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Author Topic: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls  (Read 9871 times)

Matthew Chan

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Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« on: June 02, 2012, 09:32:47 PM »
This is one of these ideas that I have held on to simply because I wasn't prepared to take a public position on. I am now.

Apparently, I hear some nasty copyright extortion collection telephone calls have been made to letter recipients. Most notably, the nastiest complaints I heard of comes from a clerk or paralegal allegedly from Attorney Timothy B. McCormack's office. I cannot say whether Tim knows or even approves about how his paralegals are making these collection phone calls but I can promise you that he ultimately gets the responsibility for this one.

Glen Carner, CEO of Hawaiian Art Network, has come on to the ELI Forums trying to justify and defend his new Copyright Services International venture where he has one of his clerks make "copyright collections phone calls" to people "out of the blue" trying to inform and extract payment over the phone.

As far as the ELI Community is concerned, none of us feel that phone conversations serve any good purpose (at this time). It is grossly stacked against the person receiving the phone call especially if they know nothing about the copyright collection process. I don't like emails either and highly discourage it. I believe in old-fashioned typed letter with a first-class postage stamp sent through U.S. Postal Mail.

There is a move by the stock photo agencies and their collection lawyers to minimize their footprint when it comes to their extortion letters and other communication means. Let's face it. When it is shown to he public, it is very embarrassing to them. And in some cases, it has earned them complaints with the State Bar and the Attorney General. The extortion letters have become shorter and more sanitized. But don't fool yourself, they are still coming after your money. They are trying to move towards email vs. standard U.S. Postal mail.  Now, we have copyright collection telephone calls.

I believe people should be prepared for telephone calls and record those calls to protect yourself. Some people might say that recording phone calls is "illegal".  Well, I say cold-calling people and trying to get people to pay big money with ZERO PROOF over the phone isn't all that warm and fuzzy either. It smells of a scam. There is no judge that will ever reprimand you for NOT paying someone hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over a blind telephone call no matter how sweet-sounding the caller is.

Regarding the legality of recording "phone calls", I have no problems recording calls if I need to regardless of what the law books say because it will be for my own use. I know that the law on recording phone conversations vary from state to state but it doesn't bother me because I have a good idea what I will use it for and what I can't. Unless you plan on using it egregiously to be malicious or profit from it, very few prosecutors are going to devote their time on this supposed "crime".

It is analogous to the fact that speeding is technically illegal. But nearly no one goes to jail or gets a speeding ticket for going 5 mph over the speed limit.  Very few people worry about it. Or a U-turn where you are not supposed to. Or talking on the cell phone while driving.  So many vehicle-related laws that people break all the time.

Or how about the "blue laws" relating to sex for certain sexual acts?  Is anyone really going to bust down your door and arrest you for engaging in a particular activity between two consenting adults?  Countless people are "breaking blue laws" daily!  Lots of weird laws on the books but not really that big a deal by most "normal" people.  It would cause an outrage trying to enforce them.

So, my own OPINION, is that I am not going to obsess over the laws regarding recording phone calls especially against those trying to get money from me. This isn't a debt collection call they are making. This is an unproven, copyright claim call! Most people never give me a reason to need to consider recording a phone call without their permission.  But if I feel the need to record a phone call to protect myself or my interests, I will and I won't feel bad about it at all. I will take that risk. I won't let people get away with saying crazy things to me if I can capture and record it and then use it against them.

It is obviously YOUR choice whether you are willing to take that risk to record a phone call without someone's authorization.

But I think we need to start considering recording the copyright collections phone calls and letting others hear and analyze these calls.

Just to prove a point, I recently received a threatening phone call from a ex-friend who became a meth-user and now angry with me. A message was left on my voicemail. I took that recorded voicemail and saved it to report to the police. And this real-life recoding is available for you to listen to. I mean what I say.



ELI is happy to receive recorded phone call submissions. We are happy to anonymize your portion and any other identifying information but we will preserve the identity of the copyright collection caller.
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.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2012, 09:56:38 PM »
Pass the lighter! 8)
I'll be researching this for sure, but right off the bat, if you're number is on the do not call list, the collection caller could be reported, as this would be an unsolicited call, and being that the "callee" does not do business with the offending company, that makes it that much better..There are penalties to companies whomdo not follow the rules.. Like I said I'll be researching this and supplying links in the next day or so..

