Copyright Claim - Sounds Dodgy

Copyright Claim - Sounds Dodgy

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Discussion

WMS_Ellen

1 posts

31 months

Tuesday 14th January 2020
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Dear all,

Just would like to share my experience here. First of all, just would like to clarify that, the email from lawyer, Rechtsanwalt Robert Fechner, though long, is not a scam.

We are an attraction in HK. We acquired a photo directly from the photographer on buy-out usage in promoting our attraction.
In one of the international press release we issued, it included the above mentioned photo.
A media in Singapore picked up the release and published an article in Sep 2018.
After a year plus, on 10 Jan 2020, the Singapore media got the email from lawyer, Rechtsanwalt Robert Fechner.

Turns out to be the photographer did appoint the lawyer to pursue this claim, without knowing the photo is supplied by us.

The solution is, we wrote direct to the photographer to clarify the photo was from our press release, attached the invoice (with the condition of what can't be used) and the payment slip. The photographer reply us very shortly that he will drop the case, it's a misunderstanding.

Just a quick sharing that at least we can verify this is not a scam. But as long as you can show proof that you have the usage right, it can be resolved. FYIP.

ReverendCounter

5,540 posts

156 months

Tuesday 14th January 2020
quotequote all
WMS_Ellen said:
Just a quick sharing that at least we can verify this is not a scam. But as long as you can show proof that you have the usage right, it can be resolved. FYIP.
But your post could be nothing more than an attempt to further the scam. This inference is drawn from the fact that no evidence has been put forward to the contrary.

MGJ2

342 posts

118 months

Tuesday 14th January 2020
quotequote all
ReverendCounter said:
But your post could be nothing more than an attempt to further the scam.
English is not my mother language so I do not know all rules regarding grammar etc. but when I read the post I immediately thought that the post was a translation of a german text.

ReverendCounter

5,540 posts

156 months

Tuesday 14th January 2020
quotequote all
MGJ2 said:
English is not my mother language so I do not know all rules regarding grammar etc. but when I read the post I immediately thought that the post was a translation of a german text.
Interesting! As are the results when you google "Rechtsanwalt Robert Fechner scam."

Looks like this 'Rechtsanwalt Robert Fechner' is a copyright troll:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20191123/2239034...

hyphen

26,262 posts

70 months

Tuesday 14th January 2020
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JulianPH said:
TBH I am still not 100% sure as my offers to pay for ongoing use of the image were completely ignored. That didn't resonate with me as being the stance a legal representative would take when acting on behalf of a client.
JulianPH said:
but this sounds dodgy as I can't understand why an American who took a photo in Italy is using a German firm to pursue a British website
From looking at their very basic website and reading this thread I think they are the equivalent of patent trolls. Gut feeling is that they reverse image search, approach the owner and offer to represent them.

Fire off thousands of these emails and follow up with legalese, most will consider the cost of paying their own lawyer and pay up some amount, easy money.

If you don't have any contact details on your site/Who IS, then it looks like most ISP's will tell them to do one https://easydns.com/blog/2019/09/16/fechner-law-of...

And appears they contact Americans and have no jurisdiction: https://www.justanswer.com/intellectual-property-l...

Edited by hyphen on Tuesday 14th January 20:25

hyphen

26,262 posts

70 months

Tuesday 14th January 2020
quotequote all
One here from a legal firm. The photo in question was being sold legally for 29 EUR, so the amount being asked for by this firm for compo was clearlyunreasonable
https://hoesmann.eu/bickel-copyright-infringement-...

So

1) Find out how much this photo is actually worth to obtain legally, as that is what the photographer has possibly lost out on
2) was it licensed as per the MFM List. As per Julian's example, an American taking a pic in Italy would probably not know the MFM list.
3) Check current MTM tables and don't pay any amount they ask that does not relate to its maximum amounts.

that link said:
The reason why Phillip Bickel wants to bring the case before a German court is because of the so-called MFM-list. This is issued and maintained by the MFM and lists the commercially available prices for photographic works. Previously, the MFM-list was frequently consulted by German courts.

The list, however, cannot be applied in all cases, rather only in those where the photographer licences his photos on the basis of the MFM-list. As described earlier, this could not be said of the Dutch complaintant, who sold his works according to Dutch rules and regulations.
Edited by hyphen on Tuesday 14th January 20:32


