As part three to something that was supposed to be a quick article this should help to answer the questions and to give you something more to think about.
In the beginning though I am going to approach this a little different than normal and include the end of the year status if you want to call it that. I do not be you are more than welcome to do that if you so desire.
The emotion and fear of the unknown are constantly with an artist if they work alone. They may tell you it isn’t but in the dark hours of the night or morning when they are working all alone it comes out. Now if you are one of those artists who never put your work up against the best pros in the business for the world to see, well maybe you can say you are not afraid or have no emotions about it. Simply put, if your head is in the sand, you are just pretending to be an artist as you are doing nothing but hiding.
There is a fairly new artist in the music business call Passenger, Michael David Rosenberg. Mike as his is known. You may have heard of his worldwide hit called Let Her Go. The song can be about your work also or your significant other and your work if you think about it. I listen to this song a lot especially the verse about loving her too much and diving in too deep. The reason I brought that up is the PinkPop2013 event that Passenger sings alone on the stage for 45 minutes, just him and some songs he wrote and a few others. Like his work or hate it, it is on him alone and very public. It is on YouTube with his blessing. He sings a couple of his songs including Let her Go, Holes and the Wrong Direction. He has a very unique voice and I love his honesty in his words and on stage. The links will take you there. If you have time look at the PinkPop2013 video about Passenger I suggest you do it if you like folk music. It has a song list underneath and you can just go to them, but listen to the first couple of minutes anyway. His Sounds of Silence is different, not bad. I like his live performance version of Let Her Go as you can see what it means to him.
On to the meat of the article as it seems the “criminal” aspect will not go away. I have very strong feelings about this. There are very serious discussions that go on about how to proceed or even if we proceed with the charges. Let me put it in perspective. One group says file the criminal charges first. It is the normal process and when they are convicted the civil case is almost automatically won. If you lose, the civil case is still alive and kicking. A couple of things, the fines are not yours, you get nothing for your work and they will spend a lot of money on attorney fees even if they get off. If you file the civil case first they will still have assets, they do not have to deal with prosecutors which usually means a criminal attorney and a civil attorney. When your attorney wants paid even if the defendant loses and has to pay there is only so much money available in most cases. I personally like the civil case first, but I have gone back and forth on the issue. The thing about the civil case if you win and get the settlement check what is the reason for filing criminal charges except revenge? I do not see that as a good reason.
The real estate case has had notice go out to some as of last week and I will not comment on it further. They have an option and we will see if they respond. If not it is time to get really serious about it. The work for hire angle is just that, an angle that has nothing to do with this case.
Work for Hire has some things in it that do not apply to certain sections of the law per se as other agencies have some of their rules to deal with and one of them sets up what is defined as work for hire. So do not take a quick search engine answer as gospel as you will end up in trouble.
I think I have covered if you can file, when and where to file enough times.
Finding the infringing party is not something to concern yourself with as it is not a divorce. You can get information and if you file criminal charges they can tear the defendant’s life apart looking for them. This does not discount the ability to also tear their family and friends apart also and even charge them. The civil case has a few restrictions on it depending on the severity of the infringement and if there is a significant amount of infringing. A notice has also been sent to the last known legal address which is all I am obligated to do to get a publication notice and then the default judgment if they do not respond. Remember that intent and ignorance of the law are not allowable defenses. The innocent defense went out the window with the fact that there are so many and they came from different folders and they took the files. Nothing innocent about that at all. Changing the copyright notices also rules out being an innocent mistake as does the refusal to take them down until the DMCA notices did take them down.
The use of information from me on your case is not recommended as some things vary according to the court and general location of the case. Each case is quite unique in most instances. The general rules still stand.
I am not an attorney. These are my personal opinions and general information only. They are not legal advice and should not be used as such.