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Autoblog Federal Copyright Infringement Suit

Discussion in 'Blogging' started by markerpower, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. markerpower

    markerpower Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I am running an autoblog and it grabbed some images from a gossip site through the rss feed. The owner of some of the images is requesting money through PayPal and threatening to file a Federal Copyright infringement suit. The owner has complained to the original gossip site and are now complaining to me. I have removed the images. Do I have something to worry about?
     
  2. vini

    vini Power Member

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    Are you in the USA? (Supposing the site is American, cause Americans love a good suit filling), If not and your domain registrar has no information to you (e.g. your address, full real name, your country) then you can careless!
     
  3. markerpower

    markerpower Registered Member

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    Yes, I am in the USA. I thought at worst I would receive a cease and desist letter and I could just remove any content relating to the letter.
     
  4. namewithnogaps

    namewithnogaps Junior Member

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    im also interested in this topic
     
  5. Crixus

    Crixus Regular Member

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    You should be fine, but if they continue to hound you, you may want to take some action. That could include changing hosts/registrars/emails, etc.
     
  6. markerpower

    markerpower Registered Member

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    I'm currently thinking of what action to take, so far I deleted all ads on my site. I believe this person is definitely going to hound me. Their first email was to delete all content, which I did. Then they sent a second email with a PayPal invoice. My site email isn't linked to my PayPal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  7. Crixus

    Crixus Regular Member

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    Last time I dealt with something like this, I moved to an offshore registrar, moved to a trusted host and told them in email that the domain/site changed hands. Which technically it had.

    Final step would be to drop the email they've been contacting you with (if possible) so their emails will begin to bounce.

    After a cooldown period go back to business as usual, without their content of course.
     
  8. j0b0123

    j0b0123 Regular Member

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    I would not worry about it much. Actually if you are bold, you should email them back that you have removed all offending material and deleted it. Get them to insist on payment again, including threat. That is a form of extortion, and is illegal and they would not have any grounds for anything. You might even be able to turn the tides on them if they go far enough.

    Besides, for them to win anything, they would have to "prove" damages. Most of the internet is made up of reposted content, otherwise it would be very very difficult to find news and information. Just think if nothing was ever reposted anywhere, there would be a severe lack of content. If they are syndicating their images via RSS (Really Simple Syndication duh!), by nature, that is free syndication they use for thier content and they are just plain stupid to not think that its open to the public. If you were hotlinking to their images and pulling them onto your site, that might be a different issue.

    They are also required to file a DMCA request, not a threat of a lawsuit with a demand for cash. If you immediately removed all material they wanted, I would not think any court in the nation would hear a case like this unless the damages claimed were huge, and provable. Odds are, there are no damages, perhaps you made 20-50 bucks off advertising, thats it (that is probably super generous, as any one story or picture is unlikely responsible for massive traffic).
     
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    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  9. markerpower

    markerpower Registered Member

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    I didn't make any money. I'm new to autoblogging, so it is taking awhile to earn anything.

    The first email they sent a letter stating for me to take it down, their rights, how much I owe, my site(though when you click on my site in the letter it goes to original gossip site that my site got it from), etc. I don't know if that counts as a DMCA. Then they reported my site to my host and then I removed the images.

    I did email the person, and they replied back that they will complain to my city if I don't pay the licensing fees. They will file a copyright infrigement suit and I will have to pay $150,000 per image and $50,000+ in legal fees.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  10. ExobiT

    ExobiT Junior Member

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    Just tell them to go to hell or fu** off. I have received several emails from "lawyers" and everytime i just tell them to piss off, they normally do. If they still try to squeeze me i mailbomb them :) (I delete the content they are wining about, but they will never get any money from me)
     
  11. j0b0123

    j0b0123 Regular Member

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    If the images were syndicated over RSS, then they are just blowing smoke. RSS by nature is telling the world to grab your content and is designed as a method of easy distribution and to get traffic back to your site. They will never be able to get anything, much less get the suit heard in court. Just be courteous with them, explain the blog grabs syndicated content off of RSS feeds (just like millions of other blogs) that your readers find interesting, and you have removed the offending material as they have asked. I would also suggest to them to stop distributing their content over RSS if they do not want it posted elsewhere or think they are entitled to compensation.

