MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: Small Claims for Copyright in the US?  (Read 4555 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

RacePhoto

« on: January 31, 2012, 14:45 »
0
STUDY ON REMEDIES FOR COPYRIGHT SMALL CLAIMS

Nancy Wolff and Cathy Aron have been working closely with an ad hoc committee of visual arts organizations, including American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), and North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), and American Photographic Artists (APA) in response to the call for comments from the Copyright Office on the subject of a small claims court for copyright infringements.  Although each organization is filing its own comments, we all generally support each others efforts and the same overall goal: A system that allows fair, speedy and economically affordable access to legal enforcement of copyrights for all copyright holders, irrespective of the economic impact of any particular infringement. More specifically, we seem to desire a number of specific steps toward achieving that goal.

    The ability to bring a claim without the need of legal representation, in a forum that is cost effective and that does not require expensive travel or other out-of-pocket costs or expert fees.

    The ability to have a claim adjudicated timely by a tribunal that is knowledgeable about copyright.

    In the event that the process is not binding on a defendant once elected by a plaintiff, provision for incentives to discourage a defendant from rejecting the alternative forum and forcing a claim to be brought in a federal court of general jurisdiction; and

    A resolution of a claim that offers finality and ease of enforcement of any judgment.

PACAs Initial Claim
http://www.pacaoffice.org/pdfs/NOI_response_120118A.pdf

(hey don't look, there's an article about Sopa right above this one...)

http://www.pacaoffice.org/whatsnewnow.shtml

from the Copyright Alliance

Both pieces of legislation have been under attack and have been misrepresented with mischaracterizations and rhetoric that have distorted the facts.   This legislation is about promoting and and protecting American jobs and American consumers and about ensuring the Internet as a safe and lawful tool for all.  The bills are narrowly targeted at offshore websites that are primarily designed or created to offer complete copies of infringing works for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.  These sites are trafficking unlicensed, unregulated and unsafe products to U.S. consumers.  Taking action against criminal activity is not stifling free speech, and it will not break the internet.  People should take a look at what the bill actually does.


« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2012, 15:34 »
0
Here's a novel idea. Adapt the clearly profitable business models these so called "pirates" use over seas.

Government is never the answer to a failing business model.

« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2012, 17:46 »
0
If I'm not mistaken, even if you prove your case in small claims court and win, the court does not handle the collecting of any monies you are due. That is the individual's responsibility. So unless they change that, having a court case and winning is virtually useless.

RacePhoto

« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2012, 22:23 »
0
If I'm not mistaken, even if you prove your case in small claims court and win, the court does not handle the collecting of any monies you are due. That is the individual's responsibility. So unless they change that, having a court case and winning is virtually useless.

Might be, I haven't been to court for much except to observe, jury duty and debts from the divorce and I ended up paying everything. So I guess collections are from whoever can pay, not the one who actually owes?   >:(

I'll try to remember to ask my attorney friend and see. It could also be one of those state by state things.

The only immediate benefit that I can see on the surface is, I wouldn't have to appear in some other state, have an attorney and it would be reviewed by a special group who's knowledgeable in copyright.

The whole idea is about getting a judgement without spending more than you can recover. That's been the number one block to people defending their rights. Right now it's totally futile and useless and nearly impossible. I suppose one step closer and no way to collect would be just as bad, but at least we'd have a judgement in our favor, which is better than no charges and no case at all.

Even if it's not the perfect answer at least it's moving towards an answer instead of just saying, give up, no use, we can't afford to file charges.

« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 11:10 »
0
If I'm not mistaken, even if you prove your case in small claims court and win, the court does not handle the collecting of any monies you are due. That is the individual's responsibility. So unless they change that, having a court case and winning is virtually useless.

I can't speak about the systems in the US because no doubt its different there, but here you would be right in most cases - theres a difference between getting a judgement and getting them to actually pay up. Sometimes that's when the real trouble begins. In many cases though when someone gets a judgement against them, they pay up.  Often its part of the analysis before you start things rolling - working out if the other party has the means or assets to pay any judgement, and working out how much its going to cost to get it off them. There's special rules in some types of cases such as family law.

