose lawsuits everyday, but if the winner never collects, did they actually win??
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..

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2013, 09:14:22 AM »
ok , just got out of pacer, these assholes at Sanders Law P.L.L.C have indeed filed over 100 suits over the last few months. Sit tight, I'm working on a post, which will provide additional info, and a listing of the suits. I have only begun my digging into this, there will be more added, and I did see one case where BWP is the defendant, so it appears someone counter-sued, but I have not ben able to get the paperwork for this case just yet.

BWP appears to be a newish company, and is doing business as National Photo Group, whom we have heard of before... I'll post a link to the new post in this thread once I get it all put together..hopefully sometime today.
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..

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2013, 02:08:12 PM »
Heres a post regarding national Photo Group / BWP Media and Sanders Law P.L.L.C
complete with a listing of all suits filed for anyone interested in digging into pacer, this will make your search easier.

http://copyright-trolls.com/site/copyright-troll-craig-b-sanders-of-sanders-law-p-l-l-c-overruns-court-system/

I would consider speaking with an attorney, given the amount of suits filed in rapid succession.
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..

john82

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2013, 07:53:52 PM »
There are a lot of issues with Sanders/BWP Media; it's unclear if they actually own the images, they don't respond to emails from lawyers, they don't accept "normal" (ie, $1000 or less) settlements, etc.  I have several webmaster friends who have received the same packet.  Two of which have actually received lawsuits.  From the cases, I can't determine what separates those who get sued from those who don't.

One thing I can say with certainty is; DO NOT talk to or email them.  Their goal is to get quick, easy settlements and they'll use anything you say against you.

Oscar needs to weigh in on his thoughts regarding Sanders/BWP Media.  These guys are different from Getty and with 106 lawsuits filed to date and countless packets sent out, there are going to be a lot of nervous people out there.

 

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