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Topics - JLorimer

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Getty Images Letter Forum / Passed My SOL Date
« on: November 28, 2016, 12:10:20 PM »
When this all began I never thought this date would arrive. I officially passed my SOL on November 23. Thank you all for the great advice and wisdom you shared when I first came here. I learned a lot from all of you and I'm glad this place exists.

It seems Sanders Law, PLLC and BWP Media USA have slowed down quite a bit over the last three years. Over the next few days and weeks I will try to share more about my story now that things are done. I have always enjoyed candor of some of the other members who revealed their stories, sometimes in great detail. I would like to do the same now.

Getty Images Letter Forum / Question for Greg Troy
« on: January 11, 2014, 09:23:52 PM »
Greg, I just finished reading all of your back and forth with Getty, all your complaint letters, and your 17 page forum thread about your experiment.  First of all, thank you for being so open and sharing all of that.  Now to my question.  Most people here say to offer as little information as possible.  It seems to me that in your initial letter to Getty, you offered a lot of information, including some background information on how you came to use the image that alerted them to you.  In retrospect, do you feel that you gave up too much?  Would you change that initial response after all the time you have spent here at ELI?

As part of my learning process, I have taken a semi-random image from a certain source.  (Note, I'm specifically being a little vague just for safety and anonymity).  I'm attempting to locate the original source for the image.  In a search I have found what appear to be multiple sources claiming ownership of the same image.  I'm wondering if there is any connection between these entities or how one might find the true owner of an image.  The image I am using has the following claims to ownership:

Clint Brewer, Splash News
Pedro Andrade/ KVS, Pacific Coast News
BWP Media

What I'm wondering is, are there connections to any of these?  For example, I have seen that BWP often represents PCN - but are they the same?  Can BWP claim ownership of PCN images?  Is Splash News related to PCN or BWP?  Can Clint Brewer and Pedro Andrade both rightfully claim copyright to the image in question?  This information is gleaned from websites, photo credits, and the image metadata itself.  Some people here seem quite knowledgeable about these sorts of connections.  I did some searching here and on google and I am still confused.

Getty Images Letter Forum / Terms of Service Prohibiting Crawlers and Bots?
« on: November 26, 2013, 02:41:56 PM »
I apologize if this topic has already been discussed in this capacity.  I tried to search for something similar but it either hasn't been or I didn't try the right combination of keywords.

Since I have been thrown into this whole mess I have been kind of interested in how legally stable it would be to add something to a site's terms of service stating that crawler and bot activity is prohibited.  Say for example that I put the correct meta tags, robots.txt, .htaccess, and additional scripts in place that (at least attempt to) completely block crawler activity.  I would then state in my terms of use that I have made a reasonable and faithful effort to prohibit all types of bots and crawlers and that any such traffic is a violation of my terms and an intrusion into my site. 

As many of us know, crawlers and such can eat up 50% or greater of our system resources.  In periods of high traffic, that literally means that legitimate users cannot access the site.  Some might even call that denial of service.

My thinking is also that if PicScout or something else would find an image and they would attempt to sue, you could question the means by which the image was discovered.  If it was discovered that a banned tool was used, could you then show the terms of service, the methods used to block such a tool, and prove that the means of discovery is considered to be a system intrusion?  I certainly don't desire that type of traffic on any of my sites.  I only allow Google and Bing because they actually bring positive traffic to my site in most cases.  Even in cases where all images are legal I would not want to waste my bandwidth on such a tool that is only seeking to catch me in potential wrongdoing. 

To me it seems like if police were randomly walking down the street and letting themselves into your house to browse around just because you have a standard door and windows on your dwelling.  Sure, you open your house to people who are welcome but you make efforts to lock doors and windows and keep most other people out. 

I realize this would be an extremely gray area because they you might be able to potentially define all kind of other strange things in your terms.  It just seems that something to that effect would be reasonable since there are valid concerns about bandwidth usage.  The fact that you can ask Google, Bing, The Internet Archive, and any other respectable bot not to crawl your site and they will obey your wishes seems that it would also be reasonable. 


