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View Full Version : Copyrights



Richie
02-04-2003, 02:35 PM
A guy has emailed me saying that he has sent me an invoice for using text (that he wrote) that I copied from a magazine for my web site. My web site is not comercial so I haven't profitted from his work, which is only about 2 paragraphs.

He wants a lot of money but as the UK law stands am I obligated to pay him for un-intentionally infringing his copyrights ?

brothercake
02-04-2003, 03:04 PM
If you copied it from a magazine then it was hardly unintentional :rolleyes:

It doesn't matter that you don't profit from it; I sympathise with you but the guy has a point. It may seem OTT for him to respond so aggressively, but then you don't know how often he has trouble with this kind of thing. This might be like the final-straw for him.

So yes; you are legally in the wrong, but it doesn't have to come to that. I suggest:

1 - you take it off your website immediately
2 - you apologise profusely .. you didn't mean anything ... yada yada .. be as humble as you can muster
3 - hope he lets you off

If he doesn't - your next logical step is to ask him to prove that he owns the copyright ... it might be more hassle for him than it's worth ;)

If he does do that ... well, question how much he's asking for. If he's asking for an amount that's a reasonable rate for writing that much copy in the first place (like maybe £200), then just pay it. If it's a lot more than that (like he's asking damages) then fight him in court - punitive damage claims for copyright infringement are *very* difficult to win.

Whatever else happens ... don't do it again!

BrainJar
02-04-2003, 03:13 PM
There is a provision for fair use, such as quoting a passage in a book, but that's pretty subjective.

Even if you don't profit from posting a copyrighted work, the owner could argue that you lessened the potential value of it for himself. In other words, why would some one pay him for it if you're offering it for free?

Two paragraphs doesn't sound like much, but even so, he may still have a point. Since you did take it from a magazine it's pretty clear it's some one else's work so you may want to avoid the trouble and just remove it.

Richie
02-04-2003, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by brothercake
If he does do that ... well, question how much he's asking for. If he's asking for an amount that's a reasonable rate for writing that much copy in the first place (like maybe £200), then just pay it. If it's a lot more than that (like he's asking damages) then fight him in court - punitive damage claims for copyright infringement are *very* difficult to win.

He's asking £420 :rolleyes: I don't want to go to court because I'm only 15 (and 3 quarters ;))


Originally posted by BrainJar
In other words, why would some one pay him for it if you're offering it for free?

It is more of a booklet than a magazine. It's not available internationally. The guy works for a media company that makes and publishes booklets and things for other companies who want to advertise thier product.


may want to avoid the trouble and just remove it.

I have already removed it. I heard somewhere that by law the copyright owner has to write to the person and ask them to remove it, before they endevour to claim damages etc and if it is then removed they can't claim :confused:. The problem is he's already written to me twice since September last year, but I never recieved the letters because the address on my domain whois is false :rolleyes:

beetle
02-04-2003, 03:33 PM
I would think that for most published writings like this, the copyright is held by the publisher, not the author. Of course, I live in the US and am not familiar with such laws outside this country.

Better start studying some copyright law. A book at a library shouldn't be too hard to find. I still have my Copyright and Trademark Law Handbook from college :)

tommysphone
02-04-2003, 03:45 PM
Hi Richie. Welcome. if your in the UK this is relevant.

I agree with the idea of removing the text, Perhaps even place an appology to the write on the page where the text was. Say something humble. other than that the action the chap takes is upto him although I'd question the fact of your age and legal responsibility but thats another story.

As for copyright, I'd start by saying, copyright arises {edited due to copyright laws}
I would then go on to add that the following does not infringe on a copyright, 'Fair dealing’ is a term used {edited due to copryight laws}

:) sorry, had to be done.

So in closing i'd say tell your parents, don't do it again and read this page (url below and details what I was going to write above) then write to the guy and appologise. Good luck. http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/law(01).htm

also have this just incase
Copyright Licensing Agency
90 Tottenham Court Road
London
W1P 0LP
Tel. (0207) 436 5931
www.cla.co.uk

brothercake
02-04-2003, 03:52 PM
NUJ rates are about £2,000 per page for low-circulation press. So on the face of it, £420 for two paragraphs is about right.