It's what I get "paid" for afterall
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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Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2012, 10:20:26 PM »
Regarding the legality of recording "phone calls", I have no problems recording calls if I need to regardless of what the law books say because it will be for my own use. I know that the law on recording phone conversations vary from state to state but it doesn't bother me because I have a good idea what I will use it for and what I can't. Unless you plan on using it egregiously to be malicious or profit from it, very few prosecutors are going to devote their time on this supposed "crime".

My standard "I'm not a lawyer" disclaimer applies. But my understanding is that you can record a phone conversation as long as you notify the other party you will be recording it.

If you think someone is trying to run a scam on you, you have every right to say, "Gee, this sounds rather complicated, I will be recording this conversation. You understand." And that's it.

If it is a legitimate claim they will continue. If it is a scam, watch how quickly the other party gets off the line.
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.

SoylentGreen

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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2012, 11:40:23 PM »
I did some reading the other day.

My understanding that the only kind of recording in the US that's "illegal" (without government permission) is when neither party is aware that they're being recorded.

But, the laws of submission state whether or not such calls can be used as court evidence.
It's allowed in most states so long as one person is aware that the conversation is being recorded.
A small number of states only allow recorded evidence if both parties are aware that a recording is being made.

Also, "If a caller in a one-party state records a conversation with someone in a two-party state that caller is subject to the stricter of the laws and must have consent from all callers"
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_recording_laws

S.G.



Matthew Chan

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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2012, 12:10:30 AM »
Guys, you are killing me.  I think you are missing my point and making this too complicated. I am surprised given some of you should know my personality by now.  You are adding layers to my statement when I didn't intend any. I already did the necessary reading before I made this statement.  I already know everything you guys are saying and I am going to disregard it.  I am making the decision for MYSELF.  Everyone else can take my direct statement and add layers.

I am telling you that if someone tries to call me when I don't want them to, I have ZERO intentions of notifying them no matter which of the 50 states I am in. If I am gunning after someone, I am NOT notifying them.  I will do it discreetly to nail them. I am going to get them, straight and simple. I am hitting that record button without their knowing or permission. It's that simple and direct.

I am not using it as court evidence and all that other stuff.  I am going directly to the public with it.  I don't want them to know I am recording because I intend to capture them "in the raw", not a condensed or toned-down version of the conversation.  But that is just me.

My caveat is that I almost never record phone calls. I have no history of "breaking this law".  Almost never need to.  But if I need to "break this law", then so be it. I am not going to worry about this "blue law" (my opinion) on recording phone calls as a private individual gathering evidence against a more powerful bully or extortionist.

Once again, I believe the intent of the law is for major and flagrant abuse of recording phone conversations.

This may be one of those times where I may stand entirely alone on this matter. Other people can go ahead and implement your suggestions if they are that fearful of the "risk".  I am not going to be held back by some remote, obscure chance that some prosecutor might use valuable tax dollars to go after a private individual for committing this egregious crime of recording a phone call without someone's permission. I will take my chances with that "risk".
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 12:16:37 AM 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.

SoylentGreen

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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2012, 12:22:14 AM »
Hey Matt,

Sorry if I got too technical, it was brought up a couple of times, so I figured that I'd post about it.
Anyway, the "rules" only really apply if somethings to be used in "court".

The recording is funny as hell.  He's lucky that you didn't call the cops.

But, why do I picture this guy when I listen to it?



S.G.



Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2012, 10:15:41 AM »
I didn't miss the point, as you well know I like to "name and shame" whenever available, I was simply adding that you could also report them as a way to punch back.

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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Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2012, 03:16:40 PM »
I didn't miss your point either. My point is that I don't feel particularly good about breaking the law or encouraging others to do so in order to fight a wrong.

It's the same reason I'm against torturing suspected terrorists. Whatever we gain from breaking the law is not worth what we loose. I prefer to hold the moral high ground.

But like I have always said, it's your site and your rules. I thought about just sitting out this thread, but it bothered me a little last night and so I decided to at least post my point of view. Who knows, maybe I'll change your mind.
 
Obviously you couched it more in terms of what YOU would do. But I read a "call to action" in there. I'm a little concerned about the same people that didn't know grabbing an image from Google would be an issue also getting burned for invasion of privacy.

Having this content would obviously make for juicy content for the site. But there is a solution that doesn't involve breaking the law. I would propose that someone, maybe you, within the context of "citizen journalist" could contact the lawyers, the photographers, the stock company owners, or any other interested party and let them know that you are reporting on this issue and would like to conduct a recorded interview.

