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Author Topic: Need an opinion on a letter I received.  (Read 33011 times)

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2013, 08:08:17 PM »
ideanj -- The first step is to just breath. Try and relax a little. Virtually all of us have been there at some point. And as Lucia points out, a good, honest person wants to get hold of them and sort things out. My advice: don't.

Don't chase after them. Don't follow up. Don't call. Don't email. Don't offer additional information. You have taken down the site. You have records that the page has had only two hits. Leave it at that.

Your job now is to play the "long game." Don't get pulled into feeling like you have to reply quickly or make sure they know you are doing anything. Personally I wouldn't even spend money on an attorney until such a time as they take any legal action.

From what Robert is saying, this sounds like something they may do. But by that time there may be a strategy in place. But also follow the advice and read up on copyright trolling on this site. If they do follow up you will need to be prepared to demand they show you proof of registration and right to represent the copyright. You will also need to find out what the "going rate" is for such an image. But all that in time. Right now, just relax a little.
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.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2013, 08:20:41 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.

I'd be wiling to bet the seperation between who gets served and who gets hassled, lies with the registration, if the images are not registered or registered improperly, the amount awarded would be much lower. They also may be hand picking cases that they not only feel they could win , but also collect on..most likely larger businesses..thats my 2cents worth..
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 #17 on: November 16, 2013, 09:19:54 PM »
Does anyone know if any of the 106 lawsuits have actually made it to a courtroom?  From everything I know and have read about them, the trail stops at the initial filing.

john82

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2013, 09:23:28 PM »
Oh, and what are your thoughts on filing a Declaratory Judgment against them?  I saw this guy did it:

http://www.rfcexpress.com/lawsuits/copyright-lawsuits/michigan-western-district-court/624582/joseph-snyder-v-national-photo-group-llc/summary/

I don't know enough about Declaratory Judgments to know if this is a good move or not.

lucia

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2013, 10:13:08 PM »
Question, would it be un-wise of me to call the firm directly to see how much they are requesting for the settlement?
It would probably be very unwise for you -- the untrained--to call them directly. 

lucia

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2013, 10:24:04 PM »
just stumbled upon this one:

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

Bizarre. They are suing softlayer over images here: http://173.192.126.227/about
I bet you softlayer has a DMCA agent.

Update: Heck, so does the customer web site
http://173.192.126.227/contact/copyright


« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 10:27:24 PM by lucia »

ideanj

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2013, 10:50:09 PM »
I appreciate everyone's involvement in this matter SO much! You are all putting me at ease knowing that not only am I not the only one going through this situation, but at this point in time it isn't the end of the world. One of my customers at work is a lawyer and suggested doing nothing until Sanders/BWP Media decide to file suit -- at that time, go searching for an attorney. I will be sure not to contact the law firm in any way shape or form until the point where I am forced to. (Hopefully I never have to!)

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2013, 09:35:49 AM »
Does anyone know if any of the 106 lawsuits have actually made it to a courtroom?  From everything I know and have read about them, the trail stops at the initial filing.

Look at the link I supplied and the very long list of suits with dates.. the ones with 2 dates have closed..probably settled before a lenghy trial..the other are still in progress, with over 100 cases I'm not going to be downloading the dockets for each one, unless someone donates the funds to do so..at .10 per page, it would easily be a couple/few hundred bucks.
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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stinger

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2013, 11:40:05 AM »
ideanj, you are getting excellent advice here.  I agree that you should not spend any money until they file a case or contact you.  This site has plenty of posts to tell you how to respond.

In the event that you need to hire an attorney, I would highly recommend Oscar based solely on what I have seen of his participation here.  Here is my reasoning.  We have seen lots of people on this site who go to their business lawyer or their family lawyer or a lawyer their friend recommended.  Usually, that lawyer does not specialize in digital image law.  Those lawyers recommend that the people settle - often without even getting proof that the troll has their i's dotted and their t's crossed.  Oscar knows this game.  I would feel very confidant with him representing me or my firm.  And he understands the economics from the customer's perspective.  So I don't expect that you will end up with lots of legal bills and then a settlement as well.  If for some reason you can't or don't want to hire Oscar, be certain that you hire an attorney who practices this type of law.  After all, you wouldn't go to a dentist for a bypass operation on your heart.

john82

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2013, 07:53:00 PM »
I'd be interested to know what became of the "Civil Cause For Initial Conference" that was held today in case 13cv05238.  It seems like an interesting case that's moving quickly.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2013, 08:14:39 PM »
I'd be interested to know what became of the "Civil Cause For Initial Conference" that was held today in case 13cv05238.  It seems like an interesting case that's moving quickly.

once it hits the docket you should be able to pull it in PACER
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 #26 on: November 21, 2013, 08:20:24 PM »
How do you know when it hits the docket?  Sorry, I've never used Pacer before.  Is it easy to tell once I sign up for an account?

