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Author Topic: HAN/VKT question  (Read 6792 times)

Dee

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HAN/VKT question
« on: May 08, 2012, 10:27:13 PM »
I might have asked this before but don't recall getting an answer so sorry if I repeat this.

Those who I know that have already paid after getting the demand letters are wondering that if the courts rule against HAN and VKT that this is entrapment/extortion, can they sue to get the money they paid back?  I am assuming they have some kind of case at that point?  I know a few people who have paid a lot already and are really upset to learn about all this.

Matthew Chan

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2012, 10:36:38 PM »
You can sue anyone for anything. But the question is whether you can win or collect anything. That is what I say all the time when someone is trying to come after you.  Despite our efforts, a ton of people still pay up and settle. It is very hard to save people from themselves.  Quite frankly, I don't have much sympathy for people who have been told the scam and they still cave to it. Once you give the money, it is hard to get it back. And more than likely a settlement agreement went on top of it all.

Keep in mind we do call it "extortion" on these forums as a rhetorical hyperbole (not criminal extortion). At the end of the day, no one really held a gun to anyone's head to pay the money or sign a settlement agreement.  People cave in because of their own legal ignorance, unwillingness to make a stand, or do the work to defend themselves.

They have simply learned a hard life lesson by caving in.  People who let fear run them and not make the effort to get educated do get rolled. The best they can hope for is to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone again.

I am sorry to say, it will be very hard for them to unring this bell. They probably are best to chalk it up to a life lesson. 

If they couldn't defend themselves on a relatively simple matter, trying to go after someone and collecting is even more difficult.

It is one big reason I don't personally help people for free anymore on these letters.  I would spend the time and effort to help, talk, and strategize with them and they would still act like cowards and ultimately settle. I have no sympathy for those people at all. They got the best advice possible and were too ignorant to know any better when the information was plainly given to them. They were weaklings that deserved to have their money parted from them.

Everyone has to assume a certain amount of responsibility of the outcome. They settled. As I said, it's going to be hard to unring the bell now.

I might have asked this before but don't recall getting an answer so sorry if I repeat this.

Those who I know that have already paid after getting the demand letters are wondering that if the courts rule against HAN and VKT that this is entrapment/extortion, can they sue to get the money they paid back?  I am assuming they have some kind of case at that point?  I know a few people who have paid a lot already and are really upset to learn about all this.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 10:42:29 PM by Matthew Chan »
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Dee

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2012, 02:08:34 AM »
Yes I agree. I am equally frustrated with some of them. I sent out a warning to a list serve of businesses and got many people emailing me with their stories asking for help.  I told them the situation and I gave them all kinds of information which included your information and encouraged them all to come here and read up then donate for advice and help.  I don't think one followed my advice, when I followed up they all ended up paying except one who wont and is prepared to go to court.  Now that they see all this court stuff, they are upset and want to recoup. 

I agree they deserve it however, I was more thinking along the lines of what kind of trouble VKT and the others can get into.  It annoys me that he is getting money for this and if they find him guilty of this, I want to know that they are going to be punished and hopefully have to repay the money.  That would be the best way to punish the guy.  It seems to me that if a judge sees all the evidence and is told about all the money he has collected, that he would be ordered to give it all back.

Interesting that last week, I managed to intercept an ad before it was published online that had one of his images.  I asked the graphic artists where they got it, and she showed me the site where it clearly offered it free.  It was a non profit event for children, but still, had he seen that I am quite sure he would have sued them.  I am so glad I caught it as they can't afford that.

I just read that whole forum where he wants to sue a painter for painting his photo and selling it.  Wow really?  I mean, it is just weird to me that he is working with an art network, as an artist and he would be so petty.  Be flattered someone was inspired by your image and support artists who really don't make all that much anyway.  Not all of them figured out an angle to make money like he did.  Then to see he is a Jehovas Witness, really confuses me even more.  I have friends who are Jehovas, and they don't behave that way.  Actually in Hawaii, you don't run around suing people like that either. 

And like someone said, he has not gotten the word out, there are so many things he could do to discourage people from taking images from these sites, including posting information on his own site about it.  It isn't that hard, I have been warning people about this and found multiple people who images that were not licenses on their sites and  helped them remove them and showed them where to go for legal images.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2012, 07:02:55 AM »
You can probably bet the farm, there is some sort of provision in the agreement, that when paid it will be non_refundable and confidential
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

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Moe Hacken

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2012, 08:58:57 AM »
I don't see much hope for those who folded getting any money back no matter what happens to HAN/VKT. I find that very irritating, but they should have never signed on the dotted line.

HAN and VKT may be facing some serious blowback if a judge calls them on their trap, especially if it can be proven that they intentionally planted bait or even if they just passively allowed the bait to disseminate so they could take advantage. If that happens, the money they got from those who rolled over will probably become a defense fund for the trolls.