As long as they are made aware that the conversation is being recorded, there is no invasion of privacy issue and I think you will be surprised at the results.
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: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2012, 03:29:07 PM »
I would also prefer to inform people they are being recorded.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2012, 03:33:11 PM »
mcfilms,

Actually, that makes me feel better that all of you got my original point. Somehow I thought I didn't write clearly or you guys missed what I was saying. It is a "call to action" of sorts and I am about simplicity. Having said that, I understand your position. That is why we have these forums.  We can discuss our perspectives and people can pick and choose what they want to do.

Honestly, I don't think we will get many phone recordings simply because it is a pain in the butt. And when you are ready to record, you don't often capture what you want.

I am a realist. There are all kinds of laws being broken every day, some of the laws are just nonsensical or plain unenforceable. I could create a long list of laws that many people have broken either intentionally or unintentionally.

For the record, I don't go out of my way to test the law or even hang out in the fringes. But there are times in life, if something has to happen, I will do what it takes.  Letting some obscure or unenforceable law hold you back is simply a risk I am willing to take.

If someone doesn't want to do something, fine. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head. But just because my idea is a bit edgy doesn't mean it isn't a valid strategy.
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: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2012, 04:35:45 PM »
I'm gonna run the audio through Auto-Tune.  Maybe I can make a song out of it?
I'll name it "I'm Gonna Kill You (my dad never took took me to see Monsters Inc.)".
lol

S.G.

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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2012, 01:19:31 PM »
Regardless of the law, I see no reason why stock photo companies wouldn't want their phone calls recorded if they are being appropriate.  I know you disapprove but I believe the calls made by Copyright Services International are professional and appropriate in that they work towards a business to business solution without labeling, name calling, or threatening.  I personally would much rather be called about a matter of unlicensed image use rather then presented with an attorney's letter with penalties and legal threats.  I would be surprised if in asking for permission that the agency calling doesn't feel fine having the receiver record the call.  Just ask.  Its reasonable.
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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2012, 01:39:21 PM »
Glen,

To be fair, I have not heard too much about HAN or your lawyers doing much nasty calling.  The nasty calls I have heard complaints about most have been from McCormack's office. Even then, I did not say Timothy B. McCormack did it or even approved it himself. But given his prior nasty outrageous letters, it is consistent with their attitudes.  From what we hear, he has a very "aggressive" paralegal or some clerk making these nasty calls.

From what I have heard, most phone calls from collection lawyer offices are to trying to convince the letter recipient to settle.

To me, asking permission is a courtesy I extend to those I respect and work with, not those I am going after.  Again, that is just me speaking for myself.

Regardless of the law, I see no reason why stock photo companies wouldn't want their phone calls recorded if they are being appropriate.  I know you disapprove but I believe the calls made by Copyright Services International are professional and appropriate in that they work towards a business to business solution without labeling, name calling, or threatening.  I personally would much rather be called about a matter of unlicensed image use rather then presented with an attorney's letter with penalties and legal threats.  I would be surprised if in asking for permission that the agency calling doesn't feel fine having the receiver record the call.  Just ask.  Its reasonable.
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: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2012, 04:08:23 PM »
Yeah, if anybody calls about money, and I don't know who they are, I just hang up immediately.

S.G.


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Re: Recording Copyright Extortion Collection Telephone Calls
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2013, 11:06:29 PM »
I didn't miss your point either. My point is that I don't feel particularly good about breaking the law or encouraging others to do so in order to fight a wrong.

It's the same reason I'm against torturing suspected terrorists. Whatever we gain from breaking the law is not worth what we loose. I prefer to hold the moral high ground.

But like I have always said, it's your site and your rules. I thought about just sitting out this thread, but it bothered me a little last night and so I decided to at least post my point of view. Who knows, maybe I'll change your mind.
 
Obviously you couched it more in terms of what YOU would do. But I read a "call to action" in there. I'm a little concerned about the same people that didn't know grabbing an image from Google would be an issue also getting burned for invasion of privacy.

Having this content would obviously make for juicy content for the site. But there is a solution that doesn't involve breaking the law. I would propose that someone, maybe you, within the context of "citizen journalist" could contact the lawyers, the photographers, the stock company owners, or any other interested party and let them know that you are reporting on this issue and would like to conduct a recorded interview.

As long as they are made aware that the conversation is being recorded, there is no invasion of privacy issue and I think you will be surprised at the results.

