Have you received a warning letter from Copytrack?
Have you been warned by Copytrack? Have you received an e-mail or a letter from Copytrack? Should you pay several hundred or even thousand Euros for using a photograph? We can help you to deal with letter from Copytrack.
Nothing is as bad as it looks. We have extensive experience with letters and e-mails from Copytrack. We are here to help!
Don't sign anything unchecked! Don't call COPYTRACK.
Don't sign anything that you may not need to sign. Don't give away valuable information!
Royalties? Don't pay the required amount!
The payment entitlements don't exist in every case - but at least they can be reduced.
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We answer all your questions about a claim of COPYTRACK in a phone call - that takes away your first nervousness.
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Below you can find the most important questions and answers about a claim from COPYTRACK:
Is COPYTRACK’s email or invoice a scam, rip-off, fake or fraud?
Unfortunately, no – an email or invoice from COPYTRACK has to be taken seriously. COPYTRACK represents photographers, image agencies, publishers and e-commerce providers and is very well known to us.
I have already received a reminder, a complaint or an interim injunction from COPYTRACK – now what?
In any case, you have to respond to Copytrack. Note the deadlines set in Copytrack's warnings.
Free initial assessment:
Call us or send us the email or invoice from COPYTRACK by email or fax or using our contact form. You will receive a guaranteed free and non-binding initial assessment from our lawyers about the question whether the claim is actually justified.
Who or what is Copytrack?
COPYTRACK is an IT start-up founded in 2016 in the area of Legal Tech. The business idea is the automated prosecution of copyright infringement. Professional photographers, holders of image rights, such as publishers or online shops, but also amateur photographers can register with Copytrack as a customer and deposit photographic material there. COPYTRACK scans the Internet with image recognition software for these images.
If the software finds one of the stored photographs, it will be reported to the photographer or rights holder, who will then be able to assess whether it is actually his image and an unjustified and unauthorized use of the image. If the photographer or the rights holder so affirms, Copytrack will write to the person in charge of the website where the image was found.
According to their own information, the service offer from Copytrack is for free. Only if COPYTRACK is able to enforce the claim for payment, will the start-up receive a commission equal to 30% of the amount of the claim.
Which claims does a Copytrack warning letter contain?
Copytrack warnings are masses and especially transnationally sent. In contrast to classic warning letters for copyright infringement, Copytrack is only a claim for damages or royalties charged. The warned is given the possibility of purchasing a costly license. In all cases known to us, the claim for compensation accords to the tariffs of the Mittelstandsgemeinschaft Foto-Marketing (MFM) for the photo use. In fact, these tariffs are often not enforceable in practice and can be described as excessive (please read below).
It is clear from the documents provided by Copytrack that Copytrack is also entitled by its customers to claim injunctive relief. Nonetheless, Copytrack initially waives the usual levy of a custodial injunction requiring a warning.
The IT start-up from Berlin does not claim legal fees. The process of warning runs initially fully automatic and initially without legal assistance.
I'm in Austria, in Switzerland in the Netherlands or elsewhere abroad - do I have to take the notice from Copytrack seriously?
Yes, you have to! Even if you live abroad, you must take the reminder from Copytrack seriously.
Warnings from Copytrack are sent worldwide. We now represent a large number of clients from, for example, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands or Scandinavia, who have received a warning from Copytrack. Even from Asia and the US we have inquiries.
International jurisdiction of German courts
The Federal Court of Justice ruled in April 2016 that German courts are generally responsible for copyright infringement if the respective infringing website is available in Germany (BGH, Urteil v. 21.4.2016, Az. I ZR 43/14). At any rate, in other European countries, the service and recognition of a decision of a German court is no longer a major hurdle.
We now advise and represent a large number of clients from other European countries, in particular from Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.
Initial consultation without obligation and guaranteed free for charge.
- Call us 24/7 hours
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Do I have to pay the required amount of COPYTRACK?
