Friday, December 30, 2016

Like these beans? Don’t copy the photo, or you might get a hefty bil; Miami Herald, 12/30/16

David Ovalle, Miami Herald; Like these beans? Don’t copy the photo, or you might get a hefty bill:

"Porn. Poems. Pictures. The internet is awash in them. But more and more, people who download them, or use them on another website, are finding themselves targets of companies demanding money for illegally accessed copyrighted material.

Black bean soup — an innocuous snapshot of a tasty bowl, published on a South Florida health blog —has sparked the latest friction point between a media company and critics who believe these companies are “copyright trolls” unfairly shaking down online users...

Both cases, as well as several recent South Florida lawsuits over digital images, highlight the sometimes fuzzy line between outright trolls and companies genuinely needing to protect intellectual work.

“What makes these companies ‘trolls’ is they don’t seek fair value for the images,” said Oscar Michelen, a New York lawyer who specializes in helping people who receive letters demanding payments for photos. “They demand an excessive amount, threaten a lawsuit and scare you into settling for some lower amount.”

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