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Designer Accused of Copying His Own Work By Stock Art Website 380

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-so-many-ambulances-can-be-chased dept.
the_harlequin writes "A successful designer, who has a showcase of his own work available online, has had a stock image site accuse him of copyright infringement over his own illustrations, citing damages of $18,000. The story doesn't end there; the stock photo site hired lawyers, who have contacted the original designer's clients. The lawyers told them the designer is being investigated for copyright infringement and their logos might be copied, thus damaging his reputation. 'My theory is that someone copied my artwork, separated them from any typography and then posted them for sale on the stock site. Someone working for the site either saw my [LogoPond] showcase or was alerted to the similarities. They then prepared the bill and sent it to me. The good thing is that the bill gives me a record of every single image they took from me. That helps me gather dates, sketches, emails, etc. to help me prove my case. The bad thing is that despite my explanations and proof, they will not let this go.'"
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Designer Accused of Copying His Own Work By Stock Art Website

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  • hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

    by downix (84795) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:06AM (#27464843) Homepage
    They play hardball, hit them with a DMCA letter, pull all of the work down or else, and of course file for the maximum penalty per-hit on the stock images.  They don't want to play nice, then don't play nice.  "
    • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:08AM (#27464859)

      I agree, let's use the DMCA for it's intended pupose for once.

      • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:47AM (#27465071)

        By "intended purpose" you mean, of course, the exact same purpose it's always used for, but as done by a party you sympathize with for some unknown reason.

        • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:02AM (#27465153) Homepage

          If a criminal accused his victim of a crime, you sympathize with the victim more than you would normally with either a victim of false accusation or a victim of the crime. The audacity of it adds up.

          (Also, these people are profiting off the copied art, claiming it as their own, and slandering the creator - it's not like some personal homepage being slapped for using clip art, or a movie excerpt being taken off Youtube. Plagiarism is a lot, lot worse than copyright violation.)

          Nuke the suckers with the powers of law.

          • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:32AM (#27465329)
            While that is true, we have no proof or anything that this guy is telling the truth. Either the stock photo site OR this guy may be in the wrong. It's not like either one of them is going to admit it.
            • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @12:43PM (#27466197)
              agreed. I always have a similar opinion when reading every article I read. I disregard anything that could be false or manipulated, leaving me knowing as much as I did before I started reading the article.
              • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @02:48PM (#27467243)

                agreed. I always have a similar opinion when reading every article I read. I disregard anything that could be false or manipulated, leaving me knowing as much as I did before I started reading the article.

                What you finish the article knowing is one side's story, which is fine as long as you keep in mind that it's only one side's story. If it interests you, keep up with the story and keep investigating it.

                While it is very well-written (which makes me inclined to believe him), Engle's post doesn't offer any evidence. It's a cry to rally defenders and donations, and that would make sense for him to do in either case. That's what the grandparent post was pointing out. From a look at the comments, scores of Diggers have already made up their minds and are charging off on their steeds as we speak.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by dada21 (163177)

                  I'm an anti-copyright advocate. I hate the idea of intellectual property laws.

                  That being said, I find it amusing that Mr. Engle is getting raked over the coals. Honestly, this artist thinks that government laws are there to protect him. It's possible that he was a supporter of copyright laws. If so, I'm glad this is happening.

                  I feel pity for him, but not a lot. When you think laws are written to help the small and weak, you become part of the problem. Copyright was written to protect the large and pow

                  • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by LoadWB (592248) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @06:35PM (#27469091) Journal

                    As an advocate, you have presented very little to bolster your claim. As well, your gloat in the face of this man's plight, alleged or otherwise, is appalling.

                    I applaud you for choosing and sticking to a particular cause. But please get off your high-horse.

                    Copyright laws may be used to benefit both large and small, and I have seen instances of the later, while we all have seen instances of the former. Eliminating copyright and endorsing nothing but public domain is not the solution. Frequently people advocate complete elimination of a broken system instead of actually fixing it. I cannot abide such a position as it is too much like just walking away from a problem rather than actually analyzing and correcting the underlying issue.