Many people here have said it: They'd rather pay the money defending themselves than cave in to dishonest threats from yuppies in starchy suits. I personally believe fighting back is virtually a moral duty. If no one fights back, they will divide and conquer every one of their victims.

Any reasonable judge should be able to see, based on the information that's already publicized on this forum and elsewhere, that while each single case can be built to have the appearance of legal propriety, when you look at the circumstances of likely entrapment and the shameless execution of a business model based on legal bullying and fear tactics, each individual case loses merit.

If there is something we can do to help the current defendants against HAN/JKV, we should do it. This could be pivotal in creating case law that effectively eliminates this model. If this precedent is set with the stock image trolls, it may also help with other intellectual property trolls surfacing from every storm drain in America. This extortion model is being applied to music, videos, text, anything than can be branded.

Lettered gave Matthew a suggestion some time ago about filing an amicus ("friend of the court") brief on behalf of the defendants in the HAN cases explaining our findings about the HAN/VKT baitpaper cartel, and turning over all of the information we have on each and everyone of the images he's tainted the information society with. Or at least the ones we're aware of, who knows how many there really are.

Mr. Tylor, by the way, is no longer a Jehovah's Witness. He left the group because of philosophical issues with the prohibition on receiving blood transfusions and receiving organ transplants, among other issues which he describes at length in a post on a forum for folks who have left that group. I want to point this out in fairness to the Watchtower Society. The Jehovah Witnesses I am acquainted with are very nice, sincere and honest people.

But enough about VKT. Let us not forget the other player in the cartel, Hawaiian Art Network LLC. In an earlier post, Matthew found that the place is run by a person by the name of Glen Carner:

http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/hawaiian-art-network-settlement-demand-letter-collection/15/

In the same post, Buddhapi strikes gold by finding a page created on Brothersoft.com (be careful with that site, their stuff is polluted with viruses!) where apparently Mr.  Glen Carner actually had the audacity to hang some baitpaper under his own name (!!!!), which you can still go and nibble on if you would like to bait the baiters:

http://publisher.brothersoft.com/glen-carner.html

I think Mr. Carner would have some explaining to do to a judge about this. If I were him, I'd be asking who you have to give foot massages to at Brothersoft to take that page down right after reading this post (you do read this, don't you?).

You know what, though? A lot of us have gone to the Brothersoft page and saved web archives of this nifty little free gift. Besides, it's probably all over Wayback Machine, one of their favorite tools of the trade.

Here's the post from Lettered regarding the amicus brief:

http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/breaking-new-ground-with-amicus-briefs/

Once you get the big picture, you can see this is not just about intellectual property rights. It's also about intellectual property wrongs.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 11:11:38 AM by Moe Hacken »
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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2012, 10:45:07 AM »
When I wrote my original reply to you, I was bit concerned you might have been unhappy with it. Nevertheless, you took it in the good spirit it was intended. If you directed people to ELI, short of spoon-feeding them, there is not much you could have done to help them.  They chose to pay out of their own laziness, fear, and ignorance even when you pointed the way.  Even hiring Oscar would have been less expensive than the settlement amounts they paid.

Regarding the lawsuit strategy, we have already discussed that if a lawsuit lands on the doorstep, one powerful strategy is to file a strong countersuit with some strong allegations.  And bang, they are in a vicious bear-trap.  Even if they want to drop the lawsuit, they can't because they now have to answer to a countersuit.  Having said that, most people don't have the stomach for it. The thought of a lawsuit makes people lose their minds.  People always think they need info when they really need is a solid brain and spine to go with it.  Well, we have a ton of info here and even have a well-respected lawyer on the team.

Regarding VKT and his shenanigans, not everything can be solved through the legal system. People need to understand that. And even if it could, sometimes it simply isn't practical because of financial issues.  That is why I am a big proponent of the First Amendment, reporter rights, exposure, publicity, information sharing, and Google visibility as my weapons of fighting back. VKT can keep up his shenanigans but his online reputation is shit now because of his sleazy wallpaper entrapment tactics but also he makes no statements or explanations as to what is going on with his side.

I certainly don't advocate his side but the simple fact is if anyone gives a damn about their online reputation (like I passionately do), you have to be smart enough to speak out and defend yourself aggressively. That is why I encourage people to "come out" because bullies like VKT tend to back down or let others like HAN do his dirty work.  But so many people slink around anonymously as if they committed this huge crime when they really didn't. It was a mistake that caused no damages. They fear the "so-called" retaliation against them like anyone cares about their one letter among tens of thousands floating around.

