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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 16245
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I received a letter of Copyright Infringement Notice about a

Customer Question

HI
I received a letter of Copyright Infringement Notice about a picture used on the band's merchandise. The band has the authorization to use the picture on the album cover. We printed the album cover on a t-shirt for the band. Now I have this dilemma and a big bill to pay.
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JGM replied 12 days ago.

Thanks for your question. I am a copyright solicitor in the UK with 35 years of experience in private practice and I hope that I can help you with your question today. Let me just read your question and I will either give you an initial answer or ask you for further information. I aim to respond to you as quickly as I can but sometimes I may want to take a little time to consider your question so as to give you the best answer I can.

Expert:  JGM replied 12 days ago.

From where do you have authorisation to use the picture and who is the letter from? Can you let me see the authorisation and also the infringement notice please?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Sure.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
how can I send an attachment here?
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
the authorization was given by a postcard in 1984. I have a copy of the postcard .
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
are you there?
Expert:  JGM replied 12 days ago.

You have to use the clip icon to upload a scanned pdf file. I will then look at it and return to you later today. I am now leaving court and will be travelling for a bit.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I can't find any clip icon, maybe my poor browser... I'll try to send a new question because I can then add attachments
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
File attached (3G47TG1)
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Album cover: https://www.discogs.com/Chaos-UK-Short-Sharp-Shock/master/53110
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I'll be waiting for your response. thank you. Anita
Expert:  JGM replied 12 days ago.

There is a 36 odd year gap between the card granting permission and the present day. Was the album released them or now? Can you explain your situation a little more please? The more information I have, the better I will be able to answer your question and that is what I want to be able to do.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
The album was first released in 1984, the riot where the picture was taken was in 1983, the person being assaulted is actually the singer of the band ( person who sealed the deal by the postcard, not sure if I mentioned, but the postcard is the picture used on the record cover). The album has been reissued several times along the years as you can see at the Discogs website. I have just contacted another member of the band and he told me he has the rights for that record now.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I run a merchandise label called Carry on Screaming. I have a verbal agreement with members of the band to print 'Chaos UK' merchandise, where I give a percentage produced to them.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
We (myself and my partner) have contacted the members to discuss the situation. They are surprised by this notice, as they sure had an agreement with the photographer D. Hoffman. One of them insists saying D. Hoffman is dead, but we cannot find this information to be true.
Expert:  JGM replied 12 days ago.

Copyright royalties can be inherited but it would be useful to see if the photographer is still alive. That apart the postcard allows the image to be used “on your record”. There is no mention of merchandise. I would show the person serving the infringement the postcard and see what the response is. If necessary come back to me at that point. I hope this helped you today. Please do let me know if I can clarify anything. I am always happy to help. You are always welcome to ask a follow up question if it will help you further.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
The t-shirt design is based on the album cover, where the picture has been modified.
The band authorized us to print the album cover image on a t-shirt.
Expert:  JGM replied 12 days ago.

Yes, but the document granting the “licence” was quite specific and mentions the “record”, not merchandise. The band didn’t have a licence for that as I understand the paperwork.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I need to understand how the law works in my case and how I can get help to sort in the best way possible, I don't understand why should I be held responsible for the band's merchandise?
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Also, I sold less than 40 t-shirts in this period. Didn't make any money off it
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
The members are saying the photo has been used on postcards and posters for decades. Sounds like an attempt to extort money from me. There are several listings on eBay selling the same 'picture' on t-shirts
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I need advice on how to deal with the lawyer explaining my situation (i have the authorization from the band to sell merchandise) but still sold only a few, I didn't make any profit, nor the band.
Expert:  JGM replied 12 days ago.

I think you have to except that there is no licence to do T-shirts or any other merchandise apart from the album cover. You can explain that to them and also say that you also have just sold 40 odd T-shirts and nothing else and there is no profit on this. You can undertake not to sell any other merchandise and hopefully they will go away. The fact remains that there is no license for the band or anyone else to sell the photograph outside the context of the album cover. I hope this helped you today. Please do let me know if I can clarify anything. I am always happy to help. You are always welcome to ask a follow up question if it will help you further.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Good morning,
Apart of all the stress, it's causing me, checking on Trust Pilot, the company Fechner Legal has only bad feedbacks, saying that's a scam. How do I protect myself? He's requesting money by bank transfer as well he's using the German law.
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Good morning,
Apart from all the stress it's causing me, checking on Trust Pilot, the company Fechner Legal has only bad feedbacks, saying that's a scam. How do I protect myself? He's requesting money by bank transfer as well he's using the German law.
Expert:  JGM replied 11 days ago.

Once you send the communication I suggest above, I would ignore them completely thereafter. Scam copyright agencies live by people paying up. If you don't they will not take you to court although they say they will. Do not be stressed. Just ignore them. If you communicate with them they will just press you further. Ignore them and they will eventually give up and go away. I hope this helped you today. Please do let me know if I can clarify anything. I am always happy to help. You are always welcome to ask a follow up question if it will help you further.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
HI there
Sorry to be a pain... I'm still insecure about this case. I haven't replied to the email yet, as you suggested. I'm thinking if I do that, they may pressure me. At the same time, if I dont', would they take further action? Shall I reply just saying something? What?
Expert:  JGM replied 6 days ago.

If you don’t want to reply as I suggested then ignore them. As you have researched, the whole thing is in the nature of a scam.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
ok, thank you so much
Expert:  JGM replied 6 days ago.

You’re welcome. I hope this helped you today. Please do let me know if I can clarify anything, I am always happy to help. You are always welcome to ask a follow up question.