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I'm a minor and I sell on Ebay, can I go to court? Law firm wants me to pay $900.

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by acewonders, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. #1
    I recently receive a letter from a law firm representing Product Partners/Beachbody. They said that I was selling counterfeit P90X dvds, but I never knew they were fake or counterfeit.
    SEMrush
    I never even got to see what I sold, I would sell it then use the money I received to buy it from another site cheaper. Then I would have the DVD sent to the person who paid me(dropshipping). I would keep the leftovers. The people I bought the DVD from stated that they were authentic from Beachbody and I thought they were authentic like stated, but apparently not. I received nothing but positive feedback, so I thought everything was great. They want me to send them approximately $890 to avoid court.

    I want to ask what can happen to me? Iive in Houston, the law firm is in California,will I have to fly there to defend myself? Can I be arrested for this? I started doing this at age 16 now I'm 17.

    Sorry one last piece of information, I stopped selling the P90X dvds a couple of months before I receive the letter(which was friday).
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
    acewonders, Nov 8, 2009 IP
    SEMrush
  2. ChrisMiller

    ChrisMiller Prominent Member

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    #2
    Ignore it.. Probably just some Idiots finding an excuse to get some money out of people.. "Extortion''


    Edit: I don't know who the dumb ass that left me the 'Shitty Advice' rep was but anyways. Email or 'Mail' the Law Firm back and as them if they know the Definition of Extortion and tell them to "Piss OFF" .
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
    ChrisMiller, Nov 8, 2009 IP
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  3. acewonders

    acewonders Peon

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    #3
    I'm hoping you're right, but I looked up the law firm Johnson and Pham. They are representing Beachbody/Product Partners and they have open cases against others for trademark infringement against Product Partners. A lawyer told me that they would probably not act unless they want to make an example out of me, but I'm worried that they will make an example out of me.

    I'm wondering what to do, I have never had any legal situations before.
     
    acewonders, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  4. ChrisMiller

    ChrisMiller Prominent Member

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    #4
    Nah I doubt they will do anything. I have gotten crap like that before, The only thing I was worried about was paper cuts when I used there 'Legal Paper' as toilet paper.
     
    ChrisMiller, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  5. acewonders

    acewonders Peon

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    #5
    Thanks for the advice, and the jokes, helping me cheer up at the moment. I'm panicking right now. Trying to get school work done, while applying for college and etc. I just feel like any legal trouble at this critical time would ruin my life. Am I overreacting?
     
    acewonders, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  6. ChrisMiller

    ChrisMiller Prominent Member

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    #6
    You are very much Welcome. Yea there is no need to 'overreact' unless they actually did go after you which would seem to be a waste of their time and highly unlikely.
     
    ChrisMiller, Nov 8, 2009 IP
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  7. Law-Dude

    Law-Dude Active Member

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    #7
    Yeah, e-mail a plaintiff's lawyers after infringing their copyright and trademarks and piss them off even more. That will get them to exercise their discretion in the poster's favour. :rolleyes:

    Product Partners can sue for copyright infringement and trademark infringement, and they have done so, including against a rather large company, Costco: http://www.iptrademarkattorney.com/...y-trademark-lawyer-costco-p90x-beachbody.html

    If they are willing to sue a large company with such a good legal team, there is no reason they could not sue acewonders.

    As for your question, acewonders, the answer to whether you can be arrested is that copyright infringement can be a crime but it sounds like they would rather sue than prosecute.

    In regards to flying to California, usually it is where the defendant lives that the law suit must be brought unless the cause of action (the stuff they are suing you for) occurred somewhere else. For example, if you live in Texas but ran your business from California they might still be able to bring the law suit in a California court local to where the infringing activity was occurring. Either way, if they have to fly to Texas, expect to pay them some large costs for their troubles.

    As for your age, I'm not sure how it works in the US federal system, but many jurisdictions require you to have what is called a litigation guardian. That means someone, a parent for example, is named as your guardian in your defence, but that doesn't stop you from being sued. The only usual exception to civil suits where you often can't be held liable because you are a minor is contract law. That probably doesn't apply to copyright and trademark infringement.

    The best thing for you to do now is to get some honest income that doesn't come from sleazy copyright infringing eBay sales and use it to retain a lawyer in your area skilled in intellectual property law. Don't listen to armchair quarterbacks who suggest such incredibly stupid strategies as contacting your victim's lawyers with a Wikipedia entry and accusing them of extortion. :rolleyes:
     
    Law-Dude, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  8. acewonders

    acewonders Peon

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    #8
    Ok, once again thanks for the advice, I just want a realistic answers. Do I stand a chance in hell against them, even if I really did not know what I was selling was counterfeit? Should I just pay them? What are the chances of them coming after me?
     
    acewonders, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  9. swiftnomad

    swiftnomad Active Member

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    #9
    Good advice-- but show them it was a drop shipment and you never touched it to know that it was a fake.

    I believe you can show them receipts from PayPal to prove that someone else did it and you never really knew about it.