                    Yes, we are seeing copyright and patent laws abused the world over. But put everything in the public domain? Too communistic for me, thank you. (Though probably not the best way to describe the situation, since the interpretation of Communism which we know involves the State taking possession of its peoples' creations and efforts for the benefit of all and the Greater Good, or however it sees fit. I simply lack a better way to describe it.)

                    I enjoy owning things, and that includes anything that I create. Sure, I may choose to make something available for others to use, but other items of my creation I want to stay under my control, so it represents what I want it to represent and not be usurped by ulterior, unintended, or inappropriate presentations.

                    Bill Waterston has mentioned plenty of times how the image of Calvin was essentially stolen from him and used for unauthorized depictions of him pissing on anything from a race car number to the Windows logo. Such depiction goes entirely against Mr. Waterston's intentions and desired representations of "Calvin and Hobbes."

                    And how would the creators of "Veggie Tales," a cartoon expressing religious morality, feel about a Larry the Cucumber vibrator?

                    It seems to me that too many people are very liberal with the use of other peoples' creations. And yet many of those same people become very defensive once the tables are turned.

                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      by alexo (9335)

                      Copyright laws may be used to benefit both large and small, and I have seen instances of the later, while we all have seen instances of the former. Eliminating copyright and endorsing nothing but public domain is not the solution. Frequently people advocate complete elimination of a broken system instead of actually fixing it. I cannot abide such a position as it is too much like just walking away from a problem rather than actually analyzing and correcting the underlying issue.

                      Yes, we are seeing copyright

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by quanticle (843097)

                    Just another example of why I prefer a non-State world. We don't need laws to protect ourselves.

                    Really? I'd rather have laws that protected my basic rights. I'd really rather not live by the "law of the jungle", and be subject to the wishes of whoever can muster the most armed force in my particular area.

                    I recognize that your preferences may differ. In that case, you are free to move to some of the more lawless portions of this world. Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo come to mind. I'm sure the residents of those locales feel that they're living in paradise just beca

        • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Informative)

          by Qzukk (229616) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:53AM (#27465449) Journal

          By "intended purpose" you mean, of course, the exact same purpose it's always used for

          Except for when it's used to remove material that isn't infringing the complainant's copyrights, either submitted by some sort of drooling subhuman (against a file manager [slashdot.org]) or a pissed off lawyer (numerous takedown notices for parodies) or at random (like this tutorial video [slashdot.org]) or by someone who just has no clue how this copyright thingy is supposed to work (Protip: unless you design furniture from cardboard boxes, pictures of furniture from cardboard boxes do not infringe your copyright [slashdot.org]).

          It's a slashdot bias, actually. We only hear about the fuckups here. Letters used for their intended purpose come and go all the time without notice.

        • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Informative)

          by Len (89493) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:21AM (#27465629)

          No, "intended purpose" means protecting someone's legal copyright.

          As opposed to:
          - sending takedown notices for content that clearly doesn't infringe copyright
          - warping copyright law to stop sales of compatible hardware (e.g. printer ink cartridges)
          - preventing security researchers from publicizing software flaws that are putting users at risk

        • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Informative)

          by MrLint (519792) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:22AM (#27465637) Journal

          I feel that both your comment and its moderation are woefully ignorant of the point of the parent's comment. I refer you to the previous slashdot story. [slashdot.org]

          Google notes that more than half (57%) of the takedown notices it has received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, were sent by business targeting competitors and over one third (37%) of notices were not valid copyright claims."

          So, no its not the "exact same" purpose its "always" used for. In this case it appears it would be used for be used for its proposed intention. As for the "unknown reason" for sympathy, it appears that its not the the use that more than half would be being used.. to diminish competition.

    • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Interesting)

      by v1 (525388) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:13AM (#27464881) Homepage Journal

      I say he should have waited for them to level all the charges they could against him, before turning the arrow the other way. Or maybe he did. Either way, it'll be really hard for them to back down on the bill after they themselves calculated it. (realizing the biller and the infringer are not the same entity, but they're acting together it appears)

      • Re:hit them back (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @03:49PM (#27467697)

        If justice is served, this artist will never have to work again.

        If they can justify $18k for the graphics he was using, then surely they're selling his work to a greater frequency. Not only are they stealing from him directly, but they're accusing him of stealing, as well as slandering him to all of his customers. That is a BIG no-no.