If there was going to be retaliation for "coming out" and speaking out, I would be the prime target for that, not some random person who got a letter. If I ever got hit by a lawsuit or some other legal threat, you can believe I would be broadcasting it loud and wide and then I would be pointing all guns at the attacker and do some massive info digging on them. A few people have learned the hard way how nasty, aggressive, and vindictive I can be. I neutralize many of my opponents out without ever going to court. Court should always be the last option, not the first one.

With very few exceptions, my opponents and critics all go to Oscar and complain to him behind my back (which I almost always hear about later) about what we do or how we do it here on ELI.  Oscar and I have said many times that he doesn't "own" or directly control ELI.  Yet they keep crying to Oscar instead of crying to me which is fine by me.  Those people who complain have no problems making other people cry but when we hit back in unexpected ways, they are not expecting that they will do some crying themselves.

The biggest revenge against each copyright troll is to call them out and name them.  Google does the rest. I could give you a list of lawyers and other copyright troll parties that regretted getting into the copyright trolling business at all. They never expected they would ever be publicly called out and challenged. And they certainly didn't expect that when someone googles their name, the top listings come to ELI.  ELI has become so potent, that nearly any troll we report shows up prominently on Google in 24-48 hours.

The associates who caved in aren't going to get much support here. They settled and the matter is resolved. Regarding VKT, the reports just keep coming in.  It has grown so much, ELI may end up creating a special bio page just for him.

Yes I agree. I am equally frustrated with some of them. I sent out a warning to a list serve of businesses and got many people emailing me with their stories asking for help.  I told them the situation and I gave them all kinds of information which included your information and encouraged them all to come here and read up then donate for advice and help.  I don't think one followed my advice, when I followed up they all ended up paying except one who wont and is prepared to go to court.  Now that they see all this court stuff, they are upset and want to recoup. 

I agree they deserve it however, I was more thinking along the lines of what kind of trouble VKT and the others can get into.  It annoys me that he is getting money for this and if they find him guilty of this, I want to know that they are going to be punished and hopefully have to repay the money.  That would be the best way to punish the guy.  It seems to me that if a judge sees all the evidence and is told about all the money he has collected, that he would be ordered to give it all back.

And like someone said, he has not gotten the word out, there are so many things he could do to discourage people from taking images from these sites, including posting information on his own site about it.  It isn't that hard, I have been warning people about this and found multiple people who images that were not licenses on their sites and  helped them remove them and showed them where to go for legal images.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2012, 10:50:19 AM »
No amicus brief can be done unless someone intelligently and diligently fights back. No one is going to be inspired enough to spend money or donate their time to write an amicus brief to support someone without a spine and sense of intelligence.

As of right now, the idea of an amicus brief is a fantasy because I have not seen much to inspire me to advocate for one.

Lettered gave Matthew a suggestion some time ago about filing an amicus ("friend of the court") brief on behalf of the defendants in the HAN cases explaining our findings about the HAN/VKT baitpaper cartel, and turning over all of the information we have on each and everyone of the images he's tainted the information society with. Or at least the ones we're aware of, who knows how many there really are.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 11:00:30 AM »
Aren't there two HAN/VKT cases going to court soon? Would it help them? I certainly agree that there's a lot of value in fighting back by simply exposing the cartels that engage in this most despicable business model. I also agree that making their vendors worry about reputation issues has a lot of value. Perhaps some of the better law firms involved could care about their reputation when they realize the scheme their clients are up to. Perhaps they're fully aware and drink the Kool-Aid with relish.
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Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 11:50:37 AM »
There are 3 active cases in regards to HAN: Aloha Plastic Surgery, which is trying to get the default judgement overturned, The Scott, a place in California, whom I reached out to to advise them of the forum and the valuable info available to them ( I also reached out to their attorney, but have not heard back as of yet. and another company whom I did not reach out to.. These last 2 are very early on in the process, whether they will fight or settled remains to be seen, obviously it would be best if they fought, I doubt HAN have the balls or the money to defend 3 cases at once, and if they were to file counter-suits, that would really stick HAN and Glen Carner in a tough position. I will post more in regards to the Aloha Plastic Surgery case later, as there have been some developments, which need to be public, I'm just short on time at the moment.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 01:19:33 PM »
Unless you're ordered by a judge to pay up, and the plaintiff is willing to go through the hoops to enforce payment, then payment is strictly VOLUNTARY.

I can only think of ONE case wherein that happened.  Masterfile went after a guy in British Columbia... he didn't show for court, and therefore lost.
In Canada, if you don't show up for court, you WILL lose.  In the 'states, judges review the facts more frequently.
Anyway, he didn't pay, so they sent a sheriff to seize his assets or something.

Masterfile has had other sizeable judgements in their favor of note in the 'states.  But, it appears that these businesses simply shut down and didn't pay a cent in most cases.

