Webb Aviation

Accused of Copyright infringement / caught stealing

Top 10 ways to ensure you pay the maximum

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If I were found to have done something wrong I would want the matter to be settled as quickly , fairly and cheaply as possible, but judging by the reaction of people who have stolen my photographs and the photographs of other professional photographers, it appears that the typical copyright infringer wants to make their settlement as expensive as possible. So for these strange people who like to burn money, here is my top 10 ways of making sure your copyright infringement case costs you the absolute maximum :-

1. Insult the artist :- nothing is more guaranteed to ensure you end up enjoying the beautiful architecture of the high court than to insult the person who has caught you stealing - go on, tell him his photographs are only worthless snaps. Photographers are very busy people and by doing this you can guarantee the photographer will make time to fill out those court forms.

2. Deny liability :- this is especially effective where like most internet infringements there is clear and irrefutable evidence of the infringer using the copyright holders work often backed by vast numbers of witnesses.  By denying the undeniable you are sure to catch the judges attention and make sure those damages awards are really maxed out.

3. Blame it on a third party :-  Favourites are a "web designer" or a  "junior employee". Never admit to doing the deed yourself as this might create an air of honesty which could lead to a cheap out of court settlement. For added effect, make this third party as mysterious, vague and untraceable as possible. If a web designer make sure they are overseas or moved away and if its a junior employee say they have left the company. Never ever give names and addresses.  This will cause the photographer to spend lots of time reading your excuses and telling you all about vicarious liability. Thatīs lots of time wasted that you will be paying for !

4. Donīt answer letters :-  Just ignore correspondence from the photographer for as long as possible. This will give as much time as possible for the claimant to prepare his case and let the  expenses build up. Remember you are paying for each of those letters, so let him write as many as possible. If you finally give in and write a replay, refer to the other points above and below.

5. Use the cheapest lawyer you can find:- remember copyright law is a very specialist area and quite different from other areas of tort law so be careful to choose a lawyer who knows absolutely nothing about it. Make certain they have never handled a copyright infringement case before and for added effect give them as little information as possible. Never never show them the actual court papers and evidence as there is a danger this could cause them to recommend you settle cheaply out of court. If you are struggling to find a law firm that knows nothing at all about copyright law then donīt worry , from personal experience I can recommend many including two law firms which helped themselves to my photographs and demonstrated a lower level of copyright knowledge than that possessed by my pet Rabbit.

6. Make a silly offer :- Ok its even better to make no offer at all but if you really must then do ensure your offer is well below what the photographer would normally charge. If possible compare prices with cheap photo providers whoīs work is nothing like the work you have stolen, that way you can combine making a silly offer with no 1, insulting the artist.

7.  Hide :-  this is easy to do and can be done at the time you steal the photograph. Just make sure your website has no names or contact details. Not only will this force claimants to spend time tracing you , time which you will be paying for, but it will also reveal to both claimant and judge just how honest you really are.

8. Never apologise :- apologising  will add nothing to your costs and make the photographer much more likely to settle out of court. If you want to pay the maximum possible donīt do it !
9. Break agreements :-  If in a weak moment, you agree an out of court settlement then make sure you break the agreement. Donīt do anything you said you would do and especially make sure you donīt send any money when you said you would send money. This will guarantee that if you subsequently reach another out of court settlement it will be significantly higher than the first one.

10. Blame the photographer for his own copyright infringement :- You didnīt know you could be this stupid, well think again, yes you can. Tell the photographer he is responsible for you using his work illegally because he put it on the internet in the first place. For maximum effect put this in writing and for turbo charged maximum effect put it in court papers and submit it to the court. This will really capture the judges eye and at least double the amount you will end up paying.

Have fun and remember litigation is like a game of chess, the only difference is "Check" is spelt " Cheque" 




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