RacePhoto

« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2012, 00:45 »
0
If I'm not mistaken, even if you prove your case in small claims court and win, the court does not handle the collecting of any monies you are due. That is the individual's responsibility. So unless they change that, having a court case and winning is virtually useless.

I can't speak about the systems in the US because no doubt its different there, but here you would be right in most cases - theres a difference between getting a judgement and getting them to actually pay up. Sometimes that's when the real trouble begins. In many cases though when someone gets a judgement against them, they pay up.  Often its part of the analysis before you start things rolling - working out if the other party has the means or assets to pay any judgement, and working out how much its going to cost to get it off them. There's special rules in some types of cases such as family law.

And I asked an attorney to make sure. Yes, it's kind of like getting an image accepted, then the problem is making a sale.

You can get a judgement and they can ignore the court order and you will have to chase them, garnish wages, or do whatever else. So CC is 100% correct. However the other part is most people will pay when they have a judgement and have lost in court.

I might add, which is worse, 1) Paying a lawyer, having to appear in the state where the infringement occurs (travel), paying expenses for a court appearance, and getting a judgement, which will be less than your expenses in most cases.  2) Having the case heard in small claims court, without appearing and without having and attorney or 3) Just do nothing?

I still like #2 the best.

« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2012, 13:53 »
0
It's not hard to go after someone who hasn't paid a small claims judgement.  I had to garnish wages against an uninsured driver, and all it took was a call to the DMV and a trip to the courthouse.

The real problem with small claims court is cases can only be filed in the defendant's jurisdiction.  That often makes pursuing a case cost prohibitive.

RacePhoto

« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2012, 03:10 »
0
It's not hard to go after someone who hasn't paid a small claims judgement.  I had to garnish wages against an uninsured driver, and all it took was a call to the DMV and a trip to the courthouse.

The real problem with small claims court is cases can only be filed in the defendant's jurisdiction.  That often makes pursuing a case cost prohibitive.

No, that was part of the solution, that someone could file without going there and without a lawyer. Otherwise, true, it's a waste to money and time.

Some people react much better to a threat of real legal action than a DMCA that does nothing.  ;D

Re-read the first:

The ability to bring a claim without the need of legal representation, that is cost
effective and does not require expensive travel, costs or expert fees.


To have a claim adjudicated timely by a tribunal that is knowledgeable about
copyright.

In the event that the process is not mandatory once elected, to offer incentives
to avoid having the defendant reject the alternative forum and demand that a
claim be brought in a federal court of general jurisdiction; and

A resolution that offers finality and ease of enforcement of any judgment.


I think they saw the same problems as people here did.

Carl

  • Carl Stewart, CS Productions
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2012, 07:05 »
0
Many years ago, in my younger days, I had a client stiff me.  I won by default in small claims court because he didn't even bother to show up at the hearing.  As I was leaving, the judge said, "Good luck, son."  I wondered why he would say that, because I had just won my law suit.  That's when I found out that what I had, essentially, was a piece of paper that said, "Yep.  This individual owes you money."  It was up to me to collect it.  That meant finding out what he owned and file an attachment.  He was self-employed, so there was no salary to garnish.  I would have had to hire an investigator, which meant even more money out of pocket.  I cut my losses and let it go.  I filed it in the public records and never heard from the guy again.

Looking back on it, I'm sure he did it because he had done it many times before to unwitting victims, and there is a plentiful supply of soft targets.  Prior to my small claims court suit, he told me on the phone that he wasn't gonna pay me.  When I asked him why, he said, "I don't want to."  Case closed.

RacePhoto

« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2012, 00:28 »
0
Many years ago, in my younger days, I had a client stiff me.  I won by default in small claims court because he didn't even bother to show up at the hearing.  As I was leaving, the judge said, "Good luck, son."  I wondered why he would say that, because I had just won my law suit.  That's when I found out that what I had, essentially, was a piece of paper that said, "Yep.  This individual owes you money."  It was up to me to collect it.  That meant finding out what he owned and file an attachment.  He was self-employed, so there was no salary to garnish.  I would have had to hire an investigator, which meant even more money out of pocket.  I cut my losses and let it go.  I filed it in the public records and never heard from the guy again.

