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Author Topic: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice  (Read 2583 times)

Medieval1028

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I received a letter from Higbee that included a threat that he would file suit for copyright infringement of a photograph. They are demanding several thousands of dollars for the suit to go away. They have included the complaint that will go to the court w/ evidence, etc. Threatened to file in 15 days. BTW, the complaint stated a few details that were not correct, though I don't want to mention the mistakes since I'm fairly sure Higbee trolls this forum. Need advice. Thanks.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 10:08:49 PM by Medieval1028 »

Matthew Chan

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2018, 06:34:52 AM »
You are in the Higbee Letter/Lawsuits Forum.  There are already plenty of posts to read for general advice.

If they choose to file a lawsuit, it generally won't be very soon.  Lawsuits are a rarity. So, start reading the other posts first to get a general sense of what is going on. A lot has been covered already.
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.

icepick

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2018, 08:39:09 AM »
Many people have received the template lawsuit with the 15 day threat. Many people have also not had a suit filed against them in the 15 days. Read up on here about your particular plaintiff that Higbee is representing because some are more aggressive than others and how far they push depends on the specific facts of your situation. Ongoing infringement is likely to generate a lawsuit while other facts usually reduce that risk.

Medieval1028

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2018, 10:27:08 AM »
Thanks. I have begun to read the forum and realize the craziness of this Higbee firm. I am open to further advice as well. I have watched Higbee's videos on YouTube and sense that this operation is more of a matter of 'throwing a threat against the wall and then hoping it sticks.' Have the courts been fighting back against this type of practice?

kingkendall

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2018, 10:53:53 AM »
Get a manila folder and stick the Higbee demand letter and sit tight.  If you get any more letters or emails stick it into the file.  DO NOT contact Higbee thinking you can negotiate because it you do you'll be put on "We can "F" with him list"  You don't want that.  In the meantime get educated. 


icepick

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2018, 08:20:56 AM »
And from my limited experience the impression I have from Higbee is everything up to the template lawsuit and 15 day threat is probably a standard script they run on everyone. There seems to be more variation for what happens after that based on the facts of each case.

My 15 days passed a long time ago, and not a word from them since. I agree communications with them during the script phase probably don’t go very far because they just follow the script and aren’t even listening most likely. If the person I’m talking with isn’t listening then I just stop wasting my time talking and deal with it in court if necessary.

A Lawyer

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2018, 06:01:16 PM »
I always feel like information helps people make the best decision for their circumstance. I did a quick Lexis search on copyright suits filed by Higbee since April of last year. Keep in mind, Lexis doesn't have everything so it's probable that the results I saw were incomplete. He has filed for a lot of different clients, but the top five seemed to be Michael Grecco Productions, Inc., Christopher Sadowski, Alexander Wild, William Farrington, and Adlife Marketing Communications Inc. Also, most of the filings seem to be where you would expect, California, New York, Texas etc., but Higbee also seems to have a lot of one-offs in other states like Oregon, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, etc.

The point is, depending on who the photographer is and where you are located can help you decide your odds of being sued and if it's worth trying to ride it out, or just to negotiate a settlement and avoid a lawsuit. Only you can make that decision.

As far as the lawsuit with errors in it, from what I have seen, the draft lawsuits they send out tend to be different than the ones they actually file. At least that appears to be the case with the recent RM Media lawsuit that someone else posted about last week. My best guess is that if they decide to sue, they have someone review the case more in depth and redraft the complaint to fix any errors before filing it, so I wouldn't bank to much on that.

Medieval1028

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2018, 10:26:14 PM »
A Lawyer....thanks for the information. One of the photographers and one-off states you listed mirror my situation.

Medieval1028

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Just an update. The 3-years since the alleged infringement has passed. I received one email since my initial post here. I have checked Justia.com docket filings since then, and nothing has been filed or served. BTW...the alleged post, the server image and the WayBack.com copy have been removed by me. Is there a possibility of a delay, or am I out of the woods with this? Thanks....

icepick

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Appreciate the update. Personally I'm not sure if the 3 year filing deadline is from the date of first infringement or the date they discovered the infringement. Someone who knows more than me can clear that up.

Has anyone been tracking Higbee's filings noticed if the volume has gone down in the last few months? The small sample impression I'm seeing from posts on here is he is rattling cages with threats but I haven't seen a lot of posts about being sued so maybe he is being more selective in what cases he spends money filing on.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2018, 11:31:00 AM »
The 3 yrs is from the date of discovery....best to use the date of the first letter as your "start" date.
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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Ethan Seven

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2018, 03:09:36 PM »
BuddhaPi is correct if it is a civil case.   17 U.S. 507(b) states that no claim shall be brought after three years from the time that the claim accrued. 

The claim accrues when the infringement is discovered by the copyright owner. 

If the alleged infringement started prior to three years, it is good to ask when they discovered it.  If it was more than 3 years ago, you are off the hook.

The statute of limitations is 5 years if the case is a criminal case of copyright infringement. 
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.

Ethan Seven

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2018, 03:26:18 PM »
Has anyone been tracking Higbee's filings noticed if the volume has gone down in the last few months?

It looks like Higbee & Associates has filed about 50 copyright law suits this year.  I am not sure if that is a historic increase or decrease in volume.   According to the site below Higbee filed a lot filer of copyright law suits in 2017:

http://copyright-demand-letter.com/liebowitz-law-firm-top-filer-of-copyright-law-suits-in-2017/

I looked at some of the law suits that he filed.   I noticed Higbee occasionally partners with other law firms on copyright cases.  He might be outsourcing some of his litigation to other law firms, if so, this would complicate knowing what to make of the number of law suits filed by Higbee & Associates when trying to evaluate the threat of litigation. 
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.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Receive extortion letter from Matthew K. Higbee today - need advice
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2018, 01:44:03 PM »
I don't think ELI has ever discussed criminal copyright infringements. It is generally beyond the scope of what we do. It is an issue I would punt to a lawyer.

However, the SOL for criminal copyright infringements is good to know. Thanks.

The statute of limitations is 5 years if the case is a criminal case of copyright infringement.
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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