        However, I'm not holding my breath that he'll get justice. I've lost a lot of faith in the system as it is increasingly favoring the big guy over the little guy: companies over individuals, corporations over companies, states over citizenry, and the federal government over everything else. IE, it's doing the exact same thing it was originally intended to prevent.

    • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gtoomey (528943) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:16AM (#27464895)
      This would be the most obvious starting shot. But it sounds like this could be awfully expensive in lawyer fees.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "... awfully expensive in lawyer fees." Apparently there are almost no lawyers in the U.S. who are true partners of their clients. Their clients are just a way to make as much money as possible. Getting involved with a lawyer is often just making something else bad happen to you. Most lawyers have no caring whatsoever if they handle the case poorly; there just is no quality control. Lawyers commonly lie about how much work they did.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Doesn't everyone?

      • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hrvatska (790627) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:12AM (#27465205)

        This would be the most obvious starting shot. But it sounds like this could be awfully expensive in lawyer fees.

        The only ones smiling at the end of all this will be the lawyers.

      • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Interesting)

        by julesh (229690) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @02:46PM (#27467237)

        it sounds like this could be awfully expensive in lawyer fees.

        I have it on good authority [scrivenerserror.com] that in copyright cases in the US one can usually claim back your fees from the infringer and/or false accuser of infringement. If the contributor is correct in his assertion that he has copyright and can prove it then it will probably be the stock photo company that pays those fees.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      And since they have acquired the art from somewhere/one, you can have have them produce the proof that they own it. Once that's done, its damages time.
    • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Informative)

      by ta bu shi da yu (687699) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:12AM (#27465207) Homepage

      Looks like stockart are good at doing this sort of thing. See this blog post [whatdoiknow.org] for more info.

      • Re:hit them back (Score:4, Insightful)

        by emandres (857332) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:00AM (#27465501)
        Sounds to me like they're a struggling company with a less than marketable product. Add into that the ease of copying a product from them, and you're left with a company that's hardly pertinent in a a ruthless economy. So their solution? Turn into the bottom feeders of the economy, suing anything they lay eyes on. I personally hope this guy sues this company for everything they're worth, and maybe he'll rid the world of another copyright infringement shark.
        • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Insightful)

          by digitig (1056110) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @01:13PM (#27466475)

          So their solution? Turn into the bottom feeders of the economy, suing anything they lay eyes on. I personally hope this guy sues this company for everything they're worth, and maybe he'll rid the world of another copyright infringement shark.

          Trouble is, if their business model has collapsed to that extent, "everything they're worth" isn't likely to cover his legal costs. After all, pretty much their only significant asset would probably be the IP in their artwork, and if it's not really their IP it isn't worth much.

    • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TigerNut (718742) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:58AM (#27465479) Homepage Journal
      He needs to talk to the Blue Jeans cable guy who previously was a lawyer: the Monster Cable incident [bluejeanscable.com]
      • Re:hit them back (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:42AM (#27465723) Homepage
        This is completely, sort of generally, off topic, but the Blue Jeans Cable site is pretty funny. The letters you cite are interesting and informative, but some of his comments about cables are priceless...

        HDMI is a digital signal format, developed primarily as a platform for the implementation of HDCP (High Definition Content Protection) to prevent consumers from having complete access to the contents of high-definition digital recordings. As one might expect from a standard that was developed to serve the content provider industries, rather than the best interests of the consumer, HDMI is something of a mess.

        Besides, they sell OK cables and have good support. What's not to like?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Thing 1 (178996)

        One of my favorite lines from this letter that I've read a few times in the past year (regarding them suing him):

        Not only am I unintimidated by litigation; I sometimes rather miss it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by moxley (895517)

        Thanks for posting this again; I think the spirit contained within that letter is something that may be helpful and inspiring for the person facing this current predicament.

        I love reading that Bluejeanscable letter..I've read it before, but reading it again once more just fills me with glee....To see a corporation engaging in abuse of the legal system against the small guy, and to see the fuck up and have chosen THE WRONG GUY to fuck with, and to enjoy the letter point by point as he shuts down their weak,

  • jjhkajhklsdfjkl (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tei (520358) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:07AM (#27464847) Journal

    this laws are supposed to help this dude, or people like this dude, if this dude fail to protect itself, then our system has failed, and we don't need any protection. If the force of the strong is the one that prevail, theres no need for laws.