Getty Images Letter Forum / Received a Complaint from BWP Media USA
« on: November 23, 2013, 01:53:44 AM »
First of all, I'm sorry if I'm breaking rules by starting my own thread on this.  Also, I see most messages here seem to be about Getty.  I apologize if this is off topic.  I did post my story in another thread so I'm sorry if I'm making a mess here.  I'm out of my mind with fear over this complaint I received. 

I received a message from BWP Media USA on November 21.  Actually, the complaint was filed on November 14, but through circumstances that I touch on below, I did not actually get the details of the complaint until November 21. 

I run a small blog that has a few contributors who post articles.  One of them posted a photo found on the web somewhere.  I do not have a proper safe harbor agent so it looks like I'm on the hook for it if something happens.

My domain information is protected using Domains By Proxy.  I have received crazy people contacting me because they got my info from domain registry in the past.  It's a long story.  The short of it is that I chose Domains By Proxy to protect myself, not because I'm doing anything illegal, sketchy, or morally wrong.  Anyway,  last week I received a notice from Domains By Proxy that there was a possible copyright complaint.  Through some kind of technical mixup, it took an entire week to get Domains By Proxy to give me the information about the complaint.  That's a long story, but needless to say I am also furious with Domains By Proxy for dropping the ball on something this important.

I took my entire site offline a few hours after receiving the complaint because I was freaked out and didn't know what had happened.  When I finally got the details of the complaint, I emailed the person listed as the contact - R. Taylor from BWP Media USA - stating that I was unaware that there had been any type of violation, that the possibly infringing image (as well as the article the user had written on his own) had been completely removed from the server and the database, that my site does not generate any sort of profit (actually takes a loss because of the hosting costs), and that I was sorry.  I've been so sick over this that I forgot to mention that it is user generated and not created by me.  It might not make a difference since I haven't designated an actual DMCA agent and paid the fee to make it official, but I wish I had mentioned it anyway.  There is definitely a place set up on my site where a DMCA complaint could have been filed without all this hassle.  I think they intend to directly get your personal information and skip the whole DMCA process.

From what I've read here, it now sounds like I shouldn't have sent that email.  It seemed off to me that legal matters would be handled via email but I have never been involved in DMCA or anything so I thought maybe that could be normal.  The other problem is that Domains By Proxy basically says in that situation that you have to give the party complaining your contact details or they will without your consent.  I did so and I'm guessing I may receive a letter in the mail now.

I've been reading all over the web to try and find out what kind of situation I'm in here and I'm at a total loss.  Some people say that they remove the file and never hear about it again.  Some people are calling BWP Media USA the next copyright troll.  I looked through the last 111 filings involving BWP Media USA on a legal website.  It seems that all of them have to do with entities much larger than myself.  Most of them are against LLCs, etc.  None of them seemed to be against individuals.  Perhaps I'm just the dummy who didn't know you should create an LLC to run a website.  I've never run a site for profit so the thought never crossed my mind.

I've seen that people can be sued for well over $150,000 in matters like this.  I even read a case where someone had settled for $8,000.  Since I'm not an LLC, I would be screwed because I wouldn't be able to just close down the business and move on.  Getting sued for that much money would sink me.  Even settling for an amount like that at this time would pretty nearly sink me.  I would have to sell everything I own and I would probably still have to file for bankruptcy.

I just spoke with another guy on another forum who was in a very similar situation back in July with BWP.  The only difference is that he had an LLC.  He said he basically told them to pound sand after his initial email response (very similar to mine) and voicemail he left when he called and they never bothered him again.

Does anybody have any advice.  I've been reading forums and things all over the Internet for days now and my head is just in knots.  Sometimes I think I'm going to be okay and other times I see things that make me think I'm going to be out on the streets in a cardboard box.

Also, is there a way to search or find out if an image is registered for copyright before this goes further?  I would like to try to find out so that I can know as much as possible before I speak with a lawyer, if I have to speak with one.

Does anybody have any tips or advice? 

Any word on outcome from past cases around July?

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