Those who pay voluntarily will find it difficult to get their money back.
There's no "law" against agreeing to a settlement and then paying that settlement.
But, yes, one can sue for anything.  But, people who pay up fast and didn't fight in the first place will never file a lawsuit later on.

S.G.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 03:52:22 PM by Matthew Chan »

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2012, 04:02:47 PM »
No law firm has knocked down doors to represent extortion letter recipients. Never has been in all the time we have been involved. There isn't much money in it. Most letter recipients don't even financially support ELI with a contribution or hire Oscar and we are on their side. I don't pressure anyone into it but I do tell it like it is.

But we knew that going in and as long as ELI has "enough", ELI can exist in its current form.

Oscar has offered to do an amicus brief for the right case but it is safe to say he and I would have to believe in the case. Although Oscar could do one without my involvement, if I thought it was an "undeserving" case worthy of our time and our efforts and I was unwilling to support it, he probably wouldn't be as inspired either.  I certainly don't control Oscar but I do have an opinion and I do share it with him.

Oscar and my most valuable asset is our time and willingness to keep the fight going on. If either of us had enough and pulled out, it would greatly impact the motivation for the other to go on.

Aren't there two HAN/VKT cases going to court soon? Would it help them? I certainly agree that there's a lot of value in fighting back by simply exposing the cartels that engage in this most despicable business model. I also agree that making their vendors worry about reputation issues has a lot of value. Perhaps some of the better law firms involved could care about their reputation when they realize the scheme their clients are up to. Perhaps they're fully aware and drink the Kool-Aid with relish.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 10:46:27 PM by Matthew Chan »
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2012, 04:47:02 PM »
I absolutely trust your judgment, Matthew, and Oscar's, of course. Just let us know when to jump in and we'll do what we can to help.
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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2012, 09:24:00 PM »
I'm one of the people that got a new HAN threat this week. I hired Oscar today and talked to him briefly.

I saw on forum someone else came forward about a letter - and they also were attacked by a new (more powerful than past) law firm out of South Florida.

I am wondering if a good # of these other letters went out - and hoping people find the site. I am not sure how it works, but is there some sort of "inverse class action"?  If these people threaten 10 people at once.. If each person is looking at settling it could easily be a $20,000 - $40,000 pooled defense fund.  The facts are very similar, etc. etc.  Wouldn't require 10x the work for the defending (and counter-suing) lawyer as the merits would be common and it would really just be more examples and funding...  Not sure it's even realistic and haven't seen a # of people pop up that I sort of expected to see.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2012, 07:13:08 AM »
Just because a law firm may list 20 attorney's does not make them "more powerful" in my view. Picscout has along list of firms located in just about every state, when an image is found, they do a whois on the domain and pick a firm that is close to that address..THis is just how I see it, but I don't think much thought goes into who gets what cases, after all these "attorney's" and "law firms" are all acting like ambulance chasers for the most part. Again this is just me but I tend to judge the firm based on a couple of criteria..

1. Are they a one stop shop, showing a long list of specialties?
2. Do they have any sort of online presence?
3. When were they admitted to "practice" law
4. Where did they attend school?

It's very difficult at best to "specialize" in multiple areas, would you go to a foot specialist if you had hemorroids? probably not, but they are both doctors.

Most of these trolls have hardly any on line presence, at least until we get their names!

You'll also notice hardly any of them any number of years behind them, in other words they are not seasoned attorneys, but rather they are just getting in the game, and taking any cases to make a buck and add to their portfolio, I have seen very few with 10 or more years experience.

It's also been observed that most of them attended law schools that are virtually unheard of...
Take a look at Oscars experience, alumni, who he is involved with, and his years of experience, none of these copyright trolls can hold a candle to him!

Bottom line is don't be fooled by the size of the firm, the fancy office they may work out of, or the fact that they specialize in every area of law known to man.
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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adam

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Re: HAN/VKT question
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2012, 09:28:15 AM »
Understood, but I can tell you from having lived down there, this particular firm (at least the people at the top - perhaps not the guy who is pursuing this b.s.) are poltiically involved, have done major cases.. and are not the same profile as some of the prior lawyers I have seen referenced as used.  This particular firm has had some high profile clients, major settlements, and it makes the fact of trolling for settlements on trumped up $8k claims more silly for them.  This may work to advantage once word gets out and maybe hits some of the people at the top.  One of partners at this firm is politically involved and likely has some ongoing political goals.  A story of how his firm is extorting small businesses and perhaps putting them out of business w/ some specific examples of type of thing would likely go a long way.  If it costs them 1 or 2 real clients it may change their perspective on this business.

I agree 100% with everything you say in re can't just the firm by the b.s. on its site, but this particular one does appear to be a different caliber than what has been used by HAN in the past.

 

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