In this frenzy world of where you hear of Copyright Claims left and right, you must be aware of this Copyright Scam before you receive a threatening email. Copyrights are issued by the owner of some material that can be music, images, writings, etc. so that he and only he has the rights to produce or publish that content. It also gives him the right to take legal action against the people who are using it without the consent of the owner. Copyrights play an important role in helping the owner to control the illegal publishing of his/her content.
But as we have already said and keep on saying there are always some false minded people who will try to abuse each and every possible means for earning quick money. It is the same in the case of the Copyrights, in recent times it is seen that many scammers are scamming people under the false allegation of Copyright Infringement. Today we are going to discuss this entire scenario and how you must stay from this scam
How does the Copyright scam start?
Let us consider an imaginary character and let’s name him Billy. Billy runs a website on which he posts many articles regarding lifestyle and sports. He also uses many images and videos in the articles to make them interesting. Billy has started to attract a good number of people to his website. He is happy that everything is going according to his plan. One day out of nowhere Billy receives an email and the ground below Billy’s feet started to shake.
What was this email about? This was an email regarding the copyright infringement of an image or video that Billy has used in one of his articles. The email says that Billy has used some images on his website to which the email sender reserves the right to publish. Now that Billy has used the image Billy will need to face legal actions for the same. The email sender also suggests that or else Billy can pay a certain amount to stop any further legal action.
Billy thinks that someone is just fooling around and this is all a joke as the amount requested by the person is absurd and a new website owner like Billy can never pay that sum of money.
Not replying to the email and after no messages from the sender Billy thinks it is all over now. But it is not the case! A few days later Billy receives another email this time from the lawyer speaking on behalf of that person or company. The lawyer uses all the interesting and complicated terms lawyer’s use to threaten someone. Now this email catches Billy totally off guard and Billy is now under huge pressure.
Thinking of all the things he will need to do if the lawyers file a lawsuit against him and the money he will have to pay if he is found guilty of using copyrighted material Billy blindfoldedly trusts the email and agrees to pay the amount they were asking for to settle the matter personally. What Billy did was totally correct isn’t it? After all who wants to go to the court for using an image or video.
You are totally wrong!
What if I tell you this entire thing was a scam? Yes you heard it right, this was a potential scam and it is being abused by a lot of people to scam innocent people like Billy! The image Billy used in his website was totally free to use. Maybe someone had the rights for the same image but that person never contacted Billy. The people who were threatening Billy were some random internet scammers trying to take out money from people like Billy.
Now you may wonder how would Billy know if these people were legit or not? This is because Billy got scared after reading the second mail that he will definitely face legal action if he doesn’t pay. Always remember scammers feed on your fear. Billy forgot to do some basic checks for the same.
How to recognize such scams and stay safe from falling into them?
Let us consider this image that a user shared on quora while sharing his experience with this same scam,
Now if you read the email carefully you must have noticed many things that will tell you that this is most probably a scam. The email does not specify the name of the person who is trying to claim the rights for the content. If a genuine person was going to contact you he will make it clear that he is the person holding the copyrights. The person did not provide any proof that he is the genuine owner of the content, any genuine person will provide enough details that he has the copyrights for the same.
Moreover you can contact any lawyer and make them reply on your behalf if you find something is not right and you are sure that the content you used was free to use. Like the above person did, here is an example
Tips to Remember:
- Never used copyright protected content thinking that no one will know.
- Do not reply to such emails until and unless the people are providing genuine proofs about the rights.
- If the contacting people are genuine owners it is best that you come to an agreement with them or else they can take legal action.
- If you even have a slight doubt about the email make someone who knows about this stuff speak on your behalf
- Mostly people request to take down content and not demand money, so be cautious if someone is demanding money!