PSA: Beware of the “Copyright Infringement Troll”​!

A Copyright Infringement PSA To Avoid The ‘Copyright Infringement Troll’!

In December 2016 I wrote a public interest story in the Hallmark Abstract Service blog titled ‘Carnegie Deli Closing! Are New York’s Jewish Delis An Endangered Species?’, as sadly it seemed that fewer and fewer were left in New York City.

As the owner of a New York title insurance company, this was purely a human interest story with no intention that it would actually lead to any business benefit.

And truly, who doesn’t love a fatty hot pastrami sandwich from a traditional Jewish deli?

For the article I used, and attributed to the author, a generic photo of the Carnegie Deli that was no different from one I could have taken had I ventured to its location at 854 7th Avenue.

A couple of years later, and out of the blue, I received a Summons and Complaint notifying me I was being sued for copyright infringement.

Understanding I was in reality wrong, I reached out to the photographer and offered to settle for a decent sum, apologizing for using the photo due to having been operating under the assumption that an attribution was sufficient.

She could not settle she said, and an article I saw this morning provides explanation for why that was. She had retained counsel (more likely counsel had retained her) and so could not settle.

Her counsel was described in a July 26th article in Bloomberg…

‘‘Copyright Troll’ Faces Disbarment at SDNY for Bad Behavior”

Links to both the original Hallmark Abstract and Bloomberg articles can be found using this url, https://linktr.ee/titleinsurancenewyork.

Finally, The PSA!

Be extremely aware of copyrights when you are going to use a picture belonging to someone else.

While using the picture may be an honest although incorrect mistake, culpability remains!

Since dealing with the lawsuit that likely brought less money to the photographer than I had originally offered her, I have been using Pixabay for photos although there are many other sites available.

Also, were this problem to unfortunately arise, check with your corporate liability insurance carrier as these types of lawsuits can be covered. And as always, be you own best advocate!

And while the attorney discussed in the Bloomberg article may or may not be disbarred, I can guarantee there are others to fill in the gap!

Happy posting!

Mike Haltman, CEO
Hallmark Abstract Service

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