Looking back on it, I'm sure he did it because he had done it many times before to unwitting victims, and there is a plentiful supply of soft targets.  Prior to my small claims court suit, he told me on the phone that he wasn't gonna pay me.  When I asked him why, he said, "I don't want to."  Case closed.

I guess things are so bad that everyone is finding reasons why we shouldn't stand up and protect our rights. I guess you're right. Why don't you just put everything up for free. DMCA does nothing, the laws do nothing. What's the use. And if we got something that worked better, obviously everyone here is convinced it's not worth the time.

All of you need to post a big sign on your website that says, "Please Steal My Photos" I won't prosecute, it's too much trouble.

Leaf you need to remove this Topic, there's nothing we can do. To act is futile. Lets all roll over and play dead.

Image Sleuth
If you find your (or others) images being sold by another person or unknown agency - post your concerns here


OK I give up...
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 01:01 by RacePhoto »

avava

« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2012, 18:12 »
0
Many years ago, in my younger days, I had a client stiff me.  I won by default in small claims court because he didn't even bother to show up at the hearing.  As I was leaving, the judge said, "Good luck, son."  I wondered why he would say that, because I had just won my law suit.  That's when I found out that what I had, essentially, was a piece of paper that said, "Yep.  This individual owes you money."  It was up to me to collect it.  That meant finding out what he owned and file an attachment.  He was self-employed, so there was no salary to garnish.  I would have had to hire an investigator, which meant even more money out of pocket.  I cut my losses and let it go.  I filed it in the public records and never heard from the guy again.

Looking back on it, I'm sure he did it because he had done it many times before to unwitting victims, and there is a plentiful supply of soft targets.  Prior to my small claims court suit, he told me on the phone that he wasn't gonna pay me.  When I asked him why, he said, "I don't want to."  Case closed.

Adieu pleurer les enfants

« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2012, 20:18 »
0
Many years ago, in my younger days, I had a client stiff me.  I won by default in small claims court because he didn't even bother to show up at the hearing.  As I was leaving, the judge said, "Good luck, son."  I wondered why he would say that, because I had just won my law suit.  That's when I found out that what I had, essentially, was a piece of paper that said, "Yep.  This individual owes you money."  It was up to me to collect it.  That meant finding out what he owned and file an attachment.  He was self-employed, so there was no salary to garnish.  I would have had to hire an investigator, which meant even more money out of pocket.  I cut my losses and let it go.  I filed it in the public records and never heard from the guy again.

Looking back on it, I'm sure he did it because he had done it many times before to unwitting victims, and there is a plentiful supply of soft targets.  Prior to my small claims court suit, he told me on the phone that he wasn't gonna pay me.  When I asked him why, he said, "I don't want to."  Case closed.

That was my exact experience, also.

Quote
I guess things are so bad that everyone is finding reasons why we shouldn't stand up and protect our rights.

No, that isn't it AT ALL. We definitely should stand up and protect our rights. But you are talking to the wrong people. Everyone here is totally on board with a change. But the change being proposed in your original post only solves HALF the problem. The thieves aren't going to stop until they start getting hit in the pockets. And what is proposed doesn't solve that part of the problem at all. A piece of paper saying I won the court case doesn't punish the infringer at all.

« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2012, 00:06 »
0

I guess things are so bad that everyone is finding reasons why we shouldn't stand up and protect our rights.

Sorry if my post came across that way - I think a small claims procedure is a very good way of making it easier and more efficient to enforce our rights, and definitely a worthwhile change if the lawyers don't trample all over it first.

« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2012, 17:13 »
0
It's not hard to go after someone who hasn't paid a small claims judgement.  I had to garnish wages against an uninsured driver, and all it took was a call to the DMV and a trip to the courthouse.

The real problem with small claims court is cases can only be filed in the defendant's jurisdiction.  That often makes pursuing a case cost prohibitive.

No, that was part of the solution, that someone could file without going there and without a lawyer. Otherwise, true, it's a waste to money and time.

Some people react much better to a threat of real legal action than a DMCA that does nothing.  ;D

Re-read the first:

The ability to bring a claim without the need of legal representation, that is cost
effective and does not require expensive travel, costs or expert fees.


To have a claim adjudicated timely by a tribunal that is knowledgeable about
copyright.