Edited by hyphen on Tuesday 14th January 20:33

Beggarall

529 posts

221 months

Wednesday 15th January 2020
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Just come upon this thread. The issue of copyright and unauthorised reproducing of images is a headache and risk for many professional photographers. I think for a lot of them it is down to clients using images outside of contract/licence - such as reproducing wedding venue photos etc and posting sample images on social media rather than paying for them. High profile cases are rare but Pixsy published a list of famous cases here . For the most part it depends on whether you have "stolen" an image for commercial purposes and I suspect that publishing someone else's image on your personal web page or blog would generally pass unnoticed. Technically all photographs are copyright to the photographer so this would technically be an infringement. It sounds like this German company of copyright-chasers is chancing their arm a bit and i wonder if anyone has called their bluff?. I also wonder how far they would go to pursue it in the courts and what the outcome would be if you had promptly taken the image down once challenged. I had an image used by a US travel company to promote its tours to Vietnam which Pixsy took up on my behalf but nothing came of it and the case was discontinued "after discussion with their legal team". Lots of my stuff appears on Pinterest boards and other sharing sites - Pixsy current finds 97 matches (not all real - their comparator search engine finds lots of similar images) - but I tend to ignore them. However, it does make the case for watermarks and only posting low res images.
Edited by Beggarall on Wednesday 15th January 16:03


Edited by Beggarall on Thursday 16th January 10:16

lowdrag

12,252 posts

193 months

Sunday 19th January 2020
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I have had instances of photos turning up in books and have never had a problem being paid, together with a profuse apology. In one case I was where I had sent it to a friend who then carelessly put it out on the web. I try not to share any of the photos I consider important these days.

EB1000

2 posts

30 months

Wednesday 5th February 2020
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The end game of Robert Fechner Photography defender is for you to pay up before it goes to court, the shakedown only works if you are scared by the email/letters they send to you.

They try an paint a picture of fear, so that you will pay up rather than question it. if you have used a image without the proper consent, then offer them £, do not sign the cease & desist documents provided as this will ensure that he has you by the proverbial "balls", if however, you have not used a copyright infringed image and you have proper consent and yet Mr Fechner still insist that you have infringed....then call his bluff and every letter he will send you is you have 1 week to pay, you don't pay, then you have another 1 week to pay, you don't pay, then you have another 1 week to pay and this will go and on and on.

He sends out 1000s of emails Worldwide to companies & individuals, threatening them with court action unless they sign his cease and desist documents, along with scary legalese words and quoting old EU case law, trying to scare them into paying up.

The choices he has are as follows;

Take it to court in Germany, send you the case proceedings and you transfer the jurisdiction to the United Kingdom and fight it here,

Or

Take it to court directly in UK, however, he has no presence in the UK, so he or his client will have to pay to take this through the UK court system, if they win, they won’t be reimbursed court fees and this is not Germany.

Or

Take it to court in Germany, don’t send the case proceedings and they win the case in Germany.

Now to be able to successfully enforce the cost reimbursement claim after their victory, he will find that international enforcement will be difficult or even impossible if the losing party is domiciled abroad and if the losing party has no significant funds or assets.

So if you have copyright infringed, then offer to pay the photographer a nominal sum of £100 - £250, but do not under any circumstances sign any documents, just let Robert Fechner know that if he persist in seeing this through the courts, then you do not have any assets or funds to pay as you will shut down your company, thus rendering enforcement useless, plus he has to pay to take it to court in the 1st place in Germany

If on the other hand you haven't copyright infringed, then just call his bluff.

ReverendCounter

5,540 posts

156 months

Wednesday 5th February 2020
quotequote all
Wouldn't it be great if there was a class action against this 'Rechtsanwalt Robert Fechner' - everyone who had ever been threatened with court coming together, contributing a little money and resources to legally scare the scheisse out of him. Crowdfund ahoy!

rosaly

1 posts

30 months

Thursday 13th February 2020
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hi, i got the same threatening letter myself. no, this Robert person is not a scam, they do take people to court, although they do not do that to everybody they tell threaten.

i know a person whom he took to court, found him accidentally after getting legal help for my case. unfortunately the root of the evil are the unfair laws. there will be always lawyers who will morally wrong things and extract money from people with cunning tricks. they have the right to file case against anybody in Europe in Germany and the judgement will be fully valid anywhere in EU without any additional work needed. if poor people do not have the means to pay the fine they will go to jail. in Germany even for fair use and very minimal use and even unintentional and non commercial use the minimum that one will be surely sentenced to including all expenses should be well above 6000 - this is the sad reality. the articles you read on internet about fair use and taking into consideration circumstances of use - this is totally disconnected from the legal reality. there is not fair use for normal people in europe. i have confirmed with 2 independent lawyers and they told me the same things. in my country of residence we have more fair copyright laws, but if the robert person takes me to court to Germany it will be a great disaster in my life because i am a very poor person and i do not even earn 6000 per year! but this is the sad reality. the people who made these laws are guilty of crimes against humanity. after talking to the lawyers my only hope, in case he initiates proceedings is to contact people who really know how to do magic spells to put some barriers to this immoral situation because our legal system in Europe encourages and breeds such things instead of providing justice. i will escalating my case to the Gods and protector spirits because now (after the 2 local lawyers contact) i am sure that there is no justice in our legal system.

i will try to keep you updated on my case, but in case you are in the same trouble too, feel free to send me a message, i do respond.

