Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: Copyright in small claims court.  (Read 7037 times)

pixjohn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 715
Copyright in small claims court.
« on: November 13, 2015, 07:32:40 pm »

I was curious if anyone took a copyright infringement case to small claims court for usage fee's only. I just settled several cases over the past year, but have one company who caught off all communication. I filed in small claims court and just want to see if anyone has won judgment. I filed for my normal usage fee that I can prove I have billed in the past and also settled out of court. I have dozens of infringement from legitimate companies I am contacting to settle but small claims might be my only recourse.
Logged

TomFrerichs

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 108
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 08:23:34 pm »

You cannot file a copyright claim in anything other that Federal court. It's a right granted in the Constitution.
Logged

Jeremy Roussak

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8733
    • site
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2015, 04:05:56 am »

I was curious if anyone took a copyright infringement case to small claims court for usage fee's only. I just settled several cases over the past year, but have one company who caught off all communication. I filed in small claims court and just want to see if anyone has won judgment. I filed for my normal usage fee that I can prove I have billed in the past and also settled out of court. I have dozens of infringement from legitimate companies I am contacting to settle but small claims might be my only recourse.

Which country?

Jeremy
Logged

pixjohn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 715
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2015, 01:16:29 pm »

I am interested in usage fee's for a stolen image only over the © aspect. I am not filing for punitive damages.
Logged

Wayne Fox

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4237
    • waynefox.com
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2015, 05:28:31 pm »

I am interested in usage fee's for a stolen image only over the © aspect. I am not filing for punitive damages.
If you are only trying to collect a usage fee, and you can clearly document it you may be able to use small claims court.  You cannot actually sue for infringement which can only be federal court (although I think there is an effort right now to create a "small claims" court specifically for copyright/patent infringements.  Here is a quote from one organization

https://asmp.org/tutorials/enforcing-your-rights.html#.VkpXjbypVTc

"Small claims court. If your photographs are being used without permission by somebody local ó a gallery, a newspaper or magazine ó it is sometimes possible to get some satisfaction by going to small claims court. You cannot sue for copyright infringement; that may be filed only in federal court. But you may have a claim for breach of contract.
 
The beauty of small claims court is that you can present the case yourself; you donít need a lawyer with you in the courtroom. However, you certainly can (and probably should) consult a lawyer beforehand, just to be sure your ducks are in a row.
 
Alas, even if you win, there is no guarantee it will be easy, or even possible, to convert the judgment to cash in your pocket. You will probably have to take the trouble and expense to get the sheriff to execute on the judgment
."
Logged

pixjohn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 715
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2015, 05:39:23 pm »

Maybe my subject  title was misleading, I filed just for the comercial usage rate I would charge any client. I have proof of these rates both in invoices to clients and part of several infringement cases handled with an attorney, for the usage rate only, excluding punitive damages. I have an attorney who has won with larger infringements, and deep pocket infringements. I just want to test the water with smaller cases in small claims court. I have at least 20 other local cases ready to go in small claims but want to see how the first case ends.

I read something from the APA about a hearing regarding adding small claims court to the © code. I really think that would stop a lot of theft without needing an attorney.

I have 100's of images stolen that I have tracked down. Some I get paid, some I just get removed, and some are so funny that I just have to laugh it off and contact the hosting company.
Logged

David Eichler

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 747
    • San Francisco Architectural and Interior Photographer
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 01:51:18 am »

Maybe my subject  title was misleading, I filed just for the comercial usage rate I would charge any client. I have proof of these rates both in invoices to clients and part of several infringement cases handled with an attorney, for the usage rate only, excluding punitive damages. I have an attorney who has won with larger infringements, and deep pocket infringements. I just want to test the water with smaller cases in small claims court. I have at least 20 other local cases ready to go in small claims but want to see how the first case ends.

I read something from the APA about a hearing regarding adding small claims court to the © code. I really think that would stop a lot of theft without needing an attorney.

I have 100's of images stolen that I have tracked down. Some I get paid, some I just get removed, and some are so funny that I just have to laugh it off and contact the hosting company.

I suppose you can always try. However, as others have said above, it is currently the case in the US that copyright infringement cases are only supposed to be settled in Federal court. If the infringer is a client of yours, for whom you produced the photos on commission, then you might be able to take that matter to small claims court, as a breach of contract. To do that, I would assume that you would need to be able to document that you had provided the client with clear terms regarding the usage of the photos.
Logged

pixjohn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 715
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, 01:09:20 pm »

Its not a client , just a real estate company  who stole an image and posted on the front page of their web sites.  Worse case I lose, I will refile in federal court.
Logged

pcgpcg

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 483
    • paulglasser
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2015, 12:09:29 pm »

I have no experience with this so educate me please. If you are in the U.S. and have registered your copyrights, AND you are confident the case is good, why not just turn everything over to a lawyer. It's my understanding that part of the penalty for infringement on a registered copyright is lawyer's fees. So why waste time in small claims court if a lawyer thinks he can win and will take it on?
Logged

Colorado David

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1178
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2015, 02:33:00 pm »

