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Ask Maverick Your Own Question
Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6391
Experience:  20 years professional experience.
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I like to talk with a lawyer expert at copyright. How does

Customer Question

I like to talk with a lawyer expert at copyright. How does it work here?
- Nader
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Please go ahead with your question and give us some background facts so we can better assist you...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for requesting a live phone call. However, due to ethical regulations, many legal experts do not offer this service option. Please tell us about what you are trying to accomplish...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Our company paid someone to create certain content 4 years ago.
This content is part of a training package we sell online.
Now, a US based company claims that the content belongs to them.
As we checked, this is right, and the content had been copied from a book that belongs to them; without us knowing.
What should we do?
Are we liable for that?
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Where is your company located?

Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Are you still there?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In Belgium
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well, I think this part might be related to our sister company that is based in Cyprus
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But things are not really clear between these two
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you still there?
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Okay, so what you are looking at is a secondary liability issue. The landmark case on vicarious liability in the USA was Shapiro, Bernstein and Co. v. H.L. Green Co.

In that case the court was faced with a copyright infringement suit against the owner of a chain of department stores where a concessionaire was selling counterfeit recordings. The court imposed liability, even though the defendant was unaware of the infringement, reasoning that the store proprietor had the power to cease the conduct and because he obtained direct financial benefit from the infringement.

More to follow back with you shortly..

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
oh... not good news.
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

What should we do?

You have probably received a cease and desist letter. The proper thing to do here is to let the copyright owner know that you did not know that you were selling copyrighted materials and that you are willing to comply with the cease and desist.

Are we liable for that?

If the dollar amounts of your sales are significant enough for them to go after, then you may want to discuss some settlement options with them to avoid per violation statutory penalties that could be imposed. If the person you hired has any money, you can try to sue him/her to recover your loss.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What are the borderlines for those Dollar amounts? The package we sell is €160, and we sell about 25 packages per month. This troubling part is about 20% of that package.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think there's no room for a large penalty, isn't it?
so, should we just apologize to them and remove the content?
would they expect a small amount for settlement?
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Noramlly under an applicable international treaty, a United States author is automatically entitled to protection against the infringement of his work in a foreign jurisdiction. The U.S. author does not have to register the work in the foreign jurisdiction or comply with any other formalities required in the foreign jurisdiction. However, as in your case, if an act of infringement occurs in a foreign country, then the infringement lawsuit must be brought in the courts of the foreign country, and will be prosecuted under the terms of the foreign jurisdiction’s copyright law, not under the United States Copyright Act.

So this is a significant procedural hurdle working in your benefit. The penalties would be based on your local laws, if any. Yes, apologize and remove the content. If they ask about money, then do a small settlement on account of this major road block for them.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
do you happen to know how it works in Belgium?
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Just checking on you. Did you want to proceed with the offer of additional services or did you want to stop here and assign a rating?

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