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1
Higbee Associates Letter & Lawsuits Forum / Re: Higbee attacking Counseling Agency
« Last post by daniobb on February 19, 2019, 05:57:48 PM »
Here is an e-mail response from Public Citizen Foundation litigation attorney who reviewed the letter Higbee sent me...

"Although it does seem to me that Higbee is vulnerable to a class action, I don’t know of any such lawsuit being imminent.
 
Given that Higbee cited a PicRights number rather than a copyright registration number, my guess is that it is fair to assume that the copyright is unregistered, and hence that no statutory damages or attorney fees are recoverable.  And given that you took the photo down promptly, it does not seem at all likely that Higbee’s client will see a lawsuit against you as at all cost-effective, even though what your web developer did is infringement; you folks are a business and it is hard to see an effective fair use defense.
 
I’d be glad to chat with Oscar about your case, but it may well be that your best bet is to sit tight and do nothing except perhaps to challenge Higbee to tell you whether the copyright in the photo has been registered.  I am inclined to doubt that you would be the ideal named representative in a class action over misleading demand letters, were such an action to be filed."

So I am still waiting to hear from Oscar Michelen in response to my e-mail request to hire him and utilize his ELI services...  as even though it is "likely" that we cannot be sued for thousands upon thousands of dollars of damages, I do not want that hanging over my head.  I need to be 100% certain there is no further pending action and this matter is resolved. 

I'm also ready to pool my resources with others and counter-sue the guy for harassment. 
2
Higbee Associates Letter & Lawsuits Forum / Re: Higbee attacking Counseling Agency
« Last post by clist on February 19, 2019, 02:56:27 PM »
I will 100% not cave to this extortion and am wondering why no one has counter-sued this Mathew Higbee for harassment, extortion, etc...

Because generally the cost of litigation outweighs paying to "make it all go away". This is why these extortion rackets carry on. IMO its gonna take a lawyer (or a few lawyers) to receive these letters to get the ball rolling. They are the ones who have the resources as well as the experience to combat these schemes and put them to an end.

My $.02

3
I absolutely believe a class action is one way to potentially bring awareness and put a stop to Higbee.  Also, Matthew Chan, are there any risks to filing a complaint against Higbee with the California Bar Association? 
4
Higbee Associates Letter & Lawsuits Forum / Re: Higbee attacking Counseling Agency
« Last post by daniobb on February 19, 2019, 01:10:39 PM »
February 19 and I have yet to receive a response from ELI Legal Representation Program.  Again confirming I followed the instructions exactly, sent a "hard" e-mail requesting the service and sent it to the correct address. As no phone number to follow-up and no indication of expected response time, I am in limbo until I receive a response or decide to hire a different attorney. I will 100% not cave to this extortion and am wondering why no one has counter-sued this Mathew Higbee for harassment, extortion, etc...
5
It looks like Lereve lawyered up on this.  Smart move.   Does anyone have insight on what happened?   
6
Spunky, but not a lot of litigation.  Only four cases filed for Masterfile.  None since February of 2017. 
7
Getty Images Letter Forum / Re: Creative Commons Photos on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
« Last post by Ethan Seven on February 18, 2019, 07:22:21 PM »
The UK does not have a copyright registration regime like the US does. 

Copytrack is based in Germany.  They are not a law firm and do not have standing to litigate in the UK.   However, their customer might.   If’s possible, you can search court records to see if Marco Verch has ever litigated in the UK.  If not, you can be pretty sure that your small case will not be the first.

8
Getty Images Letter Forum / Re: another copytrack letter
« Last post by CuFil_Z on February 17, 2019, 08:38:41 PM »
I also got a letter from copytrack for the 2 photos of beaches in my country. I removed the photos from our company website and decided not to reply to any of their complaint letters of copytrack. I got a total of 3 letters. They never received any letter from me. And they eventually stopped.

If it is of help to anyone who got a letter from copytrack, here's a letter I got from a lawyer who specializes in International law>>

>>Hi again! I wanted to let you know I finally caught up with one of the partners in the firm where I work, a guy who has lots of experience with intellectual property law, He said basically the same thing I already told you: The burden is on Copytrack to prove that they own a copyright that you have violated, and if they want to pursue it, they'll have to bring the case in your jurisdiction (meaning the country where you're from). It's anyone's guess as to whether they think it's worth pursuing. The amount of money they're asking from you (read: trying to extort) may be a lot to you, but for a large corporation, it's pocket change.

The guy I talked to also had two additional insights: 1) copyright law is quite strict concerning liability, that is, if Copytrack can prove to a court that they own the copyright and you violated it, then you would have to pay whatever the law says for the violation (this is where you would need to consult a local lawyer, who can tell you what the local law says concerning copyright violation and how much that might cost). However, it is very uncommon in Finland, for example, for a court to award attorney's fees and costs to the winning party. So what I take from this is that if Copytrack takes the trouble to sue in a local court AND they manage to prove all of the above, then you would have to pay damages for the violation, but not necessarily their lawyers fees and costs (if they're threatening you with that).

The second insight I got from the guy I know is this: The more time passes, the less likely Copytrack will take any action. If you decide to simply not respond, they may not carry through on their threats, just because it's a lot of trouble to go through in order to collect what for them is a very small amount of money. You would then have to decide how you feel about not having any closure to the matter.

It does seem quite shady that Copytrack refuses to release the name of the actual copyright owner, or to produce the documentation saying the owner has transferred the copyright to them. That's the first thing they need to  be able to prove their case. Also, the lawyer I talked to has never heard of Copytrack, so I can't tell you what kind of reputation they have. You can decide what to make of that.

In any case, I think the best you can do is consult a local lawyer who can tell you what the penalty for this particular violation is under your country law (and whether it's less than Copytrack is demanding), and then decide which course of action to take.<<

This letter brought light to my situation with Copytrack. I'm guessing, Copytrack can tell if you're a person who would easily take their bait. They must have earned a lot of money from people who responded to their threat. But think about it, why would they spend thousands of dollars to pursue someone and just get a few hundred dollars in return? They will have to spend lawyer's fees. Besides, if Copyright has no office in a concerned country, they will have to send their own people, spend for his airfare, hotel accommodations, and in-country expenses just to pursue "pocket change". Doesn't make sense, does it?
9
This is the EXACT situation I find myself in (I also own a psychotherapy practice in Southern California and they are claiming image misuse in a blog post)  - interested in your follow-up!
10
I almost died right here. LMAO!!!

"CEO and now also PRESIDENT of internet"
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