In the event that the process is not mandatory once elected, to offer incentives
to avoid having the defendant reject the alternative forum and demand that a
claim be brought in a federal court of general jurisdiction; and

A resolution that offers finality and ease of enforcement of any judgment.


I think they saw the same problems as people here did.

I understand small claims is part of the solution, but like I said, the problem with small claims is that you can only file in the defendant's jurisdiction, not your own.  For small claims to be a viable and cost-effective solution, we need to be able to file suit in our jurisdiction.

« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2012, 01:45 »
0

I understand small claims is part of the solution, but like I said, the problem with small claims is that you can only file in the defendant's jurisdiction, not your own.  For small claims to be a viable and cost-effective solution, we need to be able to file suit in our jurisdiction.

That's probably true in some small claims courts, but not necessarily always the case, it really depends on how any legislation ends up being drafted, how open they are to using technology and how much co-operation there is between different states. Its not unheard of to be able to hold some hearings by videoconference between two different courts when location is a problem.

RacePhoto

« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2012, 16:23 »
0

I understand small claims is part of the solution, but like I said, the problem with small claims is that you can only file in the defendant's jurisdiction, not your own.  For small claims to be a viable and cost-effective solution, we need to be able to file suit in our jurisdiction.

That's probably true in some small claims courts, but not necessarily always the case, it really depends on how any legislation ends up being drafted, how open they are to using technology and how much co-operation there is between different states. Its not unheard of to be able to hold some hearings by videoconference between two different courts when location is a problem.

Can't file Federal unless it's a Federal crime. The whole states rights and local jurisdiction, plus the Feds. don't want to waste time with small claims court. Please folks! If you go to another state and pay an attorney and waste all that time and money, you still only get a judgement and they can avoid payment. It's not an issue! Collecting is only secondary, getting the court to decide in your favor first, is the important part.

Please stop being negative and finding all the reasons why "it won't work" before anything has been tried. They system as it is, is BROKEN and needs to change. We have no protection and nothing to threaten the thieves.

Writing messages here and the endless complaining, or filing DMCAs never brought in one cent, but people do that all day, every day! LOL   ???

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2012, 18:02 »
0
If I'm not mistaken, even if you prove your case in small claims court and win, the court does not handle the collecting of any monies you are due. That is the individual's responsibility. So unless they change that, having a court case and winning is virtually useless.

And if the award is substantial, then all they do is declare bankruptcy, then you never collect. So sometimes it's fruitless.

RacePhoto

« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2012, 22:45 »
0
If I'm not mistaken, even if you prove your case in small claims court and win, the court does not handle the collecting of any monies you are due. That is the individual's responsibility. So unless they change that, having a court case and winning is virtually useless.

And if the award is substantial, then all they do is declare bankruptcy, then you never collect. So sometimes it's fruitless.

What is going on here. Doesn't anyone want to protect their own rights, or is the objective to try to be pointless and oppositional.

Do you understand what "small claims court" means? Yeah someone could file bankruptcy over $500, but somehow I feel like all anyone wants to do is roll over and play dead and say "oh it's no use, we can't win." Stand up and fight!

OR - stop complaining about people who steal your images, image misuse and people who don't pay for the right license. Go file some worthless DMCA notices or write some more messages here, complain to an agency that doesn't give us information, None of them do anything.

1) There is no equivalent to a small-claims court in the federal court.
2) Small claims court has a limit, usually in the low thousands.
3) Yes if you win you may need to file a lien or garnish wages. But the person now legally owes you money!
4) You don't need an attorney and the filing fee is small.
5) You don't need to appear out of state.

Look at it this way, what you can pay for a real attorney for about one hour, is what it will cost you to file your own case in small claims court. It's efficient, less expensive and if you win, the judgement is legally the same. The person or company you file against owes you the money.


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
13 Replies
3630 Views
Last post February 28, 2007, 04:31
by fintastique
13 Replies
3198 Views
Last post April 09, 2013, 12:33
by Poncke
17 Replies
5363 Views
Last post August 01, 2014, 06:28
by BigLeague
8 Replies
2467 Views
Last post November 18, 2017, 03:36
by Justanotherphotographer
5 Replies
878 Views
Last post October 25, 2019, 12:03
by Uncle Pete

Sponsors

Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors

3100 Posing Cards Bundle