Copyright Watchdog – Overview of Fotohaus, LLC photo infringement cases
This blog discusses one company that files photo infringement cases in California (I also found one in Washington D.C.). Photo infringement cases are a unique type of copyright infringement cases, mainly because the demands are often times too low to justify hiring a lawyer, and many Plaintiff attorneys may take advantage of that. They may try to bully you into settling for $1,000-$10,000 or more.
Law firms that may file these cases
Here is one firm I found that has filed one of these cases:
- Schneider Rothman Intellectual Property Law Group, PLLC (Los Angeles).
Sample allegations in complaint
Here are some sample allegations I found in one complaint I review on the Federal Court Pacer Search.
“Plaintiff FOTOHAUS, LLC (“Fotohaus”), brings this action for violations of exclusive rights under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 106, to copy and distribute Fotohaus' original copyrighted works of authorship.
2. Daniel Foster (“Foster”) is a professional photographer and the principal photographer and owner of Fotohaus. Foster creates highly unique abstract photographs that focus on lines and geometry that isolate visual elements such as geometric patterns or subsections of his subjects with the result that the original subjects are often unidentifiable in the final work. Foster's photographs force the viewer to examine things from radically different perspectives by emphasizing striking lines and geometry at the focal point.
3. Foster's work has been featured on the website of National Geographic, the World Wildlife Fund, and Smithsonian magazine. Foster is a member of the Royal Photographic Society and his works have been featured 18 times in the highly-coveted “Explore” section of Flickr.com. This section displays a limited number of the site's best photos each day
Fotohaus owns a valid copyright in the Work at issue in this case. Foster registered the Work at issue in this case with the Register of Copyrights pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 411(a).
SynerGI copied, displayed, and distributed the Work at issue in this case and made derivatives of the Work without Fotohaus' authorization in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501. SynerGI performed the acts alleged in the course and scope of its business activities. Fotohaus has been damaged.”
Fotohaus v. LinkedIn
Here was an interesting case I found. In this case, Fotohaus, LLC was suing LinkedIn for copyright infringement
“LinkedIn has never been licensed to use the Work at issue in this action for any purpose.
16. On a date after the Work at issue in this action was created, but prior to the filing of this action, LinkedIn copied the Work.
17. LinkedIn copied Fotohaus' copyrighted Work without Fotohaus' permission.
18. After LinkedIn copied the Work, it made further copies and distributed the Work on the internet to promote the sale of goods and services as part of its social networking site.
19. LinkedIn copied and distributed Fotohaus' copyrighted Work in connection with LinkedIn's business for purposes of advertising and promoting LinkedIn's business, and in the course and scope of advertising and selling products and services.
20. Fotohaus' Works are protected by copyright but are not otherwise confidential, proprietary, or trade secrets.
LinkedIn committed copyright infringement of the Work as evidenced by the documents attached hereto as Exhibit 2.
22. Fotohaus never gave LinkedIn permission or authority to copy, distribute or display the Work at issue in this case.
23. Fotohaus notified LinkedIn of the allegations set forth herein on September 19, 2017. To date, the parties have failed to resolve this matter. A copy of the Notice to LinkedIn is attached hereto as Exhibit 3.
24. Plaintiff has engaged the undersigned attorneys and has agreed to pay them a reasonable fee.”
I have no idea how this case turned out but it sure looks like an interesting case.
- Start low ($100-$250)
- Raise amounts in small increments
- Don't be afraid to “wait them out”
- Get settlement agreement in writing (you might want to have a IP lawyer review the contract)
- Make sure to listen to this podcast on tips to settle your photo infringement case
Another main point is to NEVER trust photos you find online. Do yourself a favor and find a good stock photo website and BUY your photos (or should I say license them).
Contact a photo infringement defense law firm
If you need help with a Photo Infringement case (ex. Artist Defense, Getty Images, or Masterfile), you may want to listen to Attorney Steve® photo infringement case handling tips. Or call us at (877) 276-5084. If you are facing a large monetary demand you may want to consider hiring a photo lawyer to assist you in (a) negotiating a settlement amount and (b) getting favorable settlement terms embodied in a written settlement agreement.