Demise of Copyright Trolls in the UK
The blog “ACS:BORE”, our British brothers-in-arms, has published an article “Davenport Lyons Two Suspended for “Intimidation” today.
In short, two directors of Davenport Lyons firm, the law firm that introduced the scam called “speculative invoicing” (copyright trolling) to the world, were sanctioned by Disciplinary Tribunal for sending intimidating letters of claim to members of the general public that they accused of file sharing.
This article is a must-read for anyone who follows copyright trolling grand scam, and for trolls themselves.
Earlier these lawyers had both been found in violation of SIX rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority:
(1) Breach of rule 1.03 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007: respondents allowed their independence to be compromised.
(2) Breach of rule 1.04: respondents did not act in the best interests of their clients.
(3) Breach of rule 1.06: respondents acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public place in them or in the legal profession.
(4) Breach of rule 2.04(1): respondents entered into arrangements to receive contingency fees for work done in prosecuting or defending contentious proceedings before the courts of England and Wales except as permitted by statute or the common law.
(5) Breach of rule 3.01: respondents acted where there was a conflict of interest in circumstances not permitted under the rules, in particular because there was a conflict or significant risk that the respondents and/or their firm’s interests were in conflict with those of their clients.
(6) Breach of rule 10.01: respondents used their position as solicitors to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons, being recipients of letters of claim either for their own benefit or for the benefit of their clients.
Torrent Freak also reports on this significant event.
Many, including me, were disappointed by the punishment — £20,000 fine and a 3-month suspension. I’m not hungry for revenge, but in order to have similar scams deterred in the future, trolls should be ordered to pay at least twice the amount they were able to extort from their victims.
While UK celebrates the end of the trolling plague epidemic, the disease is still taking its toll on the US soil. Unfortunately we don’t have an entity similar to UK’s Solicitors Regulation Authority here, and I don’t really know whether the Bar can do similar things, but everyone can contribute to the demise of this contagion:
- Exercise simple hygiene: ignore threatening letters and never communicate with trolls until named in a suit.
- If you are named in a lawsuit and served, fight back by denying everything: the “evidence” against you is a pure bluff, trolls will NOT be able to prove anything in court based on this “evidence”, and they have no intention to bring most of these cases to actual hearings anyway.
- Spread the word. Refer to this and other similar blogs and websites, retweet my twits, email friends, authorities and media.
3 responses to ‘Demise of Copyright Trolls in the UK’
Abuse of Copyright Law by Copyright Trolls & Bullies
There are two types of people in this world.
1. Those who want to make money by protecting their work legally via copyrights
2. Those who want to share everything freely, openly and without any type of restrictions
I, myself belong to the latter type who loves to get educated (and educate others) via free research in libraries or web. If there’s any copyright which I’d want to display on anything I produce or work, it will go something like this;
(0) PUBLIC DOMAIN. TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE UNDER LAW, MR.ABC HAS WAIVED ALL COPYRIGHT AND RELATED OR NEIGHBORING RIGHTS TO THIS WORK.
My reasoning is simple; For every free input, there should be a free output. However, not everyone will agree as they will come up with a gazillion reasons and logics to make money off of someone’s FREE and public domain information. These money-hogs actually use (or abuse) the copyright law to extort money out of an innocent and a totally naïve researcher via threats to sue in the court of law for the lack of licensing, a modern term of paying to use their information or media. This reminds me of a James Bond movie slogan “License to Kill”. Sometimes, too much law prohibits free spirit of innovation, research or movement of information across different mediums.
To avoid such copyright trolls, you can always include the following information at the appropriate section of a web-page or a book;
1. Title of the media or publication
2. Author’s or Owner’s name
3. Online Link Where found
If you have modified their work in any way (provided their license allows you to do that or you got their permission via mail), you can add the word “DERIVATIVE” or “BASED UPON”.
For example, you need an image of a squirrel in your website or a book. If you use online research tools, you’d see hundreds of images related to squirrel which are licensed by greedy individuals or organizations ready to sue you in the court of law unless you pay their license fee. To filter out such money-hogs, there’s a very useful online tool;
Checkmark the “use for commercial purposes” and the “modify, adapt, or build upon” boxes. Select the appropriate website where you want to research (Be ware to avoid the ones mentioned below). And enter your search term “Squirrel”. Select the image to extract the reference information as mentioned above before using it.
In the worst-case scenario, if you mistakenly (or innocently) used someone’s licensed work and they request you to take it down, you can request further information to prove they are the actual owners of that particular item. If they cooperate with you nicely and professionally by providing you with the maximum information possible (which is verifiable), you should honor their request to remove their copyrighted work immediately. Otherwise, there’s almost a quarter million dollars fine for using someone’s copyrighted or licensed work without their consent. However, If that individual or organization starts off by threatening to sue you instead of a nice request, you got a copyright troll on your hands.
Unless they provide you all of the information (they may provide you part of it, but not all), simply ignore such threats. If such a troll happens to be an attorney, research about their respective bar association license number and file the complaint with the bar’s administration. You can also file the complaint in the respective State’s Attorney General’s office and FTC as well. Trollish attorneys are usually relentless and use all kinds of legal jargon to prove you as some sort of a criminal in their letters by assuming you are guilty of a deliberate and a willful violation of their client’s copyright or license.
I used to hate the “IGNORE” word. But today, I love it. It pisses the hell out of copyright trolls who are so desperate for our money and attention. There should be a provision to “criminalize” such an abuse of copyright law by trollish organizations, individuals and attorneys. Let’s rally our own Congressmen and Congresswomen to introduce such “Anti-Bullying” and “Anti-Trollish” provisions to the copyright law.
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