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Topic: HELP! I got a Cease & Desist...what should I do now?!? (EDITED w/ "Resolution")  (Read 32617 times)
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purplepixi
« Reply #180 on: June 01, 2007 06:03:18 AM »

I've only just read this post, sorry I didn't get to it earlier.

But something very similar happend to me.

I had a couple of non-profit websites, my cat one (now making a profit) and a stress relief one.

I looked for some images and found a free image site, and put 2 on my site. They were only there for 3 months as I didn't like them and took them off. 6 months later I got a letter from Getty Images, telling me I was in violation of copyright laws (they quoted the UK copy right law) and they told me I owed them damages of 6000.

At the time I was in severe shock, I was ill, suffering with anxiety related panic attacks, and my husband was serving with the air force in Iraq, it was not a good time!!

After a few days and a visit to citizens advice (here in the UK) I could look at things a bit more objectively. The letter said if I paid within 10 days I'd get a 10% discount, they also said that just removing the images didn't mean I didn't own them the money, and a few more other things that looked fishy.

So I got on my high horse, and did some research, it turns out they'd sent these letters out to 100's of web masters all over the world, by just using software to search and find these images (which I got from someone claiming they were copyright free). I contacted some of these webmasters. One was here in the UK, he made a free non-profit website for his local village, and after some disscussion with Getty Images they dropped the charges.

However I couldn't get in touch with them, you have to ring a recorded line and leave a message and then they call you back.

Needless to say, they didn't call me back.

I looked into the UK copyright laws, and there's what's called a fair use policy, where by if you are not making a profit then it's fine (such as educational etc).

Another thing that I surpirsed me, was that normally copyright issues go to court before money can be paid, the judge will then decide if the copyright was infringed, then the money is paid (or not).

So after all that, did I pay the money? (I also gave all the imformation to trading standards) No, they were in the wrong, if you look into Getty their images are royalty free not copyright free, however a simple please don't use our images letter would have been far more pollite, but the system was automated, it wasn't looked at on a case for case basis.

Meanwhile - as for your issue with the pop cap logos. Surely there is no copyright issue there at all. You're not directly selling their products, your not using their logo as a basis for your logo etc. What you are basically doing is recycling. You are selling recycled goods. Perhaps you should write to the company directly enclosing a copy of the letter demanding the money. And explain that you are simply recycling items you have paid for, and their for own, you are not directly marketing their logo. I expect you'll find they'll be quite happy to encourge the recycling of their goods etc. You're not taking away sales from them, I expect what you make per month is pittance compared to a corporate imcome.

Most companies are understanding once you contact them directly. I hope the information the I found useful helps you. if your in the US, check out the US copyright laws, have a good read, and ask someone else to read them as well, there's plenty of information in them for helping as well as hindering.
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« Reply #181 on: June 02, 2007 09:28:36 AM »

goh - i've just gone through this thing because once i started reading the original post i couldn't stop ... shady is about the nicest that could be said. i'm lucky to have a very good lawyer in my family, and would have happily let them be eaten for lunch.

i sincerely hope they back off and leave you alone, now - it's not like you were doing anything wrong from the start!
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gypsysoul3
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« Reply #182 on: June 02, 2007 06:51:07 PM »

purplepixi, wow, what a story, i can definitely relate! i never really thought about the difference between "royalty free" and "copyright free." hmmm...good to know, i guess.

and, to lolaness, i can see how you would be driven to read all 19 pages of this topic, since the whole thing is so strange, and got stranger! i still have never heard from the actual company who's caps I was using. Needless to say, I have taken everything off my site that could be even remotely construed as "infringing."

hopefully this is all over, thanks for your support!



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« Reply #183 on: June 02, 2007 10:02:52 PM »

I'm going to read through all these pages soon.

This is so strange! Wow. I never knew having a business could be so complicated. Shocked
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« Reply #184 on: June 06, 2007 04:49:51 PM »

Gypsie~
Because I am a smart a$$, I have to ask, I wonder what would happen if you (or someone like me)  did a bottle cap craft and blurred the logo (like on Cops, when someone doesn't sign the release), so we could just guess which logo it was, or even put one of those large black lines through the name like on sit-coms...
I do think that the original company is not doing themselves any service by not replying to you at all. It does not take but a moment to type out a reply letter. I am sorry, but large or small, corporations have to remember who is purchasing their products...

Is it black or green? Does it have only words or is there some sort of character in the logo? Grin
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I'd love to send you some hand spun for a poppet!

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gypsysoul3
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« Reply #185 on: June 07, 2007 05:58:24 PM »

javastain, that's so funny! i have definitely thought about that! the advice of my lawyer is to just steer clear of this, at least in a forum like this.

I do agree that companies do need to know who is buying their products (or even, if people aren't buying it, why aren't they--as I have not bought this "over-21 beverage" since this has happened--nor have any of my close friends. which actually makes me sad, b/c i really liked it, especially their new-ish "light" version, and we even took a "tour" of their "brewery," which is not in the US (and it's not an actual functioning brewery, it's basically just for tours), and had a blast!).

I do wish I could say who this company is (or even the third party company that sent me the letter, since i think this stems more from their own greed than anything), but i also don't want to deal with any more legal-junk!

There is a part of me that wants to "out" this company just to network with other people who may have been affected by this, as I have seen other people selling things using this Company's packaging/trash.
...as i mentioned before there was a band that had an issue with the same third party company speaking for the Big Corporation, I emailed them and got a friendly reply, but since they actually paid the company, the similarities of our situations sort-of ended there--and they actually parodied the Company's logo, which I did not do. (If you want to see more about that story, theres a link on the first page of this post). My bet is that after the band paid up, they figured they would go find a few more people to sucker into paying them a few grand. no thanks!

I hate being so cloak-and-dagger. I hate being so vague. Sorry. Smiley
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winter83
« Reply #186 on: July 03, 2007 11:39:04 PM »

Wow I just found this thread and I find this terrible.  Its good to know that things like that can happen though.
Because I have made a lot of earrings like this and sold them but never online.

My mom works for Anheuser-Busch which makes Budweiser and she took them to work and sold them for me and none of the boss's there cared at all.  They thought they were neat.

I really don't think that it is the actual brand company that is doing this because people have used recycled things like this to make and sell stuff for years. I've seen all kinds of things made from pop and beer cans from ships to banjos. I am surprised too that companies have started selling these kinds of things themselves.
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gypsysoul3
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« Reply #187 on: July 04, 2007 05:10:02 PM »

winter83, i totally agree, i don't think it was actually the "brand company" doing this--as i never heard a thing from the corporate offices. 
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secretlondon
« Reply #188 on: July 04, 2007 07:08:11 PM »


I looked for some images and found a free image site, and put 2 on my site.

I looked into the UK copyright laws, and there's what's called a fair use policy, where by if you are not making a profit then it's fine (such as educational etc).

US law has "fair use", UK law has "fair dealing".

"Free images" are not worth anything. Anyone can claim an image is free - never trust that. In Wikimedia Commons we spend a lot of time getting rid of images people have randomly uploaded claiming they are free. (You get into futher issues when the image smay be free but it is a derivative work of the original such as a photo of a copyrighted action figure)

Fair dealing covers things like education and research. It doesn't cover republishing.

http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law may help, although there are better out there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_Kingdom
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gypsysoul3
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« Reply #189 on: July 06, 2007 06:41:21 PM »

WOW! secretlondon, things i would have never even thought about........"such as a photo of a copyrighted action figure."

this situation, and all you wonderful craftsters have taught me so much!
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