Author Topic: Cease and Desist Notice (FTAO those who run their own outdoors websites)  (Read 5139 times)

harry_keogh

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Hi,
I'm just wondering if anyone who runs their own site has recently - say in the last week - received a threatening legal email from a rather well known guidebook writer, claiming copyright infringement. I'm wondering as they've told me they've issued this out to a number of walking related websites including my own. The specifics of these alleged infringements have not been given to me despite me asking for them, and they are saying that will send me the details only AFTER I've signed the agreement to take all infringements down. All of my posts are my own words apart from an occasional reworded fact thrown in from wikipedia. I don't own, nor have I ever read a single book from this particular author. I can only assume that he's claiming that the route itself is his intellectual property and that nobody is allowed to write about it. They have claimed that there are over 100 infringements on my site and yet after a bit of cross checking, I can only find a single post that corresponds with a walk from one of his guidebooks. There was no conversation about this before in, they just jumped straight in with the threatening emails - I'm starting to suspect scare tactics. If any other site owners have received such an email then please get in touch. My site is at hillexplorer.com.

jimbob

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Mmm, sounds like the scam run on YouTube where they search for uncopyrighted music, copyright it on their own name, then look for damages from the unsuspecting user.My son had an Italian company copyrighting music that he had composed and used. He won as he had absolute proof it was his work
So, in short write back and state that without absolute proof that his copyright has been misused then they should learn to whistle Dixie.
Too little, too late, too bad......

harry_keogh

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I don't think it's a scam as it has definitely come from the authors published email address. I'm just not entirely sure they have a leg to stand on... and I suspect they might know this which is why they're going in heavy with the letter and trying to scare, and wanting me to sign the agreement before sending any specifics. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one they've sent this letter to.

jimbob

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Like I say just write and ask for proof that you have breached anything.
It is way to expensive for them to take people to court. Costs almost certainly way exceed any possible reward.

You could counter, as my son did, and claim that they have deliberately plagiarised your work solely to profit from said copying.
Too little, too late, too bad......

vghikers

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I agree, sounds like a scam, especially with quoted number of over 100 'infringements'.
Actually, since no specifics were given, it might be an automated scam script. There are dedicated teams spidering the web for suitable targets and sending infringement notices like this, though it's usually associated with companies.

The fact that it came from the real author's email address doesn't prove anything, I've received quite a few spam/scam emails from sources I know whose devices and/or accounts were obviously blighted by some bad actor.

Quote
I can only assume that he's claiming that the route itself is his intellectual property and that nobody is allowed to write about it.
Authors aren't usually that dumb  :)

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...wanting me to sign the agreement before sending any specifics...

but someone is clearly hoping you might be!  :)


harry_keogh

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I've exchanged a few emails with them since the original so it's not automated.

The author in question shares his name with the secretary of state of Alabama. Somebody I quite respected until this little email exchange.

vghikers

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Wow, that does astonish me. It's also a strange coincidence considering my latest backpack - I hadn't even thought about all those walk books for years.

I'll be following further developments on this one.
 

happyhiker

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I have received no such notices in respect of my own website and they would have little traction anyway as all my walk descriptions are my own, the photos are all mine (except for single figure numbers where I have the owners express permission and I give full credit). All my Memory Map and .gpx routes have been worked out by me on my PC.


I do research some general information related to the walks but I do not lift verbatim script.


If you know you are innocent, I would ignore the threats, especially in the absence of evidence.


Just Googled the name of the Secretary of State for Alabama - Merrill. Another Google leads to the obvious conclusion. I have never heard of these books. Maybe it's a case of trying to reduce/scare off opposition or just get some free publicity.
« Last Edit: 15:35:17, 31/08/19 by happyhiker »

ninthace

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If you believe there has been no copyright infringement on your part and the overlap in content is minimal you could also claim Fair Use


From:  https://www.lawdepot.co.uk/law-library/faq/cease-and-desist-faq-united-kingdom/#question0_0


What are fair use and unfair use?


Fair use refers to the Fair use doctrine, which allows individuals or organizations to use limited amounts of a copyrighted work without first seeking permission from the rights holder(s). There is no science behind determining fair or unfair use. However, the following are guidelines:
  • The more directly the new work copies from the original, the more likely it is to be considered unfair use.
  • The more artistic or creative the original was, the more likely it is to be considered unfair use.
  • If the original was a factual account, the less likely it is to be considered unfair use.
  • The more the original is used in the new work, the more likely it is to be considered unfair use.
  • The less the original is changed in the new work, the more likely it is to be considered unfair use.
  • If the new work is intended for commercial purposes, as opposed to educational or nonprofit purposes, it is more likely to be considered unfair use.
  • If the new work could hurt the financial viability of the original, it is more likely to be considered unfair use.


  • Personally, I think they are trying it on.  If you look at the form letter for copyright infringement on the website I have linked to, they are suppose to give examples of what they consider to be unfair use.
  • « Last Edit: 15:45:11, 31/08/19 by ninthace »
    Solvitur Ambulando

    harry_keogh

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    Well I know for sure that I've never copied any text from a guidebook that I've never owned or read!

    I think I'm going to go with one last email requesting the specifics. As far as I'm concerned, the emails I've sent showed that I've been fair and willing to take down anything that infringes copyright... but not until I've seen the details of the claim so I can investigate myself.

    richardh1905

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    I was just about to post that, harry. Any judge would take a very dim view of them withholding details of the alleged infringements after you have specifically asked for them.

    Mel

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    Just email back saying you believe they are spamming you and you will not be responding personally to any more of their emails and than any further emails you receive from them will be passed on to your solicitor to deal with under the Harassment and Bullying Act.


    Do not sign any agreements. 

    No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)
    https://snailspacewalks.blogspot.co.uk/

    WhitstableDave

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    ... I can only assume that he's claiming that the route itself is his intellectual property and that nobody is allowed to write about it...

    The very idea that a route can be copyrighted seems to me to be ludicrous. Any accompanying description, points of interest, background information and so on is in a completely different category, but a route is just a route - and it can be discovered, followed, discussed and recommended by anyone.

    I run a forum that focuses on cruising, but as my interest in that activity waned I added more and more about other travel - and especially about walking. I've written up hundreds of my walks and I include maps (Google Earth tracks), but I've not been targetted!

    Thanks for mentioning your website, it looks great and I'll have a proper look around soon.  :)

    Thanks also for introducing Mr Merrill. I'd never heard of him and he seems to be quite a walker... if a rather slow one.  ;)

    Rob Goes Walking

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    If you know you haven't infringed tell them you won't be signing anything until they show you the infringements. It's a bully boy tactic, there's no reason for them to not disclose the infringements to you except to get you to close the site.

    Hillhiker1

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    Maybe it's actually HIM in breach of YOUR copyright, and he's trying it on....