Retired Forums > Hawaiian Letters & Lawsuits Forum

Advice needed on dealing with HAN: Just got letter from Aldrich Law Firm

(1/4) > >>

Hi, first I want to thank you for creating such a great repository of information to help people educate themselves about this ridiculous copyright infringement extortions. 

Ok, so we have just gotten a letter (sent regular postal, not even certified mail) from the Aldrich Law Firm in San Antonio, TX claiming we are infringing on the copyright of their client, Hawaiian Art Network by using their photo for 'promotional purposes'. Our website is a small family art studio run by my mom and sometimes my dad. On it we have one side set up as the studio site and the other half a wordpress blog  that the artist can use to socialize with people and share inspirational and informative stories. We do not have any shopping carts on the site as sales are done on . Well, on one of her blog posts, the artist showed a picture gotten from a 'free' wallpaper site (as well as a link to that site to give then credit). The image had no watermark or artist information of any kind. HAN is claiming this image is copyrighted and wants us to pay them $2790.00 for 'past infringement' on a picture that they claim is $558.00, but I found on the artist's website for as low as $10 for a print. (The artist in question is the infamous Vincent K. Tylor.) In the letter, Aldrich uses many scare tactics and a short deadline that started before we even received the letter to intimidate. However, the letter never gave any actual proof that Vincent Tylor or HAN has a copyright filed, or proof that HAN has exclusive rights to the image.

•So, we have taken down the image in question upon receipt of the letter just to be safe. I have been reading posts and listening to videos on ELI for the past two days to try to make some sense of this.
•From what I can find, the image in question (Tropical Lagoon) is available on many 'Free' wallpaper sites including one which shows the image as having a Creative Commons license.
•I have also looked at the US copyright site and not found any copyright filed under 'Tropical Lagoon' by Vincent K. Tylor, so I do not believe they actually have a copyright filed/registered (although there was one titled 'Hawaii 2000' and another one 'Hawaii 2004' that I have no clue what they could refer to).
•I have also found at least one other legitimate looking site: that sells his work, (besides the artists own site) so I am wondering if HAN really has exclusive rights to the image (and therefor the right to even sue). Besides those, the artist has a link to 'Webshot' with the image offered as a computer wallpaper (Webshot appears to be a subscription service with a $39/year rate) which makes it available digitally on the internet rather easily. A curious thing I also noted was that HAN is not listed on the artist's site anywhere that I can see... which is odd if they are really an official 'distributor'.
•I also am wondering if we can dispute the 'promotional purposes' claim since we used it on a social blog and the image was shown (as a small and low quality jpeg) only for inspirational and enjoyment purposes and was in no way making us money or in any ad material. Even though the blog is hosted on the studio site, it is only for the artist to socialize and the website does not actually make us any money, so would this be covered under some kind of 'fair use'?
•I have also seen the post here where HAN has knowledge of the 'free' wallpaper sites, yet has failed to stop them... so would that give some sort of 'implied license' or prove an inability to control the license?

Wow... I think I am reaching my saturation point on trying to make sense of all of this. I am not sure how much of the details I can safely/legally give so I have omitted the studio name and website, but if Matt or Oscar need more details to help me, let me know and I will give more details to you.

Overall, I need to come up with a rebuttal letter to them and am not sure of how much of this I should include in the letter. I was thinking of offering the artist's price of $10 for the image in the letter as well as requesting they provide proof of an actual copyright filed as well as the exclusive rights over the image that HAN would need for this to be legal. (I saw one post that said they used the request for proof for the related Getty Image letters.) Other than that, I am not sure what is 'proper' to include in the first rebuttal letter.

I realize this has probably been covered somewhere, and beg your forgiveness, but I have been all over the site for two days now and I am stumped. Any help would be appreciated. PM's also welcome. Thank you! :)

Matthew Chan:
The Aldrich Law Firm is new to us.  It would be very helpful if you emailed us your copy of the letter so that we can post it and have the entire ELI community analyze it.  We will, of course, redact identifying information.  Otherwise, the only advice we can give you is very generic.

Feel free to email it to: if you want to us to post and study it. Again, we will redact it to preserve your anonymity. We want to see the format and language of the letter.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi):
This is actually the second time we have heard about Aldrich Law,please refer to this post, as I have already done some "homework" on this very young and in experienced attorney from Texas.

@FlameArtist it is good to see you are getting up to speed on this issue, this gives you much better leverage to fight this. Also please do consider sending your info to Matt as we don't yet have any actual documents, and it could be helpful to dissect the letter somewhat..

This is also a perfect example of why blog owners / publishers should spend a little extra money to become a registered agent, this would force these copyright trolls to issue a DMCA takedown notice, and that would be end of story. Providing the owner themselves did not post the offending content.

Matthew Chan:
Thanks to the swift actions of FlameArtist, the Aldrich Law Firm Settlement Demand Letter by Attorney Russell Aldrich is now available for public commentary and analysis.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi):
So his client, spent thousands of dollars for palm trees to pose?


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version