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I had someone write a book for me on a freelance website and then published it to Amazon and made $16,000. Happened just this week Now 2 publishers are claiming that i copied 500 words from each book, copyright infringement. The guy who wrote it deleted everything from the freelance website so I don't have a way to prove it. I have all the proof for my other books though.
Another attorney said
"As you published the book already, the damage has been done even if you will not sell other books in this instance. This is such a fairly easy case for 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. "
But they have to prove I knew I was doing it? The problem for me is that the writer has deleted all his stuff from the freelance website
your defense is that you published with the understanding that it was an original work, that you had no knowledge of any copying. However, as the publisher, that will not relieve you of liability, but it could mitigate your potential damages.
assuming this material was copied, you can assure them that you will cease any further sales/distribution. That, coupled with the fact the you had no knowledge of the copying, may satisfy them.
So should I try to reach a settlement? Because I can't really prove it since the user deleted all track of himself.
Of course, they could still seek damages for past damages by getting a payment from you and threatening a lawsuit.....there's no way to say what they will do, but that will be the situation. You may find yourself negotiating a settlement if they demand some payment.
If you have no evidence of your agreement with the other person and that they prepared the work etc. then that puts you in a worse position......yes you should settle if necessary.
They've already have asked for an accounting of sales. Both publishers have asked. It's about 500 words from each book.
one option is to offer to give them all the profits you made
that is a decent position
okay, any other recommendations?
yes, don't offer much info or property unless it is part of a settlement....i.e. don't give things up for free where they can turn around and still proceed with a lawsuit after getting all the info they want from you....right now you have no obligation to give them anything, only in the interest of a settlement negotiation.
also, don't make admissions of guilt
okay, can they find out if I have a car and such? And do I have to tell them if they ask?
All I said was that someone wrote it for me from a freelancer website
No they will not likely have any info like that about you.
No you don't. Of course, they could do some research on you through an info service.
Okay, if they go ahead and sue would it be easy to prove I willfully infringed on the copyright?
No it won't and the burden will be on them to show willfulness
you will present yourself as an "innocent infringer"
Just going to ask that at. So it's in there best interest to settle too?
Would you offer publishers $16,000 each or go for half and half first?
yes it is because litigation is costly and uncertain
litigation may cost them much more than its worth
I would wait for them to make a settlement offer
and you can probably settle for a much lower amount than the initial demand
but as I said, offering to give up all your profits is a decent settlement offer
What if they don't offer a settlement and just sue? Or try me for criminal copyright infringement?
criminal is highly unlikely
they might go straight to a lawsuit, but that is unlikely....they almost always try to settle