Some thoughts on the above:

First, breaking the law in fighting a wrong is what is done all the time by law enforcement agencies. For example: wire tapping is illegally done in the name of national security, and they wont hesitate to do it. We don't live in a TV world, this stuff happens at the drop of a hat. What makes the NSA's or CIA's issues more legit than the need for my personal security? And our taxes pay for their resources!

Second, torturing terrorists is not the same as recording phone calls outside of simply breaking a law. Violations of different laws carry different penalties that are "supposed" to fit the crime!

Third, what is moral high ground? This is defined differently within each of us whereas law is a constant! Law and morality are not synonymous, yet some mistakenly merge the two! The truth is, laws can be immoral! A person has a moral compass. Example: if a man was about to whip a slave back in 1825 for the "crime" of accidentally breaking the property of his master, and I was standing by and seeing it about to happen, and "knowing" with my moral compass that this is wrong, but fail to intercede because the law says the slave owner has the right...how is that taking moral high ground? Interfering would get me arrested and branded a negro lover. So stepping up would be a risk, because something that is wrong is legal, and defending against it has been made illegal. Failing to follow my conscience makes me a coward! If a law is made that harms innocents and also shields criminals, then that law is flawed and needs to be properly corrected by sovereign citizens. This was the mind of the founders of the US. There is a time and a purpose to everything under the sun, a time to obey laws, and a time to break them. Surely you're not comparing little people defending themselves against a wretched powerhouse company to the most powerful government in the world using its ridiculously uneven advantage over little prisoners by torturing them? Seriously?

Fourth, a call to action "is" necessary! This is an epidemic...look at the number of people that are posting their dilemmas on this site and others. People are being deliberately set up to fall victim to these absurdly overpriced penalties. Deliberately nasty people and attorneys are employed to gouge them in any way possible. They do so with bluster and bluff, lying to people about what might happen to scare them out as much money as they can, regardless of what financial difficulty or harm it poses...who knows, these vermin may have even caused a suicide. People agonize over these letters and lose sleep, read the posts. This virus is attacking helpless people and being shielded from their actions by impotent laws enacted by politicians, who are otherwise known as blood sucking parasites! Never heard of that? Look it up, it's verifiable! Such a business deserves to crumble and disappear! It's despicable!

Fifth, illegal recording only becomes an issue if the information gained is brought to anyone officials attention. If shared with a lawyer, it can be an invaluable tool. It can also be an ace in the hole. Also, such evidence can be used to influence a prosecutor to lay off a case. Further, if privacy violation charges are brought against you for doing such a thing and you were in a self defense mode by necessity...trust me, no company wants their dirty laundry aired nation wide prosecuting a case like that. The embarrassment would be epic. Believe this: the person that goes to jail for such a "crime" is doing a service for his country. Some things are worth going to jail, and even dying for...cowards will run. Taking down a douche company and it's douche legal team is an act worthy of praise, and a fund should be started to pay his family a healthy stipend for the time he is in jail...say, $250,000 a year. By the way, how do people get burned for recording conversations on the sly? Are there spybots that can detect them in our homes? So let's get this straight, I can listen to the conversation, and if I need to refer to it, it's my word against theirs...or, if I'm fortunate enough to have one or more people listening in on the conversation, we then need to rely on memories of the conversation...that's ok...but to have the certainty of a recording of some lying rodent breaking the law on me isn't? Further, it's ok for the government to use our tax paid for resources to break the law in the same way for the purposes of what they feel is national security to defend us all...but for me to defend my own security against a dangerous aggressor is not ok? Really? I wonder what the founders would have said? Perhaps they would have said, "the letter of the law kills, but the spirit of the law brings life and peace."? But then again, a convicted murderer once had his conviction overturned by a judge because the prosecutor read a bible verse in the courtroom during his closing argument. Wow! Is that justice...or perversion?

Finally, there are some unfortunate implications that go along with it, but I do get "your" point, that's just not how you would feel comfortable handling it, and disagree with the methods...and that's fine, that's why Matt is doing it, and others feel his rage and indignance too. The battle isn't for everyone. It may involve sacrifice and injury, but for a worthy cause, to some it's worth the price. "My" point here is to show "how" I see things differently! This is ultimately an issue of conscience...I can sleep soundly and peacefully if I "unlawfully" record a conversation with some douchebag that's out to cause me harm. Maybe you can't. People are convicted by their conscience for a number of things...the big question is why? The bible has an interesting verse where God says: "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge!" I know when something is right and wrong because the law of God has been written in my heart. It's wrong to have a law that protects criminal behavior...that's no just law, but is in itself a crime.

 

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