Finally, the infringers are getting their due. The very recently decided case of Getty Images vs Virtual Clinics, et al has set the standards again for protecting the copyrights. Hiding, ignoring the infringing and claiming all kinds of defenses for not paying fees just does not work.
The basis of the case is that 2 registered copyrighted images were used to build websites and even after being notified the couple continued to do it. While the continuation only added to the claim it did not change the infringement. The courts are really starting to get upset with people breaking the law, ignoring the court and just plain thinking they can get away with it. A couple of quotes from the judge on the case should make things clear to the infringers. They better be involved, they better work on cleaning up the mess they caused. They need to work on a settlement in good faith. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds. The case was filed in Seattle, Washington but the defendants lived in Florida and Getty Images is located in New York City, New York. I think that is enough about jurisdiction. Getty’s attorneys are located in Washington State.
With just two images the court awarded $300,000 and over $ 20,000 in infringement damages with a restraining order. I downloaded the award document and the denial of dismissal of the case. http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/order-denying-motion-to-dismiss-getty-im-90705/
I am not getting into the case in any depth other than to say I printed out 80 pages just on the two items listed above. It verifies the items I have said before about not getting involved and being smart about what the infringers did and how they react now that they are caught.
These quotes are from the case of Getty Images vs Virtual Clinics, et al. They are contained in the documents mentioned above. The presiding judge was the Honorable James L. Robart, U.S. District Court Judge and the documents were signed on September 9, 2013 and March 20th, 2014 respectfully.
“Where defendants have ignored or disregarded notices of the need for licensing, willful infringement is found”
“the district court imposed maximum statutory damages award on the defendant………..or engage in settlement negotiations”
“ a plaintiff may recover statutory damages “whether or not there is adequate evidence of the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff or of the profit reaped by the defendant.”
“courts have repeatedly emphasized that defendants must not be able to
sneer in the face of copyright holders and copyright laws.”
Theses quotes should help you understand that the infringers who run, hide or just plain ignore you are doing so at great personal risk. As in this case it exceeds the standards for criminal charges as well as has cost them large sums of legal fees and the judgments. Even their attorney quit.
I hope this gets you started on the road to pursuing the persons and companies that infringe your work. Just remember it is time consuming but the good news is the law is on your side, the judge can impose costs and fees on the infringer and we are winning cases with maximum damages.
I am not an attorney. These are my personal opinions and general information only. These are not legal advice and should not be used as such.