  • Countersuit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kjella (173770) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:11AM (#27464871) Homepage

    Sue them back for damages and that all their customers cease immidiately from using his work. That should get you a very concerned lawyer on the other side of the table who's probably ready to settle.

    • Re:Countersuit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aitikin (909209) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:15AM (#27464891)
      If you have the finances to go for a lawyer (which you'll need in order to send such a threat in this society) you better take them for all its worth. If they contacted his clients with paper or left them voicemails (and they still have it) then he better be suing for libel and if it was merely phone calls, slander. Either way this is the type of case that you'll win unless you either are up against someone with a big legal department or be trying to lose
      • Re:Countersuit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:52AM (#27465437)

        Problem: The clients don't want anything to do with the guy and are unlikely to be cooperative when proving libel. It'll be his word against the defence, unless he has a few friends among his clients.

        I found this out first hand when I took a former employer to court and tried to get a other former employees to back me up. Everyone disappeared under a rock, as no one wanted to get involved with courts, lawyers or risk getting dragged into someone else's fight. It's less trouble for them to just hold their tongues. The only people who would back me up were personal friends. (Fortunately I won the case without these people's help: the employer destroyed his credibility with the judge by falsifying records.)

        The law may be on this guy's side, but I don't envy him one bit. He's in for a lonely fight.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ScrewMaster (602015) *

          I found this out first hand when I took a former employer to court and tried to get a other former employees to back me up.

          Less of a problem than you think. I was one of those ex-employees in a case against one of my former employers, and while I was perfectly happy to testify (said employer was a crook) my willing cooperation was not necessary. The attorney told me that while he definitely appreciated my attitude, he was going to send me a subpoena anyway. So, it doesn't really matter if your friends (ha, ex-friends now I imagine) wanted to testify or not: if they get a subpoena they show up in court, or face the consequences.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by BitZtream (692029)

          Any sane court and lawyer would simple compel the companies to produce evidence in order to ensure justice is done.

          This sort of thing happens all the time, the courts are rather adept at dealing with it. They've been doing it for a few years you know?

          Your coworkers had something to lose by helping you, their jobs could have suddenly started to suck or cease to exist. The worst this guy is going to get is that the customers that already don't want anything to do with him are going to continue to not want a

      • Re:Countersuit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @12:19PM (#27465997)

        If you have the finances to go for a lawyer (which you'll need in order to send such a threat in this society) you better take them for all its worth. If they contacted his clients with paper or left them voicemails (and they still have it) then he better be suing for libel and if it was merely phone calls, slander. Either way this is the type of case that you'll win unless you either are up against someone with a big legal department or be trying to lose.

        Precedent says otherwise. In a very similar case, data files from the open-source JMRI project were stolen by a crook named Matt Katzer who runs a competing company KAM Enterprises or KAMIND. Katzer also listened in to a hobbyist mailing list and patented things that the developers of various similar projects mentioned there. Katzer hired a lawyer to contact the lead JMRI developer's workplace and accuse him of being a patent and copyright thief. The JMRI developer sued for libel and was fined $30,000 in "attorney's fees" under anti-SLAPP laws.

        More information about the JMRI case is at the JMRI page [sourceforge.net]. The case has been covered on Slashdot before [slashdot.org]. Katzer is currently threatening JMRI with $6,000,000 in fines for copyright infringement plus three years of legal fees.

    • by gtoomey (528943)
      Lawyers dont get concerned, they get paid either way. And lawyer letters are a dime a dozen. The only way you will get settlement is after it reaches court, by which time much has been spent by both parties in legal fees.
  • by EXMSFT (935404) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:16AM (#27464899)
    and begin selling stock images through the site he pwns as a result of the countersuit. A good lawyer should be able to get him some serious money (gratis) if he has adequate proof that the works are his.
    • by Rockoon (1252108) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:32AM (#27464993)
      I don't think he should "get a lawyer"

      He should contract a law firm. This is too big to cheap out on, and a diverse set of skills will be needed to maximize the severe punishment that can potentialy be levied against these guys.