    I'd suggest if you cant afford one. find a pro bono and get some free legal advice.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...oQBSgA&q=pro+bono+lawyers+houston,+tx&spell=1

    Let us know how it comes out..
     
    swiftnomad, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  10. acewonders

    acewonders Peon

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    #10
    Yes, I've been going through my paypal finding my payments to the people who actually had the DVDs. I also have the listings where they stated "AUTHENTIC P90X WORKOUT DVD DIRECT FROM BEACHBODY"

    I can show that I never actually shipped, owned, or touched a DVD. But I'm still worried that I will still be in trouble for making any profit off of this, like I said earlier just to make an example of me.
     
    acewonders, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  11. swiftnomad

    swiftnomad Active Member

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    #11
    yeah- but you're just the middle man/child. :) You had no intention to defraud them and to the best of your knowledge these were authentic copy's. I'd send them those and maybe even call them. This shows that you care ( IMO ) but just tell them you thought this was coming from a whole seller. Who knows why they were selling cheaper.

    If they try and scare you just remind them that you called them offering any information you can.. you know what.. before you contact them.. find a pro bono and ask them his or her advice. Whatever I give you here is just something I would do.. I'm a programmer and not a lawyer. :)

    Good luck with this though and let us know how this goes.
     
    swiftnomad, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  12. Cal813

    Cal813 Active Member

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    #12
    The way I see it. They won't bug you too much.

    If they do... then they will come after you. That means you will have to go after your supplier.

    Normally that's how it works.
     
    Cal813, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  13. acewonders

    acewonders Peon

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    #13
    The way a lot of you guys make it seem, you guys make it seem that they probably won't pursue me. In the letter they never guaranteed legal action, but they stated there might be. And a quick search at justia showed me other lawsuits they currently have open for the same thing they accused me of. It's currently 15 people they have cases/lawsuits against. All of the lawsuits have came within the past 4 months.

    I sorry for asking so many questions.
     
    acewonders, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  14. swiftnomad

    swiftnomad Active Member

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    #14
    gosh- you must of sold a lot of these on ebay to get their attention. good luck man!
     
    swiftnomad, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  15. Dave Zan

    Dave Zan Well-Known Member

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    #15
    No apologies necessary. While some questions are arguably dumb, others are
    right to be asked.

    However, law-dude's advice to retain a lawyer in your area who specializes in
    this is the most practical. Better to get advice from one who has real-world
    experience on this, rather than a forum member who knows little to nothing of
    your specific situation.
     
    Dave Zan, Nov 8, 2009 IP
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  16. Cal813

    Cal813 Active Member

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    #16
    It will cost him a lot JUST to talk to a lawyer and get some feedback. Lawyers don't give their time out for free.
     
    Cal813, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  17. Law-Dude

    Law-Dude Active Member

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    #17
    Nobody can tell you the chances of them bringing a law suit against you, but I think your post saying they have brought fifteen similar suits recently should give you cause for concern.

    As for you saying, you "did not know," I'll post this section of the US copyright legislation:

    The law does not say you had to "know" but that you were "not aware and had no reason to believe..." I don't know how much you were selling these P90X DVDs for, but if I was the lawyer for Product Partners and you were selling them at a massive discount to what they go for in stores I would argue that you had a reason to believe that you were not selling legitimate copies.

    You can also see that even if you prove you had no reason to believe you were infringing a copyright, the minimum you pay appears to be $200.

    Also, in terms of whether you think $900 is a good deal, here's some relevant law:

    Did you profit more or less than the approximately $900 they are asking for off of your infringement? Did you have a gross revenue of more or less than $900 from your infringement? What actual damages did you cause the company in terms of things such as loss of sales due to lowering their reputation (if you were selling a shoddy product with their name on it), loss of income (people buying from you instead of them), etc.

    Maybe the law and questions I'm posting are relevant (I think they are), and maybe they aren't. Go make some honest money and use it to hire a lawyer who will be able to interpret all of the facts in your case and the relevant law. You might regret not getting a lawyer now later on if doing so could have saved you money.

    The laws I quoted can be found here, by the way: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
    Law-Dude, Nov 8, 2009 IP
  18. TheVccMatey

    TheVccMatey Peon

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    #18
    Just stop doing it and ignore the mails :)
     
    TheVccMatey, Nov 8, 2009 IP
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  19. BlackIceCreations

    BlackIceCreations Peon

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    #19
    You took the option to step into selling on ebay in the first place so you must have known that you are stepping into something that is going to carry some sort of risk.

    As for the letter, tear it up and place it in the bin, if they contact you again you never got it.

    Unless its signed for on delivery then they have no idea if they have the right address for you!
     
    BlackIceCreations, Nov 9, 2009 IP
  20. DubDubDubDot

    DubDubDubDot Peon

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    #20
    If you haven't done so already, let your parents know about this immediately. They are the ones liable for your actions since you are a minor. This is still in the early stages. If you hide it from them and they don't find out about it until things get more serious, I don't think they are going to be too happy with you.

    A lawyer wouldn't advise you to do this on your own, but you and your parents calling them on the phone to explain the situation might go a long way. Especially if you can provide information about the source you believed was legitimate.
     
    DubDubDubDot, Nov 9, 2009 IP