Edited by rosaly on Thursday 13th February 18:34

jr502

487 posts

154 months

Friday 14th February 2020
quotequote all
rosaly said:
unfortunately the root of the evil are the unfair laws.

Edited by rosaly on Thursday 13th February 18:34
I don't think the laws are unfair, it just requires due diligence when using someone else's property for yourself. Given how many options there are to get legal to use media these days it still surprises me people do this.

MGJ2

342 posts

118 months

Saturday 15th February 2020
quotequote all
rosaly said:
hi, i got the same threatening letter myself. blah... blah... blah.. blah.. blah..quote]

Nice first post!

rosaly said:
i will try to keep you updated on my case
Not necessary. I don't think anyone is interested in your part of the scam.

kestral

1,531 posts

187 months

Sunday 5th April 2020
quotequote all
Why try and sell photos to people in a flooded market for £20 a go.

When you can put your photos all over the net without copyright marks and wait for people to steal them and get 20x the money.

hehe

Edited by kestral on Sunday 5th April 11:43

Simpo Two

79,297 posts

245 months

Sunday 5th April 2020
quotequote all
kestral said:
Why try and sell photos to people in a flooded market for £20 a go.

When you can put your photos all over the net without copyright marks and wait for people to steal them and get 20x the money.

hehe
I've been out-cyniced. That doesn't happen often.

Saj7

5 posts

28 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
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I got the same email demanding a fee but they have not specified with image I have used.

His website looks dodgy, he said it is the 2nd time he is reaching out yet I never got an email the first time.

I am based in the UK and find is approach very aggressive. He wants the payment by May 1st but is not telling me what image it is or proof of who he represents. I purchase all my images from a royalty free website so unlikely he is right.

Some sites have said he is a copyright troll and to ignore him. What do I do?

Bazzc

1 posts

27 months

Monday 11th May 2020
quotequote all

I have a website that uses thousands of images from Flickr.com.
I got the same email from Flechner that my website was using a copyrighted image.

However, my website uses a Flickr API and shows thumbnails of the images from flickr.
When people sign up for Flickr they agree to the terms that small version of their images
can be displayed on search engines and third party websites. In the settings on flickr.com
this can be disabled with one click.

Still, after telling this to Flechner, they still continue with their threats.
If i would agree with any claim this could cost me a fortune because other claims could follow,
so i decided to have them take this to court and fight this to the highest court if necessary.
Flickr.com is not very helpful until this day.






L15

1 posts

27 months

Monday 11th May 2020
quotequote all
Saj7 said:
I got the same email demanding a fee but they have not specified with image I have used.

His website looks dodgy, he said it is the 2nd time he is reaching out yet I never got an email the first time.

I am based in the UK and find is approach very aggressive. He wants the payment by May 1st but is not telling me what image it is or proof of who he represents. I purchase all my images from a royalty free website so unlikely he is right.

Some sites have said he is a copyright troll and to ignore him. What do I do?
What happend, have you heard more from him? I`ve got the same mail from the same guy..

Saj7

5 posts

28 months

Friday 15th May 2020
quotequote all
Bazzc said:
I have a website that uses thousands of images from Flickr.com.
I got the same email from Flechner that my website was using a copyrighted image.

However, my website uses a Flickr API and shows thumbnails of the images from flickr.
When people sign up for Flickr they agree to the terms that small version of their images
can be displayed on search engines and third party websites. In the settings on flickr.com
this can be disabled with one click.

Still, after telling this to Flechner, they still continue with their threats.
If i would agree with any claim this could cost me a fortune because other claims could follow,
so i decided to have them take this to court and fight this to the highest court if necessary.
Flickr.com is not very helpful until this day.
haha thats sooo stupid! the guy is on crack. You are displaying an image from flickr and he is still going after you. Just tell him to go after flickr. Such a bully. I would fight this bish, he aint got a leg to stand on.

Saj7

5 posts

28 months

Friday 15th May 2020
quotequote all
L15 said:
What happend, have you heard more from him? I`ve got the same mail from the same guy..
he sent me a 2nd email demanding I pay him today haha

Here are the holes in his approach. Hope it can help everyone else. Let's take this prick down.

  • He has not properly addressed my company name, 
  • how did you obtain these details? gdpr violation . I Have the right to know how you got my data
  • he has my parents address but never sent a physical letter. 
  • not stated his client 
  • not stated where the infringement is
  • I never got his first email, searched my spam folder as well. 
  • He has two websites/companies. Photo Defender in Poland and Legal company in Germany. 
  • No proof of copyright ownership and registration