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TexLaw, Attorney
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I have been accused of Copyright infringement in the submission

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I have been accused of Copyright infringement in the submission of audio books to Audible.com--- The Author Roald Dahl has been published inordinately over the internet and without complaint so I mistakingly thought that his work was within public domain.. On the Higham Co's in the UK, objection to my voicing some of his stories on Audiblec.com I immediately took all of the stories down ..Do I have any recourse or should I be happy that they have not sued me yet
David One Voice Recordings.

Zachary D. Norris :

Hi,

Zachary D. Norris :

Thank you for your question.

Zachary D. Norris :

Are you there?

Customer:

YES

Zachary D. Norris :

How did you come about submitting the recording for Audible.com?

Customer:

As I said i thought the works that i had submitted where in domain as i read them off the internet

Zachary D. Norris :

OK. In other words, there wasn't anyone responsible for finding the works and asking you to read them? You did it of your own volition?

Zachary D. Norris :

Did you make any money from the recordings?

Customer:

I made some money but not a lot

Zachary D. Norris :

OK. That part worries me, as profit from a copyright violation can bring about harsher penalties upon suit. What you are asking is whether you have any recourse that you should take. Who do you believe you should have recourse against?

Customer:

I was loking for some advice as to how to proceed.


 

Customer:

 


 

Customer:
Zachary D. Norris :

I understand. However, you mentioned the word recourse which makes me think there is more to the story. Nevertheless, let me start from here: Your voice recording and submission of the same to Audible.com is a violation of the author's copyright. The penalties for copyright violation can be harsh, especially when you profit from the copyright violation. Based on what you've told me so far, you have no 'recourse' against anyone, as the fault for the violation is your own apparently. The question then becomes whether there is anything you can do to get a release from the copyright holder. It is possible to contact the copyright holder and disclose the circumstances and ask for a release. However, due to the fact that the copyright holder is being vigilent about his copyright, this may spur him to sue

Zachary D. Norris :

If your business has assets, the copyright holder may use the violation as a claim to go after your business assets, as copyright penalties can be very high.

Zachary D. Norris :

How long was the recording posted online?

Customer:

 


about six months

Zachary D. Norris :

Many times copyright violation penalties are based on the amount of time the violation covered, and focus on a daily penalty.

Zachary D. Norris :

Give me a moment. I'm going to look at a section of the statute to give you more information.

Customer:

the fact that they are in the UK does that make a difference.

Customer:
Customer:

and is it worth it for them to sue me.

Zachary D. Norris :

There are treaties between the US and the UK in which they agree to protect each other's intellectual property and the IP of their citizens. That being said, it is a complicated question on whether he would have to sue you in the US or whether the UK courts could be said to have jurisdiction over you (not likely). The amount of damages that the copyright holder could assert against you are for the profits you made from the violation and a penalty (ranging from $200 to $150,000) for each day of the violation. As there wasn't any sort of egregious action and as you took the infringing work down upon notification, it is highly unlikely that a court would grant such a penalty against you. Further, the fact that the author would likely have to travel to the United States to assert the claim against you also weighs against the likelihood that you will be sued.

Zachary D. Norris :

I think the best way for you to proceed is to not make any further contact.

Zachary D. Norris :

If he makes some sort of further demand or threat of suit, you would then ask him for a release or license.

Customer:

the authir has been dead for 20 years

Zachary D. Norris :

Ah. This is where your fair use argument came from. i see

Zachary D. Norris :

Give me a second and let me look at the fair use doctrine.

Customer:

the wife of the deceased holds the rights

Zachary D. Norris :

The UK copyright lasts for 70 years from the death of the author. Since she holds the rights, she can assert them in this period. That being the case, I recommend the same course of action. Do not initiate any contact. The statute of limitations is three years from the date of the last violation. If there is no action taken within this time frame, the you are safe.

Zachary D. Norris :

Again, if there is action taken, you can at that point request a license and release.

Customer:

you have been extremely helpful thank you so much

Zachary D. Norris :

I'm glad to have helped. Please let me know if you need any further assistance in this matter.

Customer:
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
When you say I am safe it there is no action after 3 years does that mean that I can put them back up with impunity..
Good question. No, it means that you are no longer liable for the first act of infringement. The copyright remains valid and prohibits any publication without authorization for 50 more years.

I would say that after 3 years it would be safe to contact the copyright holder and ask her if she will grant you a license for the publication.\

Unfortunately, it likely means you cannot make money off the work you have performed unless you get her authorization.
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