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I got a Copyright Letter before the Claim notice. Please help!

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by svaalee, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. #1
    I live in India and i am a Documentary film producer. The Claimant runs a local YouTube channel in London (UK).

    I produced a Documentary Horror and in it's trailer the director incorporated a 19 second footage which was recorded and uploaded on YouTube by the Claimant. The original footage is of 1 Hour and 20 minutes. We used some 19 seconds footage. The footage is of a Public Religious gathering on the streets of London.
    SEMrush
    That 19 second footage is only used in the film's trailer and "Not" in the film. Trailers are usually known as Promotional Materials. I also made him understand that since the film is a documentary feature, The footage was used in "Fair Use/Fair Dealings" basis. But the claimant thinks that i am lying.

    The claimant sent a Letter some 8 days back where he asked me to pay damages which is of 750,000 UK Pounds as he thinks i have used the footage in the film too. I replied him and made him understand about the footage not being used in the film and i also clearly told him that i cannot afford the damages asked. I have also removed the footage from the Trailer.

    My worry is will he file a case on me from UK as i am an Indian resident? If he does, What if i am not financially sound to pay the huge asked damages?

    Please help me as this worry is making me fall into Panic Attacks.
     
    svaalee, Feb 14, 2017 IP
    SEMrush
  2. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #2
    • get a real lawyer
    • talk to others in the industry
    • pleading poverty won't have any effect in the long run unless it convinces the claimant not to waste his/her money on legal fees
    • if it goes to court you could be made bankrupt (if that's a thing in India) or you could be barred from leaving India or entering the UK - it all depends on where the case is heard
     
    sarahk, Feb 14, 2017 IP
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  3. svaalee

    svaalee Greenhorn

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    #3
    I am sorry to bother you again.. But what if i am Financially not sound to pay damages?? And if the court finds out that i "Really" can't pay the asked Damages?? I spoke to few other people in the Industry. They said it will take a long process for them to prove the Copyright was infringed
     
    svaalee, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  4. Furquan Ahmed

    Furquan Ahmed Well-Known Member

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    #4
    You must talk with a lawyer, which has some dealing like this in past. As far as I knew, if he try to grab you in UK court, they need to go with long paper work with long waiting day's, but if he filed any complaint in any court which reside in INDIA you will be in big trouble as per copyright act 1957 "The Indian copyright law protects literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, cinematograph films and sound recordings".
     
    Furquan Ahmed, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  5. svaalee

    svaalee Greenhorn

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    #5
    Yes i agree, The claimant says if i don't provide a remedy in 03 days from today, He will file a case in UK. But the main question is: What i am NOT financially sound to pay the asked damages? What if the court too finds out that i am Financially not capable of paying Damages?
     
    svaalee, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  6. GTAce

    GTAce Notable Member Premium Member

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    #6
    I'm not a lawyer...and my guess is, nobody else reading this is. Or even if they are, not likely trained on your situation.

    That said, my educated best guess is that if you cannot afford to pay whatever huge sum they throw at you, then it will be a debt that you carry. You'll lose all of your assets (home, savings, car, etc.) and will be paying back those damages for the rest of your life.

    Realistically, that's not going to happen if you go talk to a lawyer like everybody is telling you. A lawyer will help you come out of this as unharmed as possible - and is almost certainly going to avoid the huge amounts that you mentioned earlier. A lawyer can help negotiate to a small penalty....one that I bet you can afford.
     
    GTAce, Feb 14, 2017 IP
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  7. svaalee

    svaalee Greenhorn

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    #7
    Thank you so much for your kind advice. This is what i am trying to figure out here. The claim that is thrown on my is 750,000 UK Pounds. I live in India in a rented apartment, I don't have a Car or savings that maximum goes upto US$5,000 or so. In short, The claim is beyond my imaginations. What if the court is convinced that i am a very small man with no huge income??
     
    svaalee, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  8. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #8
    So... not you in the profile pic then?

    Get a lawyer to call the UK lawyer and ask what out of court settlement can be achieved. Don't do this yourself, you won't be able to handle it right. Your lawyer can explain that you meant no harm, have limited income and limited opportunity to earn more in the future and that you want to resolve the issue out of court. It might mean re-editing your film, issuing a public apology, paying a smaller sum or something else. By "engaging" with the claimant and showing that you take him/her seriously you run a better chance of a positive outcome.

    also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insolvency_and_Bankruptcy_Code
     
    sarahk, Feb 14, 2017 IP
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  9. svaalee

    svaalee Greenhorn

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    #9
    But the footage is not used in the film. It was used only in the trailer of the film. The trailer however does not stand a commercial value. And i have re-edited the trailer after i received the Notice. I removed the footage immediately.
    No! That is my sister in the Profile pic
     
    svaalee, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  10. PoPSiCLe

    PoPSiCLe Illustrious Member

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    #10
    Have no clue about copyright law in either UK or India, but as stated in the original post: 19 seconds from an hour and a half long film/production, used to promote some other work (as I understand it, some documentary film?) would in most cases be considered "fair use" - especially if there is no real monetary gain involved, nor it being used in the finished product. In most cases, the case will be thrown out of court. HOWEVER - depending on considerations by the court, you might be made to pay punitive damages (however, nowhere near the amount demanded by the plaintiff). Also, if you're based in India, and he takes the case to UK court, how exactly is that gonna affect you? You could MAYBE be caught up in it if / when you visit the UK, but depending on type of case, if this is not a criminal case, there will be no flag on your name / passport, and you're free to visit as much as you want. (Criminal cases will normally put a flag on a passport, so the plaintiff / government will get a notification when/if that person enters the country - not so for civil cases).

