|Pinterest users and law suits|
Can a copyright owner sue individual users?
Lets say that as a user you post a number of copyrighted photos on your Pinterest page and at the same time it is easy (link to your own site, Facebook page, ...) to track your idendity.
Could the copyright owner sue you, file for damage claims and possibly win?
The content is not on your server but you, as the user, made the infringement possible. What is the (legal) difference between this and illegal music downloads and distribution?
|Could the copyright owner sue you, file for damage claims and possibly win? |
I hope so..
Why not? What stops him/her?
|Why not? What stops him/her? |
Probably the cost of copyright lawyers in the USA ( where most of the copyright and IP abusers, both the crowd sourced sites, and their members live, or in the case of the sites, are incorporated ) ..copyright lawyers do not tend to work on a "no win, no fee" or "pro bono" basis..
The sites are set up on the basis of them being able top "out lawyer" any likely complainant..into giving up before they start..or being prepared to spend vast amounts of money and many months if not years in court whilst the pinterest ( and similar site's lawyers ) stonewall and drag it out..
They definitely would not want to have a definite ruling by a judge or a jury against their scummy model , the jurisprudence would make a hole in the investments of their VC backers..
It's easier just to block people from pinning stuff from your servers in the first place.
Of course then you have to block the content from Google cache, Google images, Bing images, etc. and the internet archives. All doable and way cheaper than filing out DMCA or dealing with lawyers.
Remember, if you want to protect your content, being proactive is always cheaper than reactive.
However, I'd just slap your domain name in all the images and let them pin away as it's free advertising.
As of recently, my work is registered with the US copyright office, so IP lawyers are more than happy to take work pro bono because (1) win is pretty much in the bag if it goes to court and (2) legal fees are paid for by the plaintiff in addition to the statutory damages, which can be very, very large.
With this in mind, I am taking several pinners to the cleaners.
I have done everything in my power to stop the infringement. Nopin tag, htacess shenanigans - they're still pinning away from Google images, or uploading my work to their computer, and then to Pinterest. From this list of about 350 new infringement (since I've instituted these protective measures) spanning about 90 pinners, I have narrowed it down to a dozen people that richly deserve a lawsuit.
So to answer the OP... the answer is yes. You most definitely can be sued, and according to my attorneys, there is virtually no chance that the infringers will win in court. Their only option is to negotiate a settlement.
Thanks to Google maps, though, I know my pinners live in biiiiiiiiiiig houses.
I can only hope that they'll complain really loud and warn the masses that pinning can be very costly entertainment, and that it'll put a damper on the whole concept.
If 300-400 content providers were to similarly sue pinners, I think there is a chance that these unethical websites are going to see an exodus of free manpower.
Unfortunately those of us outside the USA whose images are being abused in this way will find it very much more expensive to register , ( plus why should we have to pay to have enforcement of existing laws )..and usually cases of infringment are judged where the infringement is considered to have taken place ..the USA..
I for one, would not be prepared to travel and endure the TSA "theatre" and a potentially protracted stay in the USA whilst any case was heard..
Doubtless that realisation will shift the focus of any "pinners" etc, who are successfully sued, onto infringing IP and copyrights from creators who are not USA residents..
They will realise that they can do so with impunity..even if we take them to court in our own juristictions..they can ignore both the the procedure and any verdicts..
This is the reason why as I mentioned in another thread
That all of these crowd sourced scraper scummy sites are set up in the USA..their "group IP abuse" business model would never have got off the ground in Europe and many other areas , and their lawyers would have warned their VC backers that they risked losing all their money and potentially being sued into oblivion if not in some cases actual jail..
Their users ? ..the site's owners and VC backers, don't care about them anyway..they are only there in order to provide the sites and their backers "deniable responsibility" when the excuse of "fair use" is shown to be totally inapplicable under law..
If I understand correctly you can register even if you're not a US resident. I forgot how much - $35? $50? and you can register a whole block of work, say, pictures you've taken from the last two years, in one application.
It takes about 9-10 months to have confirmation, but you are protected legally from the time of your application.
Check with your attorney! I'm parroting mine, but I may be parroting wrong.
If your work is registered, the infringer would be very ill-advised to go to court, and you may not have to show up in person if you have legal representation. They'll have to pay your lawyers. So they're pretty much stuck in a corner the moment they get the C&D letter, and have to settle with you. Settling is the economical option for them.
Interesting ..thanks :) I'll look into that further..
Here in France, the same thing costs around $30.oo and is date and time "stamped"..takes around 30 days to get the paperwork back ..but is instantly valid legally from the time they receive it..
Plus we can do "on line" witnessing and authentication as the original date of creation / publication etc via "huissiers" ( akin to, but not exactly, a notary public or a bailiff ) ..I don't mind investing a few hundred or so per time ..I pay for registration of designs ( even website designs ) and photos , drawings etc and trademarks..that costs me around $250.oo per "batch" here..
Thus I don't need a lawyer to fight that sort of thing here, I can ( and have ) fought and won each time representing myself..
A system where I ( or anyone else outside the USA ) could register at a reasonable price, and not have to travel , show up, pay lawyers, etc to win ..would be ideal..
No point in going to all that "lawyer, travel, stay, time" expense and inconvenience, only to find that the infringer is flat broke and just spends all day pinning ..a win over someone(s) who can't pay is an essentially pyrrhic victory..
If your work is registered, the plaintiff must assume your legal fees.
That's why this sort of thing rarely hits the courts. You won't have to travel.
Take home message: Bulk register everything you do in the past two years, every two years. It's cheap, and you can do it online.
Great news ..Thanks :)