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  1. #1
    investwriter is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Unauthorized publication

    What is the name of your state? California
    -----------
    I have an email newsletter that I've been publishing for several years as a way to promote my investment management practice. It has brought me several clients over the years. I don't charge for it, but I have contact information, a disclaimer and copyright notice. I have also on more than one occassion noted that it can only be redistributed with the contact information and copyright notice included.

    I have just learned that a small local newspaper (actually 3 of them) has been republishing my 'investment tips' for maybe as long as 4 years. They include only my name, not the copyright, nor contact information or a byline or anything else. They did this without my knowledge or consent.

    What I'm trying to do is figure out how to proceed. Do I start by hitting them over the head with a hammer (i.e. have an attorney contact them) or do I call them and see what they say?

    I also don't know if they have a basis on which to weasel on this. Can they claim they didn't know and just blythely walk away?

    Would there be any value in registering past newsletters with the copyright office, does that strengthen my case, or is doing it after the fact a waste of time?

    If I should talk to an attorney, referrals would be appreciated, I don't know any who know copyright law.

    Thanks a bunch for your input.

    Donald
  2. #2
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Catatonic State
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    81,919
    Quote Originally Posted by investwriter
    What is the name of your state? California
    -----------
    I have an email newsletter that I've been publishing for several years as a way to promote my investment management practice. It has brought me several clients over the years. I don't charge for it, but I have contact information, a disclaimer and copyright notice. I have also on more than one occassion noted that it can only be redistributed with the contact information and copyright notice included.

    I have just learned that a small local newspaper (actually 3 of them) has been republishing my 'investment tips' for maybe as long as 4 years. They include only my name, not the copyright, nor contact information or a byline or anything else. They did this without my knowledge or consent.

    What I'm trying to do is figure out how to proceed. Do I start by hitting them over the head with a hammer (i.e. have an attorney contact them) or do I call them and see what they say?

    I also don't know if they have a basis on which to weasel on this. Can they claim they didn't know and just blythely walk away?

    Would there be any value in registering past newsletters with the copyright office, does that strengthen my case, or is doing it after the fact a waste of time?

    If I should talk to an attorney, referrals would be appreciated, I don't know any who know copyright law.

    Thanks a bunch for your input.

    Donald
    **A: yes, sue them for $1.2.
  3. #3
    investwriter is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3
    Thanks Homeguru, I thought at most I could get .89 cents, and now here I might have $1.20 coming to me. Wow! Thanks so much!

    Now for anyone else, obviously this isn't about my trying to get a big cash settlement or something stupid like that, it's about getting these people to do the right thing. My questions still stand. Thanks for any input.

    Donald
  4. #4
    divgradcurl is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
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    7,744
    What I'm trying to do is figure out how to proceed. Do I start by hitting them over the head with a hammer (i.e. have an attorney contact them) or do I call them and see what they say?
    That's entirely up to you.

    I also don't know if they have a basis on which to weasel on this. Can they claim they didn't know and just blythely walk away?
    Copyright infringement is a quasi-strict liability type of situation -- even an "innocent" infringer can be liable for copyright infringement. However, the opposite is also true -- the bar to find that someone "willfully" infringed is very high. So no, that can't just say they "didn't know" and escape liability -- otherwise that's what everyone would do.

    Would there be any value in registering past newsletters with the copyright office, does that strengthen my case, or is doing it after the fact a waste of time?
    Well, you can't sue them for copyright infringement until you register them. However, registering the copyrights AFTER the infringement occurs means that you will NOT be able to sue them for statutory damages or injunctive relief -- you can only sue for these "enhanced" remedies if the registration is in place BEFORE the infringment occurs.

    So, you'll need to register to be able to sue, and if anyone ELSE infringes on the columns after the registration is in place, you'll be able to use the enhanced remedies. However, in this case, a registration only buys you the ability to sue, and then, only for actual, provable monetary damages.

    If I should talk to an attorney, referrals would be appreciated, I don't know any who know copyright law.
    You could start with the big CLICK HERE up above!

    Otherwise, you are in CA, there are many, many IP lawyer types in CA, especially in the LA or SF areas, just use your yellow pages...
  5. #5
    investwriter is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    3
    Divgradcurl, thanks so much for your response. It's really appreciated.

    Donald

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