    I would still contact a lawyer, but the possibility of this case going through, and affecting you in a different country, is very low.
     
    PoPSiCLe, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  11. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Prominent Member

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    #11
    I am quite familiar with French law and am somewhat familiar with Canadian law. As I understand from these two jurisdictions at least, that you could only be sued for the time period in which you used the material. And then only if it could be proved that you profited from it and they lost revenue.
    As I see it the case would have no merit and they are simply trying to intimidate you into coughing up some money.

    Relax as they are bluffing, call them on their bluff and see what happens next, not much I'll wager.;)
     
    Spoiltdiva, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  12. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #12
    @Spoiltdiva & @svaalee : they may be bluffing and you may be completely within your rights to have used the footage. However, I suspect you don't have the funds to PROVE THAT. Therefore you have to find a lawyer who can make the calls and find a resolution that is within your budget. If the lawyer is any good then that bill will be the only money you have to pay.
     
    sarahk, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  13. svaalee

    svaalee Greenhorn

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    #13
    Yes i can approach a lawyer and ask them to contact the claimant. But the claimant has allowed me merely 03 days! What if the claimant still files a case in UK court? Will the court arrest me from India and will bring me in UK Jurisdiction? What if i don't have a budget to pay Visa, Tickets, Lawyer?
     
    svaalee, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  14. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #14
    You should be able to engage a lawyer and have this handled within 3 days - even if you don't already have one.
    If they file in a UK court you are responsible for getting there. If you fail to do so, I suspect they'll find against you and issue a fine which you won't pay and should you ever turn up in the UK you'll be arrested. Or you could be in Contempt of Court and if you ever turn up in the UK...

    You may have be able to claim that the case needs to be heard in an Indian Court but, should they find against you, you'll be liable for all costs incurred by the claimant and that will be huge.

    Avoid all that by getting a lawyer to talk to them!!!

    This may also be the end of your film career if the cost of defending your work isn't going to be covered by the income you receive from it.
     
    sarahk, Feb 14, 2017 IP
  15. PoPSiCLe

    PoPSiCLe Illustrious Member

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    #15
    As for arresting you in India, and bringing you back to the UK, for a civil court case involving a little bit of copyright infringement? Hell no. You could also "just" hire a UK attorney to represent you if the case actually goes to court in the UK - no need for you to be there in person.
     
    PoPSiCLe, Feb 15, 2017 IP
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  16. svaalee

    svaalee Greenhorn

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    #16
    Thank you so much for your advice. The claimant has been talking to me via email. The claimant wants me to propose a Remedy which i will not as i feel i have not violated any Laws. Especially in a case, Where a Public Event was shot and uploaded on YouTube. And we hardly used 19 Seconds of the footage on Fair Use and Fair Dealings.
    My Lawyer says if the claimant files a case in UK, There is nothing much can be done as i am an Indian Resident. But if the claimant comes to India to file a case, Then the legal battle takes place.
    However, The claimant doesn't want to understand my replies on Fair Deal/Fair Use grounds, I would like to send him a Legal Notice of Mental harassment. What are the Possibilities? Can i do that?
     
    svaalee, Feb 15, 2017 IP
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  17. Furquan Ahmed

    Furquan Ahmed Well-Known Member

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    #17
    Don't worry about this part too, just be clam & do your business, we all aware about our juridical system.
     
    Furquan Ahmed, Feb 15, 2017 IP
  18. svaalee

    svaalee Greenhorn

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    #18
    Jazaak Allah Bro.. Lol
     
    svaalee, Feb 15, 2017 IP
  19. Agent000

    Agent000 Notable Member

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    #19
    I don't think "Fair Use and Fair Dealings" means what you think it means.

    From what you have said above, it clear to me you have not met the requirements for fair use:
    https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p27_work_of_others
     
    Agent000, Feb 15, 2017 IP
  20. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Prominent Member

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    #20
    This would be a good move. His lawyer on receiving this will quickly realize that this will open up a whole can of worms. They will also realize that you are not fooling around, are able to defend yourself and will not go down without a fight. And that you can't be pushed around.
    They are the ones who will be stressed out on receiving this. Remember this: 99% of legal claims are meant to intimidate in order to secure funds from frightened people who usually cave in.
     
    Spoiltdiva, Feb 15, 2017 IP