I just finished listening to an ASMP webinar on the upcoming revisions to copyright law that are in the works but nowhere near any form of a bill to be voted on.  There is a high degree of likelihood that a small claims option will be included in the new law.  This is strictly in the U.S. of course.  Anyone interested in copyright, defending copyright protection for creators, and to have some impact on the coming legislation would be well served to investigate ASMP.org and think about becoming a member.  There is strength in numbers.

pixjohn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 715
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2015, 11:51:48 am »

I have no experience with this so educate me please. If you are in the U.S. and have registered your copyrights, AND you are confident the case is good, why not just turn everything over to a lawyer. It's my understanding that part of the penalty for infringement on a registered copyright is lawyer's fees. So why waste time in small claims court if a lawyer thinks he can win and will take it on?

This particular older image never got © and my attorney who handles larger cases said its not worth the money for her. 
Logged

Colorado David

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1178
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2015, 12:38:29 pm »

One of the topics under discussion is the incorporation of a copyright registration tool as a normal part of the post processing workflow.  I can't say for sure, but it sounded like there might be an option to click from your post processing platform to automatically register your copyright.  This simple little step would be huge in defending creator's rights.  I think a lot of people are caught up in the immediacy of their work and don't get the next step, registering the copyright.  There are huge advantages to having registered your copyright.  Join an advocacy group and let your voice be heard.

Slobodan Blagojevic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16967
  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks
    • My website
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2015, 01:38:37 pm »

One of the topics under discussion is the incorporation of a copyright registration tool as a normal part of the post processing workflow.  I can't say for sure, but it sounded like there might be an option to click from your post processing platform to automatically register your copyright...

https://www.imagerights.com/plugins

Quote
The ImageRights Plugin for Adobe Lightroom contains an export module, that allows you to easily upload images into your account for ImageRights Discovery and to submit your images for ImageRights' U. S. Copyright Office registration service.

PeterAit

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3643
    • Peter Aitken Photographs
Logged
Peter

"You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts" -- D.P. Moynihan

earlybird

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 329
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2015, 09:28:16 am »

Logged

Deardorff

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 191
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2015, 08:44:10 pm »

What does your normal paperwork say about use without payment, without credit lines and such?
If it says use without a credit line is 3x, 5x or 10 times the normal fee - you can ask that.
If it says use without written permission is 10x the normally quoted rate - you can ask that.
Copyight is Fedral - as has been pointed out. You are looking at image use without permission - THEFT. Payment and an order to cease and desist would be appropriate. Don't let them get away with what you normally charge - it only encourages thieves.
Logged

pixjohn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 715
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2016, 07:30:12 pm »

Update: I had my day in court and the jugde reprimanded the defendants. They tried to say it was the wrong court since © falls under  federal court jurisdiction. She then told the defendants that is why he was smart enough to just ask for the Usage and profit. She then said she wanted to do a little research and  I just received my verdict today in the mail. I won, I got my usage fee,  plus profit from the website equal to my usage fee. I could have received a multi year x3 but the image was only up 5 months.  I should not have a problem collecting, since it is a professional Realestate office. Once I collect I will  make just over $2000 for a few hours work in court.
Logged

David Eichler

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 747
    • San Francisco Architectural and Interior Photographer
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2016, 12:52:38 am »

Update: I had my day in court and the jugde reprimanded the defendants. They tried to say it was the wrong court since © falls under  federal court jurisdiction. She then told the defendants that is why he was smart enough to just ask for the Usage and profit. She then said she wanted to do a little research and  I just received my verdict today in the mail. I won, I got my usage fee,  plus profit from the website equal to my usage fee. I could have received a multi year x3 but the image was only up 5 months.  I should not have a problem collecting, since it is a professional Realestate office. Once I collect I will  make just over $2000 for a few hours work in court.

Good to know. What state is this? I wonder if the defendants could be successful appealing to a higher court, but probably not worth their time to try.

By the way, when you say it was a real estate company, was it just an agent who works for a brokerage that was the defendant or was it the brokerage company?
Logged

pixjohn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 715
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2016, 03:43:45 pm »

The case was in CA civil court. I filed against the broker and real estate office since the website listed the real estate agency. I only got the judgment against the agent. I have several more cases to file, now that I got a judgment.

Good to know. What state is this? I wonder if the defendants could be successful appealing to a higher court, but probably not worth their time to try.

By the way, when you say it was a real estate company, was it just an agent who works for a brokerage that was the defendant or was it the brokerage company?
Logged

SecondFocus

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 526
    • SecondFocus
Re: Copyright in small claims court.
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2016, 11:28:12 pm »

It would be great to see a copy of your lawsuit as filed. Perhaps if you prefer not to post it, by e-mail to me at SecondFocus@mac.com. I would possibly utilize that myself. Maybe we can get something going new that would work for more of us! Thanks!

The case was in CA civil court. I filed against the broker and real estate office since the website listed the real estate agency. I only got the judgment against the agent. I have several more cases to file, now that I got a judgment.
Logged
Ian L. Sitren
[url=http://SecondFocus.co
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up