    If you are really worried about it, you can always just take the whole site down and just put up domain parking there, then there is nothing left for them to get.
     
  12. mimimar

    mimimar Newbie

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    Wow...That is a real shit!
     
  13. markerpower

    markerpower Registered Member

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    Problem is their content isn't distributed with RSS. The original gossip site copied the images from the image owner's site, and then my site grab the rss from the original gossip site with the stolen images. They obviously know this because the letter they sent me linked to the original gossip site post with the stolen images.

    I apologized and explained to them about the RSS, and they said it doesn't matter, I allowed others to steal their watermarked images because I had them on my site.

    So, it doesn't matter that they know my city?
     
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  14. intensecool

    intensecool BANNED BANNED

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    Just do these things , i get these things regularly :

    1. Make a back up of course of everything you got.
    2. Move to an OFFSHORE hosting, if you want any let me know.
    3. Stop listening to watever he says.
    4. Just make sure your domain is privacy protected , if not DO IT ASAP.

    Rest is good.
     
  15. markerpower

    markerpower Registered Member

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    1. Will do.
    2. Please let me know of some. I will use these from now on for autoblogs.:)
    3. This makes me nervous, since he knows what city I am in. I don't know if he knows my name or address.
    4. I've had it protect since I registered it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  16. Cnotey

    Cnotey Power Member

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    LOL, anyone requesting money via pay-pal for royalties and licensing is full of ****.
     
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  17. speedy5044

    speedy5044 Regular Member

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    He can't do a shit to you , when i was using autoblogging i almost receive those kind of mails everyday.
    But in case he insist you can give him a credit under his RSS feeds and always remember that 90 % of the internet is just a duplicate content.
    BTW send him an email asking him to to file the Federal Copyright infringement suit complaining about google taking some of his RSS feeds and his website description;)
     
  18. jodys

    jodys BANNED BANNED

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    You have a valid defense. Quit talking to them. You were not the original thief and obtained the stolen images secondhand. I know quite a lot about copyright infringement and while what they say is true the smoking gun to every copyright suit is intent. From your words you never intended to steal copyright works and only "accepted" the copyright works from the thief that stole the work and offered it for free to anyone subscribing to his RSS feed.

    In this Country anyone can sue anyone for just about anything. That is the reason you make yourself unavailable and identity hidden so it becomes real work when some jerk-off decides to sue you. Just like anything, if real work is involved they'll probably give you a pass and chase the guy that wasn't smart enough to protect himself. That is probably the case here. The real thief isn't touchable so they're chasing you. Change the email account so all their BS bounces and don't respond anymore.

    Rule #1 when ANYONE talks about suing you; shut up and don't say anything. All they're doing is hoping you say something that furthers their case. If they got enough evidence and balls then they'll sue you regardless of what you say. All you're doing is building on their evidence. Never respond to a threat of suit by email or telephone. Tell them you'll read the court documents and forward them to your Attorney when they arrive and have a nice day. Silence is golden and has stopped more lawsuits than any bantering back and forth. Silence on the front end gives you a ton more defenses when/if they really follow through with a suit.

    That is my advice and yes I've been sued for Copyright infringement and settled out of Court for 6 figures. I know just a bit about it.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  19. redpill

    redpill Junior Member Premium Member

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    I personally got sued for this and it was a picture of something completely generic. We had insurance and ended up settling for $160,000. My advice would be to pull them off asap, write them an email from a random yahoo account made w/ a proxy and tell them you've removed the images. Maybe even tank the site, but it's up to you. The reason we got sued for so much is b/c we were an ecommerce site where they tried to prove we used their image of a bottle of excedrine, for instance and sold a few bottles through our site w/ the pic they took. We had no idea the images were had a copyright or even could be b/c they are images of another companies bottle... Luckily we had insurance, but they prob wouldn't have sued either if they thought they couldn't get anything out of it. We would have just closed up the LLC. Sucks, but in US you can get sued for anything...
     
  20. webguy

    webguy Newbie

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    This kind of stuff just distracts you from making your money.

    Guy says: "blah, blah, my images, blah, blah"
    You say: 'Ok, I deleted them."
    Guy says: "Not good enough, here is invoice for my garbage celeb image."
    You say: "Here is my invoice for time evaluating your invoice."

    Your both now even and can both go back to being productive :)