      You don't want the countersuit to be a single-shot weapon. You want it to be an agonizing series of laser guided charges that simply wont go away no matter how this company tries to weasel out of the situation they have put themselves in.
  • by mark_hill97 (897586) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `swodahsforetsam'> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:17AM (#27464903)
    This will be your chance to make some money off their commercial use of your art, a good chunk of money at that. All you have to be able to do is prove when you created the works and when they started using them.

    Go get legal advice now, make sure they have actual experience in IP law.

    Good luck with your new found source of revenue!
    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Yup - since they themselves submitted an estimate of the value of the copyright that should give him a strong case. I'd think that a lot of lawyers would take something like this on contingency - we're talking about tens of thousands of dollars.

    • by davolfman (1245316) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:29AM (#27465669)
      Actually damages may be limited if he never registered his copyrights. If so this should be a lesson: always file your image copyrights, it's one small fee for as many images as you can cram on a disk.
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:18AM (#27464909)
  • Coral Cache (Score:3, Informative)

    by erayd (1131355) * on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:19AM (#27464917)
    Coral Cache [nyud.net] mirror of the page.
  • Sue them HARD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:24AM (#27464943) Homepage Journal

    so that the damages you get from them for harrassing you about YOUR own creations make them scream hard.

  • hire a lawyer ASAP (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Judging by your description, I'm guessing that you haven't registered the copyright of your images.

    Big mistake. If you don't register a copyright within four months of publication, you cannot get statutory damages. You can only recover actual damages, and the burden will be on you to prove them.

    1. Hire a lawyer
    2. Register your copyrights (you still have to register before you can file suit)
    3. File suit (not just for copyright infringement, you clearly have a claim for defamation as well)
    4. Send DMCA n

  • by AttillaTheNun (618721) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:28AM (#27464967)
    Timely, as my son is watching a batman cartoon where he battles his alter-ego from another dimension.

    The "bad" batman is on a crime spree, framing the "good" batman.

    Following this plotline, the solution to the OP's problem is quite straightforward:

    He needs to enlist help from the Joker, who is now facing some serious competition in the battle for Gotham.

  • by olddotter (638430) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:35AM (#27464999) Homepage

    I'm surprised this isn't more common. Sadly this will probably cost him in legal fees, and both he and the company are victims of a 3rd scam artist.

    That they won't back down with presented with proof, ways against them. Do they think he is making it up or are they afraid of losing face?

  • by nibbles2004 (761552) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:45AM (#27465061) Homepage
    if i take a photo, put a CC license on it , but someother party take a screenshot of it and passes it off as owned by them, is there any effective way to prove i took the photo. Yes i could upload to say flickr and that would prove i had the photo at a particular date, but it doesnt really prove i took the photo. What in your opionion is the best way to protect your work. I give all my public photo's a CC license anyway but i would'nt want someone else passing them off as theres.
    • by JSBiff (87824) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:08AM (#27465185) Journal

      While you don't have to register copyrights to *have* a copyright, there is a mechanism to register copyrights with the US Copyright Office [copyright.gov] (well, if you're in another country, this option would probably not be available to you, though I'm not sure). When you register the copyright, you upload a copy of the work that you are registering.

      While it is possible for a copyright registration to be overturned by a court, if presented with solid evidence (as in the SCO vs. Novell case where The SCO Group tried to fraudulently register copyrights), my understanding is that the registration puts the proceedings in your favor - if you hold a registration, the court assumes you own it until proven otherwise - you don't have to prove that you own the copyright, the other party has to prove you do NOT own the copyright). The registration also increases the amount of damages you can get in a court action (I think you can get triple damages plus attorney's fees).

      It does cost money to register copyrights though - I think it's $35 for online registration, so if an artist has hundreds of small items they wish to copyright, it could get expensive to register them all individually. It might, however, be possible to collectively register them (that is, to have 100 or 200 photos as part of a single copyright registration), but I'm not sure about that.

      Outside of copyright registration, I think the way courts decide copyright ownership is based upon someone providing the earliest proof of publication (though I'm not sure - I am not a layer, this isn't legal advice, etc, etc). If you can prove that you had published the image on flickr or some other site at an earlier date than the other party can show proof of their publication, that might do it for you.