But if you're only 15 then you're not legally responsible; your parents are. I'd concur with tommysphone - tell your parents about it, and ask for their advice. If they're not sure what to do then the Citizens Advice Bureau would be able to help.

But I'd reckon a letter from your parents to this guy (or his publisher) along the lines of "he's a kid and he didn't mean it" would do the trick.

tommysphone
02-04-2003, 03:55 PM
Seriously, don't worry, tell you parents. They always know what to do.

beetle
02-04-2003, 04:30 PM
You guys measure your weight in stones? That's a bit archaic, isn't it? Or is that a rugby-thing? :p

tommysphone
02-04-2003, 06:06 PM
Plus, in pounds I sound bigger and Kilo's, well, I sound weedy! Odd that.

ionsurge
02-04-2003, 06:32 PM
If he is 15, he is not legally responsible is he?

redhead
02-04-2003, 06:39 PM
(posted by ionsurge) If he is 15, he is not legally responsible is he? nope... in the words of brothercake

(posted by brothercake) But if you're only 15 then you're not legally responsible; your parents are

brothercake
02-04-2003, 08:19 PM
Originally posted by beetle
You guys measure your weight in stones? That's a bit archaic, isn't it? Or is that a rugby-thing? :p


Well - you sell fruit and veg in pounds don't you? In the UK, it's now (get this) *illegal* to sell produce in pounds!

beetle
02-04-2003, 08:35 PM
Why? Just because it's an illigetimate weight over there? Or because it's the same word as your monetary unit?

scroots
02-04-2003, 10:07 PM
He may have sent you an invoice but there is no prove that you <name> actually recieved it. He could send all the invoices he liked but if you didn`t recieve it that can be ni your defense, as you have no knowledge of these so called invoices and the onus would become on him to prove you recieved it.

scroots

brothercake
02-04-2003, 11:38 PM
Originally posted by beetle
Why? Just because it's an illigetimate weight over there? Or because it's the same word as your monetary unit?

No - it's the European Union, which insists that weights and measures are standardised. Don't get me wrong ... I'm in favour of economic unity in general ... but the bureaucracy just goes too far.

There are insane EU regulations about almost everything ... just don't get me started :rolleyes:

Borgtex
02-05-2003, 02:11 AM
offtopic:

Metrical system is the better & the logic one. Resistance is futile

http://www.diamondtalk.com/forums/images/smilies/83/borg.gif

beetle
02-05-2003, 03:50 AM
Dude, the Borg smilie is sweet !!:thumbsup:

I concur, metric system is mo' betta. Too bad it would be a logistical nightmare to get the US using it, although I've heard rumors about it happening this decade.

Who knows.

BrainJar
02-05-2003, 05:21 AM
Now that I think of it, this guy might be pulling a scam. I'm sure there is a defined legal process for claiming copyright infringement and damages, in the UK or anywhere else. But it doesn't sound like this guy is making a legal claim, just sending a bill and hoping to scare you into paying it.

In any case, he'd first have to prove he owns the copyright. And that you violated it, and that it caused him damages.

Definitely show it to your parents. Then you might tell him that you're going to check with the publisher to determine if he does in fact still own the copyright and to verify his identity. My guess is, you won't hear from him again.

Scylas
02-05-2003, 08:06 AM
or... go to sports autority or whatever is there and buy a baseball bat. Beat the crap out of him, but make sure he does nto stand up afterwards.... Im saure you wont hear from him again... atleast not from "him"

brothercake
02-05-2003, 09:46 AM
Originally posted by BrainJar
In any case, he'd first have to prove he owns the copyright. And that you violated it, and that it caused him damages.


Absolutely - the onus is very firmly on him. With proof of copyright ownership, and violation, he could claim what amounts to payment in perpetuity - what he would have charged to do that work directly.

But even then, he probably still wouldn't be able to claim damages - he would have to demonstrate having suffered in some tangible way as a result of infringement ... loss of work or reputation, for example ... which is highly unlikely.



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