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Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3466
Experience:  Experienced in intellectual property law
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Please do not respond unless you are an expert in copyright

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Please do not respond unless you are an expert in copyright law, (in particular to pictures posted on the internet). I make training videos for locksmith. I put one of the videos on Ebay and the pictures I used on the Ebay ad may have copyright protection. I am now being threatened with a lawsuit and need advice. I have a great deal of video that I myself have copyrighted and I have always tried to be very careful not to infringe on someone's copyright. Here is what happened....I found an article on the internet that contained a number of pictures that looked somewhat interesting. The article itself seemed to be a "fair use" article. The article stated that "Note: All the photos in this section (unless otherwise noted) are taken by and used with permission of......" Then it sites the photographer and the photographer's website. Being that the article was a "fair use" article I took it to mean that the photographer had giver "fair use" status to the pictures. The article was first published in 2009 and cites several revisions up through 2012. I used the pictures this past year in 2016. They are not rare pictures. They did not create a lot of value. It was three pictures out of 11. The auction also contained a sample video which was much more valuable in selling the video than are the 3 pictures in question. I work with hundreds of hours of video that I create and I work with thousands of pictures. Most of the pictures I take myself. The truth is that when I posted the three pictures in question (working with thumbnails pics) I did not even see the water mark copyright as it blends with the picture. Even with the pictures they included in their letter, I do not see the water mark on two of them. I have only sold a few (probably less than 10) of these videos at 29.99 and I think the $2110 they are asking for is way too much. I need advice on my legal position and the best way to handle this issue.

hello

legally you have infringed the copyright but at this point its a practical matter of cost-benefit and negotiation. In most copyright infringement demand situations the IP owner will take less, sometimes much less, than the initial amount demanded, so I suggest negotiating the amount. Given the amount at issue a lawsuit is unlikely. I don't see any indication of "fair use" from what you have described, only that it seems the poster of the material was saying he had permission for his usage (but not that others could use it...and in any event that permission can only come from the owner).

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
OK, Thanks for responding. I also wonder if the person has a legal right to sell the pictures in question. The pictures are of parts of a lock. The company (one of the largest in the world) that made the lock, spent millions of dollars to develop it. Is it legal to take a patented product like that, take it apart, make pictures of the parts, and then sell them? Also, what is my best defense in negotiating a lower settlement? Thanks
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Did you see my follow up questions?

Hello again....there's nothing wrong with taking your own photos of the patented product or its parts and selling them...its just illegal to make a product that falls within the patent. you don't need to focus on any "defense" just focus on the price negotiation because the rest doesn't matter much...but you can indicate you have limited funds, had no intention of improperly using the material (thought it was under fair use etc)

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