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Taking Care of Business
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Old November 25th, 2002, 05:19 PM   #1
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got my work pirated

I was talking to the distributer of the paintball tournament video I released. He said he heard from two very reliable sources that one of the people in the tournament purchased a copy of the video and than began copying and distributing it to people for free. Maybe about 15 copies (so far). That's about $450 retail worth of videos.
Now, is there anything legaly I can do to him? I don't care if it costs me money, I just want to teach the a-hole a lesson.
Or failing that, give him a good legal scare.
I know I couldn't sue him, since I wouldn't be able to prove how many copies he made, and it would cost me more than it would be worth.

I'm mad, MAD, MAAAADDDD!
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Old November 25th, 2002, 05:36 PM   #2
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Re: got my work pirated

<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : I was talking to the distributer of the paintball tournament video I released. He said he heard from two very reliable sources that one of the people in the tournament purchased a copy of the video and than began copying and distributing it to people for free. Maybe about 15 copies (so far). That's about $450 retail worth of videos.
Now, is there anything legaly I can do to him? I don't care if it costs me money, I just want to teach the a-hole a lesson.
Or failing that, give him a good legal scare.
I know I couldn't sue him, since I wouldn't be able to prove how many copies he made, and it would cost me more than it would be worth.

I'm mad, MAD, MAAAADDDD! -->>>

Yes there is something that you can do. Contact a lawyer and put it into his hands. What this idiot has done is called "theft." The law is on your side. You might also want to talk with your local police and file a report.

Now if it was me, I think I would be considering giving this clown a proper beat down (not that I am advocating this of course!).

Man I am sorry to hear this happened.
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Old November 25th, 2002, 05:56 PM   #3
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Piracy

Having been in the (music) recording business for a while it really hacks me when people do this. Napster and the MP3 pirates have cost me TONS of money, this is no different. Piracy is theft, if we as a group of artists, camera operators, grips, videographers, and editors etc. allow people to do this, we are only helping to create an atmosphere where people believe it's thier "right" to copy our work. It's not! It's still theft, and every one of us suffers because of it. Imagine investing $50K (or more) in an album project only to have it end up as MP3's being downloaded for free. Your $450 is every bit as important, it's your paycheck, and that butthead is picking your pocket. Find some lawyer who will take it on contingency, he'll get 40% but you'll get paid and the moron probably won't rip videos in the future, and that will help us all.
my 2 cents
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Old November 25th, 2002, 07:08 PM   #4
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* * SOCK IT TO THE "A" HOLE * *

Dylan,

Please keep the board posted on what happens. I am very sympathetic and interested in what you will do.

My two cents too, if the fees of a lawyer get in your way, try Small Claims Court. I am not sure about what your legal situation, but I resolved a problem using the forementioned. There is a cap for what you can sue for under that particular court.

Maybe you have something similar...

Cheers!

Whistler BC must be opened by now. I hope to get out that way.

Breathe Deep...

Go!
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Old November 25th, 2002, 10:03 PM   #5
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Well, I'm still undecided what to do.
Unfortunately I know that I will not be able to prove anything in court. Obviously no one that got a pirated copy will testify against the guy. It's a tight community, and no one is going to sell out one of their own so it would come down to basically speculation against his word. Knowing something and proving it beyond a reasonable doubt are worlds apart. I'm going to talk to some other people in the community and see what they think about the situation. The guy plays on a team that's sponsored by a large store, so maybe I can bring some pressure against him through them.

Sadly, it's cheaper and easier to just go pay some guys to kick his a**, but then I'd probably go to jail and I'd still lose.




LHORIZON, I think Whistler just opened, but there is still no snow mid mountain from what I hear.
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Old November 25th, 2002, 10:16 PM   #6
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I wrote an article a few years ago and had this women look it over in Montreal. 2 to 3 weeks later, it was published in my local newspaper as a feature. I found out it was also syndicated. Of course, she didn't use her real name, and I did have it double registered to myself priar to having the article in front of someone else's nose. I got paid from the paper, but had to sign something that I won't take further action.

This was the first piece I had stolen, but it wasn't the last.
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Old November 25th, 2002, 10:39 PM   #7
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Dylan,

Bad news for you...if you take this to small claims court and win...there still is no way to make him pay you any damages...EVEN if the court orders him to. So, you'll be out the videotape fees and your time and expense in taking him to court.

I'd look into other options...but be careful whatever you do. If you make a public claim that he has pirated your work, and then he contacts his buddies and they all trash their copies and deny it, the tables could be turned on you.
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Old November 25th, 2002, 10:46 PM   #8
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Who investigates copyright issues in Canada? The RCMP? In the US it's the FBI. You don't have to prove it. The authorities will investigate and find proof. You can also get an attorney to threaten him. If nothing else you can scare the s**t out of him. The distributor could also write a letter threatening him with a law suit for loss of income etc.

