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Author Topic: Sanders Infringement Letter  (Read 4885 times)

Nick@NASIOC

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Sanders Infringement Letter
« on: December 02, 2014, 03:36:40 PM »
I, like many here, have received a mailed letter from Sanders PLLC just today. 

It's the same standard boilerplate letter they are sending everyone that notes a settlement between $750-$30,000.

The infringement is for a single image.  They did include the specific details about the image including the app number, app date, reg date, reg number, and owner.

Image of full details so it's not internet searchable: http://tinyurl.com/kx9s7jj

I have a few questions that might nip this conversation in the bud before I have to worry about contacting a lawyer.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'll add a few facts before the questions.

Facts:
1) The image was hotlinked (embedded, not uploaded) by member of our site on a thread he'd made to "bump" the thread higher in the forum.  There was no other content in the single post of the image, just the word bump.
2) The image was actually hotlinked on 11/14/2013. 
3) From the letter's information the copyright application was filed on 7/28/2014, and appears to have been registered on the same date.
4) The observed date in the letter was 11/17/2014. 
5) Letter arrived today 12/2/2014, entire thread was taken down immediately.
6) URL to the Google Image search of the same image hosted and posted many other places: http://tinyurl.com/mjxp8j9 (It's a photo of Jaclyn Swedberd in a bikini, not to offend anyone)

Questions:
1) If the copyright wasn't attained until after the picture was hotlinked, roughly 8 months after, is the claim even valid.  In the case that it is, would the infringement only apply from the copyright registration date until today?
2) The image was not used in any way to promote or make money.  It was a user posting an image to get people to read an old thread by bumping it and providing "eye candy."

The advice I've seen so far about Sanders seems mixed.  They definitely appear to be a known sender of these letters and it would seem many people ignore them, with a handful of "low hanging fruit" paying up. 

If there are any other details I can provide to help with insight on this I'm happy to provide it either here of privately depending on the sensitivity of the info needed.  We are a registered business and are a for-profit company owned by myself.  The infringement letter seem pretty thin at best.  I just wanted to better understand my particular situation before I choose to do anything. 

Until I get a better understanding, I am choosing not to communicate in any way with Sanders.  Seems the best advice I gleaned was the only contact worthy is a letter from a lawyer, emails/phone calls, and personal letters all seem to fall under the same category of "not the best idea." 

Again any help would be greatly appreciated.  I did search through the forum a bit to try to get some answers on my own, but I'm afraid my legalese is horrible and none of the cases were quite the same since the infringement didn't really benefit the site. 

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 
-Nick


stinger

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Re: Sanders Infringement Letter
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2014, 03:56:58 PM »
If the image in question was hotlinked and never uploaded to your server, I think you might have nothing to worry about.

Go to the Getty images forum and search for hotlinked image.  You will find a lot of information about hot linking and why it is not illegal.

None of your other "Facts" really matter, nor do the questions.  Copyright applies to the owner the moment a photo is taken.  The application for the copyright increases the damages one could get from the court for an infringement, but I don't think the court will find hotlinking to be infringing.  Whether or not you made money with the photo has no bearing under the law, to my understanding.

How you choose to deal with the notification is another question.  Take the time to get educated on this forum because that will be a personal choice.  It becomes a trade-off of time versus money, aggravation versus money, etc.  If I were in your shoes I might choose to:
  • Ignore them knowing the law is on my side, or
  • Write them one letter explaining that they should not be making harassing accusations without getting their facts straight.  Depending on what their letter looked like, I might cite cases where the courts have held that hotlinking is not a copyright violation, or not - depending on my tolerance level that day.

That's just me.  I am not a lawyer, but a business owner like you.  Others might want to get in Oscar's letter writing program, which you could find details of on this site.  For something like $200, he will write the letter for you which will prohibit them from any further contact (and bother) with you.

Good luck.  Let us know what you choose to do and what the final outcome is.

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: Sanders Infringement Letter
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2014, 04:16:31 PM »
Hot-linking is not infringement, see Perfect 10 v Google and Perfect 10 v Amazon.

