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Author Topic: Nicholas Youngson Photographer (Rep. by Higbee Associates) Copyright Abuse  (Read 18343 times)

Matthew Chan

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It isn't illegal to call someone. However, it becomes a grey area if you actually instruct someone in writing to cease-and-desist making phone calls to you.

Phone calls have been reported and written about. It doesn't come up often because most don't bother to go down that road.  Higbee is a growing operation and they are persistent but we have discovered glaring credibility issues. Higbee touts itself as a "national law firm" by renting or utilizing virtual addresses, for example.

I am not going to re-write it but there are a couple of posts somewhere where I wrote about how to deal with unwanted phone calls. Honestly, it is an epidemic beyond the whole extortion letter issue.  People phone spam me every day and I despise it.  Emails and phone calls. You might have to use the custom Google search bar above the forum.

Mathew Chan

Glad to contribute to the community.  But, I got a question of my own.  I got a call on my cell from a case manager for Higbee and Assocs.  I don't know how they got my cell number.  Is this legal?  My phone was charging at the time and it went to voice mail which I deleted.  This is a new wrinkle.  I don't answer any calls that I don't know.  It's been my practice for a long time.   So npted the call and will keep a log of any future calls to go along with the file I'm keeping on Higbee of all communications.  Has anybody else received calls to your cell?   
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 02:55:33 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.

kingkendall

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It isn't illegal to call someone. However, it becomes a grey area if you actually instruct someone in writing to cease-and-desist making phone calls to you.

Phone calls have been reported and written about. It doesn't come up often because most don't bother to go down that road.  Higbee is a growing operation and they are persistent but we have discovered glaring credibility issues. Higbee touts itself as a "national law firm" by renting or utilizing virtual addresses, for example.

I am not going to re-write it but there are a couple of posts somewhere where I wrote about how to deal with unwanted phone calls. Honestly, it is an epidemic beyond the whole extortion letter issue.  People spam all over.  Emails and phone calls. You might have to use the custom Google search bar above the forum.

Mathew Chan

 Thanks for answering my question. 

clist

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Found it.

 ;)

This mention of trolls making phone calls I haven't heard in a long while. Apparently, Higbee is new to this.

This is a small list what I would consider doing regarding unwanted phone calls:

1. Screen calls.
2. Let calls go to voicemail. If they got anything to say, let them say it there. If not, then good.
3. Block the number.
4. Install a voice recording app and record the conversation.  If you are in a 1-state consent state, you can record them without notice. If you are in a 2-state consent state, you interrupt them and say. "Before you say anything, I am letting you know I am recording this call." And honestly, for me personally (not advice to anyone), if I have an uninvited, unsolicited, or suspicious call, I will record them anyway as I think prosecutor offices have better things to do than go after citizens who are simply trying to protect and defend themselves.
5. Instruct them in writing that their calls unwelcome and they should not call the number anymore.

The easiest thing to do is screen all unknown calls and let it go to voicemail. The least amount of drama.  I highly recommend Google Voice. Lots of great features.

Thanks.  No action taken yet, just a bunch of harassing telephone calls from Higbee office, and most recently a call from a woman claiming to be an attorney indicating she will be filing suit in federal court.  Do I call their bluff and do nothing, or do I file off a letter in response stating image was removed and try to argue they have no claim because the image was on a site listed "free for commercial use" etc etc.  This has been going on for a few months now and they are turning up the pressure.
Knowledge isn't free - you have to pay attention.

another victim

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I am dealing with one of these letters and am trying to see if I can get them to agree to something minimal to resolve.  I can tell you this, though; if I can't resolve it I intend to sue Higbee and Youngson in state court in Massachusetts for abuse of process, copyright abuse, and violation of the consumer protection law MGL ch 93A.  93A comes with very stiff penalties, including 3x damages and payment of atty's fees. It seems very clear to me from reviewing these posts and the manner in which people are duped into using what they think is a free image and then get faced with constant harassment and extortionate demands.

If anyone else is planning to take any legal action, I would appreciate knowing.  Also, I would appreciate knowing the data that NYcopyrightabuse has found from their survey if they would share it with the group.

Hkiss44

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My company has recently been notified from Higbee for two free images that were used based on search on free google search for commercial use.  Has the consensus been to settle so as not to run up expensive legal bills?

clist

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The consensus has been to read the forums, get educated and then decide the best plan of action for your particular situation.
Knowledge isn't free - you have to pay attention.

Matthew Chan

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Correct. Very concise and accurate answer. One solution does not fit all. Too many personality types with different risk tolerances and individual situations.

The consensus has been to read the forums, get educated and then decide the best plan of action for your particular situation.
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.

dbr

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We recently received this letter in discussion. We would appreciate an update as to the work being done in this matter and would like to offer any help.

