Copyright BreachesThe internet contains a large number of copyright breaches. E C Legal can help you to protect your content.

Responding to a Claim

If you have received a demand notice from E C Legal, you should consider engaging lawyers to assist you to understand the basis of our client’s claim and the options available to you to deal with it.

E C Legal provides a list of questions that copyright infringers may ask and the answers that we usually give to those questions. These answers should not be relied upon as legal advice and all parties should make their own enquiries before deciding on an appropriate course of action.

Why did I receive a letter of demand?

You have received a letter of demand because we believe that a website for which you appear to be responsible includes content which is the intellectual property of our client.

Software tools available to E C Legal have detected a copy of our client’s text on your website. As we found evidence that our client’s site contained this text before your site, it appears likely that you copied it from our client or from somewhere else that had also copied it from our client.

If this allegation is correct, our client may have a claim against you for copyright infringement.

What should I do?

Please deal with us to resolve our client’s claim.

If you have a defence, tell us about it.

Our usual terms of engagement give us a broad authority to negotiate a settlement on our client’s behalf.

The settlement will almost always require payment of money. Any settlement agreement will usually include a perpetual license to continue to use the text provided there is an acknowledgment added to the text on your site.

Our letter of demand requires a prompt response. Doing nothing may end up costing far more than what might be paid in a settlement agreement.

You should consider getting some legal advice. But beware. Legal advice – especially specialist intellectual property litigation advice – is expensive, and often our settlement amounts are quite small. Do not allow the cost of the advice to exceed the amount of our client’s settlement offer. Try to get a cost estimate from your legal advisor or a cost cap.

How is a fair settlement amount calculated?

Our usual method is that the settlement amount is calculated as the amount of copying from our client’s site (as a percentage) times the value per day of revenue generated on our client’s or your site (whichever is the larger) times the number of days the copying has gone on. This is a simple formula, easily calculable from reliable third party sites such as Alexa™, the WaybackMachine™ and Google™.

If you do not believe this method is appropriate our client will consider any reasonable proposal you make.

Why should an infringer pay?

There are technical and legal reasons to reach a settlement.

Technical reasons include the copyright owner having the following options available:

If the copyright owner made the reports above, the following outcomes may result:

The legal reasons for coming to a settlement is to avoid the possibility of legal action being started which may result in a finding of breach of copyright and an award of damages and costs. We would expect that any agreed settlement amount would be less than an award of damages and costs following successful legal action.

Are there reasons why I should not pay?

Yes and again we advise obtaining professional advice.

Defences to our clients claim include:

If you believe any of the above defences apply to you, please advise us in writing immediately and provide proof of what you advise.

Note that the following circumstances are unlikely to provide a defence to our client’s claims:

How do I know that you are legally authorized act on behalf of the copyright owner?

As Australian Legal Practitioners, we have conduct obligations which include not representing that we are authorised to act when we are not.

It is our usual practice to obtain a signed authority from our client before commencing action including sending the demand letter to you.

If you contact our office and come to an agreement about a settlement amount, we will, at your request, provide a signed authority before finalising a written settlement agreement.

What if I can’t afford to pay right now?

We can tailor a settlement arrangement to suit your circumstances.

Contact us immediately to discuss.

I received a letter of demand on behalf of one copyright owner – I suspect I could be getting more from other copyright owners – can you tell me if more notices are on the way?

Sometimes, when we have been joined by other copyright owners that affect you, we will know this information and can tell you. Normally, however, we do not know this and you would just have to wait and see what eventuates. We only represent a tiny fraction of all copyright owners. We do have a tool available which lists all of a site’s infringements for audit purposes – this might suit you. You can then remove material before it is detected. This audit service is available for a fee which depends on the amount of text and number of pages on a site.

Please contact us to discuss.

Can I keep using the material after I pay the settlement amount?

Probably. Our settlement agreement will deal with ongoing use of the copyright material.