      I really think, though, that more open source and creative commons software/content producers should register their copyrights. It really does provide you a certain wall of protection against

      Other than, I'm not sure what you can do. Registration of your copyrights is probably the best way to give you a strong case though.

    • For one thing it's illegal to remove a watermark from an image, so if somebody takes one of your pics then crops out your CC that won't be good for them. Also to prove you took the picture you need a copy of it with a date on it. Digital copies carry that information with them. Also I imagine having the high rez unaltered version of the image would help too.
    • by kaszeta (322161) <rich@kaszeta.org> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:23AM (#27465261) Homepage
      95% of what I post to various photo sharing websites, under any license, is cropped. Mostly since it looks better cropped, but a nice secondary effect of this is that I have part of the image that no infringer can have.

      I already have enough problems with images I post publicy

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm not one to normally swear on slashdot, hence posting as AC, but it has to be said that stockart.com are a bunch of fucking cunts.

    I hope they get their collective asses kicked bigtime over this debacle.
  • Destroy them (Score:4, Informative)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:19AM (#27465245) Homepage
    I'd definitely turn around and sue them for selling your material, harassment, lose of business, etc.

    They're trying to destroy him so he has to turn around and crush the scum bags.
  • by tonyray (215820) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:31AM (#27465321)

    Something similar happened to me and I knew the lawyers realized they had no case but they wouldn't let it drop as long as their client was paying. My mother was a judge, so I knew how to aproach this. See the lawyers would never bring this to trial because the judge would repremand them when it was so clear they had no case. But that won't stop them from threatening me. So, first, because I wasn't a lawyer, I sent copious letters to the lawyers and their client repeatedly telling them they in as many ways that they had no case. Each letter sent to the lawyer cost the client money. Each letter sent to the client cost the client money when they turned the letter over to the lawyers as they must. Each reply from the lawyer, and they must reply to each letter, cost the client money. You can't wear lawyers down, but you can wear the client down.

    Do not have a lawyer send the letters. It is considered unethical for a lawyer to send a letter to the another lawyer's cleint and it is really the client you want to get to.

  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert&laurencemartin,org> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:11AM (#27465575)

    what your counsel needs to do
    1 begin a counter suit in a GO FOR BLOOD type mode

    2 file an injunction with the court preventing them from "discussing details of the case(s) with parties not currently involved with the case" (why are they telling your customers that the status of their purchase may be in question??)

    3 file a DCMA notice on the images in question

    4 get lots of discovery, lots and lots of discovery

    what you need to do

    1 stop talking about the case! your last post should be that you did the DCMA notice and got your injunction

    2 contact all of your clients and inform them of the situation and offer to send them proof of copyright (higher res version with predated meta stamps or whatever)

    3 remember your actions should be clean and above the board (but hire a team that speaks MoFo grade law)

     

  • by psychodave (756618) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:59AM (#27465869) Homepage
    I feel for this guy because I know how it is. I recently had copies of my videos stollen from me and posted on various websites and then I get a notice from YouTube that I am in violation of copyright for my own work that has ME IN IT and they are allowing me to use it but all ad reveinue goes to the other user. My videos were posted years before this company posted my clip. I can't afford a copyright lawyer and youtube refuses to accept the proof that I own my video. I sent a DMCA to them on the other video and got a reply that they have proof of ownership. It's insaine how a big company can screw the little guy and there is nothing we can do about it. Unless you want to shell out the money that honestly I don't have to spend with the economy the way it is now. Sorry for the rant.
  • by speedtux (1307149) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @12:45PM (#27466217)

    Without actually looking at the evidence, nobody can tell who's right and who's wrong. It's plausible that someone stole this guy's art and uploaded it, it's plausible that the stock company ripped him off deliberately, and it's also plausible that he uploaded the images himself to sell them multiple times.

    Let the courts work it out: that's what they are there for.

    (As far as copyright is concerned, once you sell the rights to your works, you don't own them anymore.)

  • by jthill (303417) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @01:01PM (#27466355)

    It's time for government-run digital timestamp services that will sign any hashcode-sized number and return it to you via email, and to require that any assertion of copyright over digital material include a timestamped signature for its hash.

    Leave it, as a last resort, to the courts to decide whether an allegedly infringing copy is similar enough, but make the copyright precedence if they are so a simple matter of comparing timestamps.

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

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