There are other damages involved beyond the retail value of the tapes. Your good name and reputation has been damaged by the inferior copies he has produced. I would think $10,000 to $20,000 ought to cover your damages.

Jeff
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Old November 25th, 2002, 11:47 PM   #9
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Proof?

One of the first things you will need is proof! Do you have some friends (non-family) willing to buy a copy of 'his' tape/VCD/DVD?

Some good witnesses are worth gold and will help you greatly!

Good luck!
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Old November 26th, 2002, 12:27 AM   #10
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Jeff,

I agree with you completely in cases of mass-pirating, but neither the FBI nor the RCMP or whoever is going to get involved in a case of a couple of dozen tapes distributed at no cost to friends.

And considering the amount mentioned earlier, this is a case for small claims court only.

Dylan, I get pissed off at this kind of stuff, too...but you have to shuck the emotional side and look at it strictly from a legal standpoint.

I worked for years in a job where I negotiated settlements daily with attorneys. All the attorneys knew the "court value" of the case, and always came up with settlement values below that amount. They knew that anyone in their right mind would rather pay $12,000 out of court, than pay $20,000+ to go to court and possibly lose...especially since insurance usually covered it. And that was just the small cases.

It all boils down to money...and your loss isn't substantial in the eyes of the law. Best thing to do is contact him directly (or his parents...if he's a minor) and in a calm, steady unemotional way let him know that you will "be forced to report him to the authorities" if he doesnt pony up the dough...and give him a deadline. Who knows, he might pay it. If he doesn't...move on.
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Old November 26th, 2002, 01:43 AM   #11
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I just contacted the paper, told them everything, gave them my copy of the article, and told them I have another copy sealed, which was mailed to myself---registered, dated.

If they would have taken this lightly, I would have taken the paper to small claims, with a TV reporter to sit in. Or, I would have hired a lawyer.

But in cases like this, the paper takes these kinds of matters very seriously. Regarding the RCMP, I doubt they would have done anything. They just go for the bigger cases, when they have reasons, such as proof or political pressure. Mind you, if you are somebody, they will work 100% for you; if you are nobody, they will do nothing. Welcome to Canada! Remember, Canada and Cuba are good friends. +_+
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Old November 26th, 2002, 08:21 AM   #12
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A lot of good advice being given here. I am NOT a lawyer, and you are NOT my client but I have some experience in this area, and I'll add my two cents.

You must DO something. Failing to do something is now that you know about it is the same as allwoing the product to slip into public domain. Silence is consent.

If you can't afford an attorney, I am sure there is a legal organization in your area, that will help you. In Texas, there is a Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts where people can go for this kind of help. There was a similar orgaization in California when we lived there. Find them and present your case.

ALWAYS put the copyright logo on all your tapes. In the titles, and ON the tapes themselves.


And finally, regarding the so-called "Poor man's copyright" of mailing a copy to yourself. It's useless. It has no value in court. And here is the reason:

Today, I will mail an empty, un-sealed 8X10 envelope to myself. It will arrive, properly dated and stamped by the post office. I will then set this envelope on a shelf with the rest of my collection of dated, stamped envelopes. Then, some time next year, I will go and watch a new release of a popular movie. I will then go home, and type up a script, roughly approximating everything I can remember in the movie. I will slip it into the envelope, lick it, and say I wrote it, here's the proof.

Copyright your work . It's easy, and cheap.
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Old November 26th, 2002, 09:48 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by BillAngstrom :
Today, I will mail an empty, un-sealed 8X10 envelope to myself. It will arrive, properly dated and stamped by the post office. I will then set this envelope on a shelf with the rest of my collection of dated, stamped envelopes. Then, some time next year, I will go and watch a new release of a popular movie. I will then go home, and type up a script, roughly approximating everything I can remember in the movie. I will slip it into the envelope, lick it, and say I wrote it, here's the proof.

Copyright your work . It's easy, and cheap. -->>>

Bill,

That is a great bit of advice. I had never actually thought this process all the way through, but this makes total sense. Thanks for posting this very useful bit of information.
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Old November 26th, 2002, 10:09 AM   #14
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Paul,

Yeah, well being married to an Intellectual Property attorney forces you to think things all the way through...


Again and again....


and again...


Bill
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Old November 26th, 2002, 07:52 PM   #15
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Piration - Is that a word?

I believe it's time to pay that guy a visit! Just tell him that you can do this the easy way or.... the hard way.
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