Copyright trolling: another fishy mob to block

After four months, we received another notice from Copytrack—it must be our 14th. As usual, I went back through our digital files and sent them our licence info. But this time, I got rather fed up, since we’ve successfully proved our position 100 per cent of the time, and I think we should be whitelisted. It’s time to block their emails at server level, because I don’t think this is a legitimate outfit.

In the latest case, there was a box for us to enter the claim number on their site but there was no button to press, at least on Vivaldi, to progress it. I had to switch to Opera just to file our evidence this time.

If they want to contact us over their claims, then I feel it’s time to receive a properly served statement of claim, and I’ll file my licence information with the statement of defence. Because answering automated bots, when I take 20 minutes out of my time (and in recent cases, taking time out of my crew’s schedule), isn’t fair. We need to put in equal amounts of effort. You show me you’re serious by drafting your claim and spend time doing so, and I’ll match you on time on this end.

This case at the Damage Control Blog, which was linked from Mastodon, was interesting, as it mirrors ours, and it’s fascinating to read about WENN Rights International and their tactics. As I mentioned to Copytrack last November, at no time was WENN Rights a party to any licensing arrangement.

Angela Moseley, in her post, uncovered this disclaimer for the photo that Copytrack contacted her over:

WENN does not claim any ownership including but not limited to Copyright, License in attached material. Fees charged by WENN are for WENN’s services only, do not, nor are they intended to, convey to the user any ownership of Copyright, License in material. By publishing this material you expressly agree to indemnify, to hold WENN, its directors, shareholders, employees harmless from any loss, claims, damages, demands, expenses (including legal fees), any causes of action, allegation against WENN arising out of, connected in any way with publication of the material.

In Moseley’s words: ‘It turns out WENN Rights International Ltd is behaving as a copyright troll.’

What’s extra disappointing, as I noted in November, is that I approached Copytrack—after getting so many of their emails—about providing us with their services. We had identified at least two parties that had taken our work. Gun, meet fish in the barrel. But they never responded to our enquiry. I know first-hand they don’t take other clients. They seem happy with their single client, WENN. Today was the last straw: I am dealing with enough bots trying to turn the internet into a wasteland without this lot. I just wish I had taken this action earlier, especially since most of the last ones they pursued were outside the Limitation Act—even if I still indulged them by sending proof, because we opted to keep the same email program (Eudora) for the last 30 years and I wanted to prove the buggers wrong again.
Disclaimer: I might have a law degree but this blog post does not constitute legal advice.

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