JohnInNY

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Re: Nicholas Youngson Photographer (Rep. by Higbee Associates) Copyright Abuse
« Reply #38 on: October 25, 2018, 01:58:32 PM »
I am going through the same issue with Higbee with the same photographer.
Any updates here?

marketer44

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Re: Nicholas Youngson Photographer (Rep. by Higbee Associates) Copyright Abuse
« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2018, 08:36:55 PM »
We recently received a letter about the same matter. @nycopyrightabuse and @splitsecond.... Please update this forum with the solution to this corroboration.

@splitsecond : What did the CA Bar write back to you when you mailed in a formal complaint?

@nycopyrightabuse: How did your case end? What did you use as evidence to fight or case?

@Matthew Chan: Please help to confirm the legitimacy of these users as they stated they have reached out to you regarding these matters, and would be getting back to you with facts about their legitimacy to " hammering all of the details out in a swift fashion and to your satisfaction".

Thank you guys! Looking forward to putting this behind me!

Ethan Seven

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Re: Nicholas Youngson Photographer (Rep. by Higbee Associates) Copyright Abuse
« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2018, 10:50:41 AM »
Here is some information from various threads on this forum to consider when evaluating claims made by RM Media.

- If you have not already done so, remove the image or comply with license attribution requirements
- The demand amount is negotiable, so you can offer them a substantially lower amount
- RM Media has filed several lawsuits in the US.
- If you look like you do not have assets, you are way less likely to get sued.
- If they sue you, they will probably ask for much more money than they are now.
- If you are comfortable with the risk of getting sued, you can trying ignoring it and hope they do not sue you for three years, after that, it will be beyond the statute of limitations for that particular claim. 
- If they do sue you, they will try to use the fact that you did not offer to settle the claim against you in effort to persuade the judge to make you pay their attorneys fees.
- Have an attorney evaluate your claim for possible defenses to infringement, such as fair use or for mitigating factors that would give you leverage to reduce or eliminate liability

Higbee & Associates has no record of adverse action from any state bar association.   Draw whatever inferences you like from that when considering how worth while it is to spend your time complaining to the state bar.  If you think their client’s claim has no merit, you or your attorney can tell it to the judge in the form of a motion to dismiss and for sanctions.

Finally, read my important disclaimer below. 



« Last Edit: October 31, 2018, 10:54:15 AM by Ethan Seven »
Even if I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer.  Copyright matters can have serious consequences.  If you have assets worth protecting, consult a lawyer who is familiar with copyright law and who can review the facts of your case. If you cannot afford one, call your state or county bar association.

ohhellno

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Re: Nicholas Youngson Photographer (Rep. by Higbee Associates) Copyright Abuse
« Reply #41 on: November 02, 2018, 11:44:32 AM »
Everyone impacted by Nick Youngson claims really should read and understand the Memorandum of Law filed by Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. in their case against Higbee and Youngson. Essentially it boils down to whether the attribution requirement of the Creative Commons license was a covenant (a term of the contract that would allow Youngson to sue for breach of contract and damages, but not copyright violation) or a condition (failing to attribute means that the license was invalid, and thus allowing Youngson to bring a copyright violation claim). The Youngson websites "mysteriously" changed for many images this summer to add language stating that attribution is a CONDITION, highlighting (IMO) that previously it was a covenant. Because most people make zero dollars off their images, they have no damages to sue under the covenant/breach of contract claim. Youngson also conveniently scrubbed the websites off the wayback machine around the same time, likely to hide the fact that it previously stated it was just "required" = covenant. Luckily we were able to capture an image before they did this, so we have pictures of the "before" and "after" showing how they changed the language on the website to try to retroactively make attribution a condition. I think that Youngson/Higbee realized they messed up, and so added the language to make their honeypot more effective. But what that means is that everyone caught up in this scam prior to the website being edited MAY have a strong argument that there was only a failed covenant of the license (which basically means no $ for Youngson/Higbee), but no basis for a copyright violation claim (where the big bucks are). Everyone getting letters from them should obviously consult an attorney in their jurisdiction, but I think the MOL is a useful read.

https://cases.justia.com/federal/district-courts/new-york/nyedce/2:2018cv03353/418211/11/0.pdf


Matthew Chan

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Re: Nicholas Youngson Photographer (Rep. by Higbee Associates) Copyright Abuse
« Reply #42 on: November 02, 2018, 06:17:31 PM »
It seems that nycopyrightabuse has moved on by the lack of response. My speculation is that he probably settled the matter as most people do to simply have closure.

And I confirmed that the original poster had honorable intentions and what they were trying to do. However, it was THEIR approach and efforts.  I neither endorse or condemn their efforts. Generally speaking, I don't go out of my way to find out how people resolve their cases.  People generally report back to me if they feel inclined.

@nycopyrightabuse: How did your case end? What did you use as evidence to fight or case?

@Matthew Chan: Please help to confirm the legitimacy of these users as they stated they have reached out to you regarding these matters, and would be getting back to you with facts about their legitimacy to " hammering all of the details out in a swift fashion and to your satisfaction".
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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