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Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Comments

JLE

Paul-
You're doing a great service here. Higbee's team has come after my family as well. My wife had a now-defunct LLC and blog. THe blog was mostly informational-- I think she threw up some Google ads and I doubt she cleared $50. Unfortunately, a guest blogger submitted a photo (in 2014) that she was not licensed to use. Turns out that it was a stock photo. In 2018, my wife received a demand e-mail from Higbee for $5,000 or face a lawsuit. Since then, we've come across a few problems that make it clear that Higbee is a troll operation:
1. My wife's blog was operated by an LLC, and the paralegal sending the demand emails doesn't seem to know what that even means. At best, her responses show that she doesn't read the emails sent to her. The latest mailing--a sample district court filing--still makes an allegation against my wife and the website address rather than the actual LLC name. It's just... odd.
2. The copyright registration is for the stock photo company, not for their client, who is the original photographer. Obviously, this is the biggest problem they face in a suit. They have a client who they say wants to pursue this who must not know that he isn't the copyright owner.
3. They seem to understand from their earlier correspondences that this was not a willful infringement, and therefore would not be subject to the max $150,000 statutory damages. Yet they threaten it anyway, again.
4. The demand of $5,000 is wholly unreasonable, considering that a 5 year website use copyright fee is $300.

I'm an attorney, so I can at least navigate this stuff, but it's awful and a mental burden I don't want to deal with. I can't imagine how harrowing it is for others.

M. Higbee

Thank you for the offer to comment.

The thought that any of our clients are watching the Golden case, let alone with any trepidation, shows a significant disconnect from reality. So too is the thought that a declaratory action is a new challenge for us.

We go against some of the best copyright attorneys in the country every day. I will let you figure out why in the five years of our very vigorous enforcement of copyrights we have only faced a handful of declaratory actions.

As for the Golden case, Mr. Golden was running a business that involved generating advertising revenue from content, which included my client’s copyrighted work. We fight for artists’ right to be compensated by businesses who use their work to make money. Mr. Golden’s website looks quite successful both in the quality of the content and the quantity of new content and advertising. My client did not drop the matter because our requests for evidence to substantiate the claim of financial hardship were not fully met and the asset search was inconclusive.

As for the demand amount, the damages afforded by copyright law take into account licensing history. Mr. Grecco’s licensing history and other factors supported his demand. Courts and arbitrators have awarded him numerous awards of more than $50,000. A couple of which can be seen at https://www.higbeeassociates.com/practices/copyright-law/ Furthermore, an infringer always has the option to make a counter offer.

You know very well that I did not say I was too busy to respond to your questions, but rather, that I would answer as soon as I was back in the office, which was apparently too long for you to wait for this fast moving news story of national significance. Why you feel compelled to twist facts, ignore reality and present one-sided stories is beyond me. Also, my previous quip that used the word delusional was not about your legal arguments.

We are proud to represent some of the world’s greatest photographers and most prestigious and influential agencies. We are always eager to talk about what we do and how we do it.

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