Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.My apologies on your situation. 500 words is considered to be 'substantial' because it is enough to put forth someone else's idea as yours. The fact you haven't been paid yet is also irrelevant--you earned money which you will receive at some point, and the victims in this instance are entitled to both a portion of your profits (since you are not claiming that their allegations against you are false), and punitive damages as well as attorney and court costs. I very strongly urge you to retain counsel, have your attorney reach out to them and offer a settlement, or they can possibly take you to court for far more than you would ever earn with this book. Punitive damages are not really capped, they can demand all of your earnings and then additional funding on top of the potential profits. Since the book was ghostwritten, you remain personally liable as that person worked for you--if you can find him, you can sue him for your losses but until you do the liability for this is directly on you.My apologies for the unwelcome news but I must be honest and realistic with your chances.Good luck.
Fraklin,I really appreciate your 'bad rating' of my answer. Obviously I was the one responsible for your situation, and I was also responsible for telling you the truth, something that as a professional I had to provide to you so you could make the best decision going forward with this event. My apologies on both counts, I do wish you well and hope that you get out of this situation in the same spirit that you found yourself in it. Please be well.PS. There are no other options, not really. I have represented parties on both sides of this event, and while I personally am not very litigious, since this is such a fairly easy case fo the victims to prove, I tend to advise a lawsuit--you would be frankly lucky if they agree to a settlement amount because they have no inherent need or interest to negotiate with you. Short of filing for bankruptcy so as to avoid their judgment against you, you have no other options--and as you published the book already, the damage has been done even if you will not sell other books in this instance. Take care.
I'm knew to just answer and didn't realize I could reply without rating. I'm more worried about going to jail for copyright infringement even though another attorney said it's unlikely. I didn't willfully do it but i understand that doesn't matter.
Franklin,I would be happy to discuss this further, and please hold off rating until our conversation is concluded. If you choose to rate positively at some point, the negative rating will be removed.Please allow me to put some of your fears to rest--you cannot go to jail for this type of an offense. This is ultimately a civil issue between two or more individuals, it is not a crime against the state. While you can be pursued civilly for financial damages, there are no criminal charges here--to have criminal charges somehow come into play the other parties would have to show that there was some sort of cyber attacks or hacking, or other direct theft of the manuscript rather than just direct plagiarism of documents that already existed.Hope that clarifies.
That helps. Because an answer I got from another person was this.
The 2 books were bought and then copied 500 words.
Franklin,That statute is not related to this event. The statute that you were quoted has to do with piracy of movies or other audio-visual recordings. It is not related to books, at least not exactly. And it specifically relates to works that either have not yet been distributed or are still in the process of being distributed--please review the language for yourself. This wouldn't be covered under this statute.Please be well and kindly re-rate my answers to you at this time. Thank you.17 USC Sec. 506...(3) Definition.— In this subsection, the term “work being prepared for commercial distribution” means—
One last thing another person said is:
Punishment of copyright infringement varies case-by-case across countries. Convictions may include jail time and/or severe fines for each instance of copyright infringement. In the United States, willful copyright infringement carries a maximum penalty of $150,000 per instance
Franklin,Thank you for your follow-up. I do agree with what the other contributor provided, copyright infringement is very subjective in nature, and it is really based on a case-by-case analysis via the courts. But copyright infringement is unlikely to be a criminal matter unless there is specific criminal intent. For example if I take your novel, reprint it via my company, and begin selling it, that may have criminal implications because what I am really involved with is theft and piracy. Taking a page or an image by itself, while substantial, is not likely to be pursued as vigorously. What matters in these cases are the size of the other party's deep pocket, and whether they have the resources to pursue expensive civil claims or seek criminal charges. And this is why I so strongly suggested a means of reaching out to those parties and offering a settlement with stipulations that neither further civil or criminal charges would be forthcoming.Good luck.
Most cases of plagiarism are considered misdemeanors, punishable by fines of anywhere between $100 and $50,000 -- and up to one year in jail.
Plagiarism can also be considered a felony under certain state and federal laws. For example, if a plagiarist copies and earns more than $2,500 from copyrighted material, he or she may face up to $250,000 in fines and up to ten years in jail.
Franklin,To bring criminal charges the victim must pursue them via the DA's office and essentially pester them to file, as these are low priority violations. Furthermore, if a settlement is signed under which the other party agrees to waive further civil and criminal charges, there will be no criminal implications. Unless this is extremely high profile, I do not see the state pressing charges.Good luck.
Sorry to bother you again but I met with a lawyer today and he said that I'm likely to go to jail. He said these exact words:
"Copyright infringement is illegal, defined by and prohibited under the Copyright Act. Most often copyright infringement is asserted as a civil tort, but when committed for purposes of financial gain, it is a crime."
I mentioned I had received an opinion already and that it was unlikely but he thinks they'll go after me because they're a book publisher. Should I get a second opinion?
I was about to ask you what the question is, but it appears that you have now paid the other contributor, indicating satisfaction with his answer. So, I'll just opt out and you or the other contributor can close the Q&A session.
I did make $16,000 though. I would think it would be difficult for them to prove I willfully did it. I bought from a freelance website but the deleted all track of himself. But there isn't proof I did write it either.
Yes, but you were saying it's unlikely if i didn't make money but how much more likely is it since I did make $16,000? Or would it still be unlikely?
Educator, Esq: Follow up question: Is the following
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).