I thought an article on the way things work when invoicing a person or company that has infringed your work is overdue.
The case I am going to talk about a little bit is the real estate infringement case. It is a unique case as it has many players and steps to it. As it goes I invoiced the real estate company knowing they probably would not pay the invoice, it was really to show they did the infringing willfully. No attempt to fix it. That works in my favor by upping their liability considerably. The attorneys wanted to start at the top and let it roll down hill, I personally thought it would be better to start at the bottom, keep it simple and cheap. No one seems to want it simple and cheap, so now it gets expensive and a little harder.
I am writing an invoice to the largest real estate site owner in the country for putting up my duly registered image on their site without permission and showing a false copyright/watermark notice on my work. It will not be overly large but it will be substantial. I know they will not want to pay it and may not pay it but what they will do is hold the Real Estate Company, the Broker, the MLS and the homeowner responsible for the fees and expenses they have to pay plus all their attorney fees. It will be more than the real estate company could have settled all of the claims by paying the invoice I sent them. Right now this is a great case for that. It has registered copyrights, infringing, DMCA violations and a homeowner that will be ultimately responsible if they want her to be. I personally think that is unfair, but they have made their decision so things go forward.
I know the invoice is going to make them very unhappy as did the DMCA takedown notice. They may not have been aware of companies doing things like adding their own name to copyrighted materials. However intent is not a defense in the copyright cases. I am sure after dealing with them and sending them an invoice, they will be contacting people because their terms of service do not concern me and have no control of me and my actions. That seems to worry people in the syndication system. They do not like not having control. I am outside those very self serving terms of services and they do not know what to do it seems.
It will be interesting now that the invoicing of the large real estate sites is beginning. I am waiting to see how they respond and how they enforce their terms of service against the chain of companies, the broker and the homeowner. It is a shame the real estate company opted to drag the homeowner into this to cover up their mistakes but it is what it is.
For your information, this billing and follow-up lawsuit will have no effect on the real estate infringement action of the real estate company and the possibly the homeowner. This is against a company using my image without my permission and allowing someone else to effectively declare ownership of it. How they deal with who sent it to them is their issue.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. This is my personal opinion and general information only. This is not legal advice and should not be used as such.