Read the forum before attempting any communication with them.
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

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Sanders Infringement Letter
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2014, 06:41:07 PM »
If I were in your shoes and the image was indeed hotlinked, I would not so politely tell Craig Sanders to go fuck off, unless he can prove that the image was hosted on your servers ( which he can't) I would follow that up with something along these lines: "For every subsequent letter that is sent your way, you will invoice Sanders Law for any time needed to respond. send it certified mail with reciept, so you can then invoice them,once you confirm they got the message.. I would also consider setting up a registered agent, if you allow others to upload anything to your site. Sanders law is quickly becoming the new douche-bag copyright troll, right up there with that dick-head Timothy McCormack from Seattle.

NOTE: "dickhead, doucebag, and other names are simply my opinion of them"
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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JLorimer

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Re: Sanders Infringement Letter
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2014, 11:16:19 PM »
As others have said, if it's hotlinked, I wouldn't worry about it.

Nick@NASIOC

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Re: Sanders Infringement Letter
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2014, 01:30:09 AM »
Thank you all for the speedy replies today.  I spent a good deal of the day researching just to make myself feel more comfortable about all this.  So only just now did I get back to check the thread. 

The image was 100% hotlinked from tumblr.com at this specific link: http://25.media.tumblr.com/32136b32f5cfd119e6c455944d98966f/tumblr_mw5iy2BjvQ1sitnino2_1280.jpg

We only allow a very small group of users to physically upload any attachments to our servers, partially for just this reason, and mostly because with as many users as we have the storage space would get pretty large pretty fast.  On that note, stupid question, what do you guys mean by a registered agent? I saw this mentioned in a few others threads, but I'm afraid I didn't find what it actually refers to. 

I'll likely just flat out ignore the letter, I haven't physically deleted anything, but moved the entire thread to a hidden area not publicly visible.  Can't say I don't entirely LOVE Robert's suggestion though.  If I could get a nicely worded, inexpensive letter, sent from an actual lawyer I'd do it in a heartbeat.  But honestly I'm not one to poke the bear, especially when the bear seems to be insane and filing infringement letters as fast as they can afford to buy reams of paper from staples. 

The one driving impetus towards me pursuing this any further would if my particular case (hotlinked image) could help cause them some trouble with their status as a law firm.  By mostly if by doing so I could help others in the future by setting any sort of precedent.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Sanders Infringement Letter
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2014, 08:33:35 AM »
http://copyright.gov/onlinesp/

haveing a registered agent would entitle you to safe harbor if a "user" was to upload an infringing 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

I have a few friends around here..

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: Sanders Infringement Letter
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2014, 11:27:34 AM »
The one driving impetus towards me pursuing this any further would if my particular case (hotlinked image) could help cause them some trouble with their status as a law firm.  By mostly if by doing so I could help others in the future by setting any sort of precedent.

Great! With a hot-linked image, you are on solid footing. So your efforts to jam up the trolls would be very helpful. In fact doing as Robert suggests would be a great step.

Quote
If I were in your shoes and the image was indeed hotlinked, I would not so politely tell Craig Sanders to go fuck off, unless he can prove that the image was hosted on your servers ( which he can't) I would follow that up with something along these lines: "For every subsequent letter that is sent your way, you will invoice Sanders Law for any time needed to respond. send it certified mail with reciept, so you can then invoice them,once you confirm they got the message.. I would also consider setting up a registered agent, if you allow others to upload anything to your site. Sanders law is quickly becoming the new douche-bag copyright troll, right up there with that dick-head Timothy McCormack from Seattle.

Now, Robert's language can get pretty salty, so you might want to desalinate the actual verbiage before you send your letter. But you are on solid footing to tell them to fuck off and that you will begin tracking your time and billing for it if they continue to harass you.
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.

lucia

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Re: Sanders Infringement Letter
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2014, 04:00:53 PM »
If I were in your shoes and the image was indeed hotlinked, I would not so politely tell Craig Sanders to go fuck off,
I have learned that the lawyerly way to express the sentiment you advise he convey is
Quote
"We refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram"

Of course, to understand this, you need to be familiar with the reply sent in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram, which was
Quote
"We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr J. Arkell. We note that Mr Arkell's attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off."

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Sanders Infringement Letter
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2014, 04:32:15 PM »
or you could spend a few bucks and maybe have Marc Randazza send a reply on your behalf.. Oscar could do the same, but I'm sure he would be much more civil and humane.
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..

 

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