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2013, 09:21:35 PM »
How do you know when it hits the docket?  Sorry, I've never used Pacer before.  Is it easy to tell once I sign up for an account?

it's fairly simple, but it's also easy to get sidetracked! if your going to use pacer I highly recommend usinf firefox, and download the plug-in called recap, it basically archives everything that gets downloaded..so you can essentially get free documents if someone else previously downloaded them.. pages are cheap @.10, but some documents can have many pages so it add up quickly...I dropped over a hundred bucks one night...so stay focused!!
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 #28 on: November 22, 2013, 03:58:52 PM »
It takes a week to complete the registration, so I'll have to wait.  I also noticed this case had an initial hearing: 13-cv-448-wmc

JLorimer

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Re: Need an opinion on a letter I received.
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2013, 01:38:01 AM »
I'm not trying to hijack somebody else's thread, so I'm sorry if I do.

I am currently in a similar situation and I'm freaking out.  I also received a message from BWP Media USA.  I run a small blog that has a few contributors who post articles.  One of them posted a photo found on the web somewhere.  I do not have a proper safe harbor agent so it looks like I'm on the hook for it if something happens.

My domain information is protected using Domains By Proxy.  I have received crazy people contacting me because they got my info from domain registry in the past.  It's a long story.  The short of it is that I chose Domains By Proxy to protect myself, not because I'm doing anything illegal.  Anyway,  last week I received a notice from Domains By Proxy that there was a possible copyright complaint.  Through some kind of technical mixup, it took an entire week to get Domains By Proxy to give me the information about the complaint.  That's a long story, but needless to say I am also furious with Domains By Proxy for dropping the ball on something this important.  The complaint was sent to them on November 14.  It took me until November 21 to squeeze the information out of them that they neglected to send with the notice I had been charged for the complaint.

I took my entire site offline a few hours after receiving the complaint because I was freaked out and didn't know what had happened.  When I finally got the details of the complaint, I emailed the person listed as the contact - stating that I was unaware that there had been any type of violation, that the possibly infringing image (as well as the article the user had written on his own) had been completely removed from the server and the database, that my site does not generate any sort of profit (actually takes a loss because of the hosting costs), and that I was sorry.  I've been so sick over this that I forgot to mention that it is user generated and not created by me.  It might not make a difference since I haven't designated an actual DMCA agent, but I wish I had mentioned it anyway.  There is definitely a place set up on my site where a DMCA complaint could have been filed without all this hassle.  I think they intend to directly get your personal information and skip the whole DMCA process.

From what I've read here, it now sounds like I shouldn't have sent that email.  It seemed off to me that legal matters would be handled via email but I have never been involved in DMCA or anything so I thought maybe that could be normal.  The other problem is that Domains By Proxy basically says in that situation that you have to give the party complaining your contact details or they will without your consent.  I did so and I'm guessing I may receive a letter in the mail now.

I've been reading all over the web to try and find out what kind of situation I'm in here and I'm at a total loss.  Some people say that they remove the file and never hear about it again.  Some people are calling BWP Media USA the next copyright troll.  I looked through the last 111 filings involving BWP Media USA on the site mentioned above.  It seems that all of them have to do with entities much larger than myself.  Most of them are against LLCs, etc.  None of them seemed to be against individuals.  Perhaps I'm just the dummy who didn't know you should create an LLC to run a website.  I've never run a site for profit so the thought never crossed my mind.

I've seen that people can be sued for well over $150,000.  I even read a case where someone had settled for $8,000.  Since I'm not an LLC, I would be screwed because I wouldn't be able to just close down the business and move on.  Getting sued for that much money would sink me.  Even settling for an amount like that at this time would pretty nearly sink me.  I would have to sell everything I own and I would probably still have to file for bankruptcy.

I just spoke with another guy on another forum who was in a very similar situation back in July with BWP.  The only difference is that he had an LLC.  He said he basically told them to pound sand after his initial email response (very similar to mine) and voicemail he left when he called and they never bothered him again. 

Does anybody have any advice.  I've been reading forums and things all over the Internet for days now and my head is just in knots.  Sometimes I think I'm going to be okay and other times I see things that make me think I'm going to be out on the streets in a cardboard box.

Also, is there a way to search or find out if an image is registered for copyright before this goes further?  I would like to try to find out so that I can know as much as possible before I speak with a lawyer, if I have to speak with one.

Does anybody have any tips or advice?

 

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