In the vast majority of cases, we can not advise you to do so because the sums expended in the letters or invoices are not set individually but are generated automatically. Because, according to COPYTRACK, the claim letters are created purely by machine. It is therefore not checked whether the claim is justified in the individual case of the amount. In all cases known to us, in the automated assessment of the photographer's or copyright owner's allegedly incurred license damage COPYTRACK falls back on the tariffs of MFM Mittelstandsgemeinschaft Foto-Marketing. This calculation model then quickly leads to absurdly expensive claims for damages at the expense of the warned.
MFM tariffs - what is it?
The MFM annually calculates the current fees for photo uses in Germany and publishes them as a booklet under the title "Bildhonorare". Whether the so-called MFM recommendations are suitable to calculate the license damage is controversial. The MFM recommendations are more of a one-sided definition of the providers than the representation of customary royalties for image usage rights. According to the case-law, the role of the MFM recommendations varies from case to case.
Are MFM tariffs applicable at all?
The question is legitimate. Because even the case law is already in doubt because the tariffs are set by a professional association of professional photographers unilaterally. In any case, the prerequisite is that the image was not used in a purely private context and that the photograph was also taken by a professional photographer (OLG Hamm, Urteil vom 13.02.2014, Az. 22 U 98/13) or had a quality similar to a professional photograph (OLG München, Urteil vom 05.12.2013, Az. 6 U 1448/13; LG Düsseldorf, Urteil vom 24.10.2012, Az. 23 S 386/11; LG Köln, Urteil vom 27.05.2014, Az.: 14 S 38/13).
Decisive: Can the photographer prove a license practice?
But the mere fact that the photograph was made by a professional photographer is also not enough. For this purpose, the district court of Berlin executes in one of our court decisions (Urteil vom 29.01.2016 - 16 O 522/14):
"The calculation of this license fee is not mechanically based on the MFM table. Decisive is rather the own licensing practice of the originator. The MFM table, which in any case is doubtful to what extent it actually reflects the usual licenses of professional photographers, can only be used if there is a corresponding licensing practice. The MFM table results in extremely high amounts of compensation, which in most cases do not match the photographer's licensing practice. The Federal Court of Justice now also assumes that the amounts in the MFM table are unreasonably high (GRUR 2015, 258 Rn. 75 – CT-Paradies)."
According to the Berlin case-law that we have co-opted, moreover, concrete proof requires that the image has actually been licensed at the tariffs specified in the MFM table - a proof which according to our experience does not often succeed.
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If so - just do not react and sit out the thing?
Although Copytrack only requires money from the contractor when Copytrack is paid, Copytrack does not shy away from our experience in legal fees to collect the claims. So if you do not answer, you can get mail from a lawyer. In cases known to us, the law firm Thomas Mauser from Mannheim was commissioned with the enforcement of the claim. If you persist even then, it can not be ruled out that the law office brings the claim for judicial enforcement. Corresponding cases are available for processing.
Avoid additional costs
This results in avoidable additional costs. So contact us early and benefit from our experience - the first conversation about your case is guaranteed free of charge.
Preventively meet injunctive relief?
If you are confronted with an invoice or payment request and you do not want to fulfill it or not in full amount, because the payment entitlements are excessive, it is advisable to consider making a preventive omission statement. In the cases known to us by the photographers or rights holders, Copytrack is not only legitimized to collect the payment claims, but also authorizes us to assert injunctive relief claims. If COPYTRACK sends the matter to an attorney's office for enforcement, there is a risk that the latter will file the injunctive relief claims. However, because the injunctive claims are filled with relatively high object values (in the case of commercial use regularly 6.000,00 EUR per photo, from which legal fees in the amount of 480,20 EUR net calculate), a further cost item arises in this case, which can be avoided.
What can we do for you?
We assess the letter or invoice from Copytrack. If there is actually an unauthorized use or if a license can not (no longer) be proven, we assume the mandate for Copytrack and offer a reasonable amount there and negotiate the claims. In no case we will recommend you to pay more than is appropriate in the specific case. Unlike Copytrack itself, where the assertion of the claim is automated, we evaluate each case separately and find an appropriate solution here.
What to do in case of a reprimand from Copytrack
Even if the abended copyright infringement was committed, this does not mean that the claim for damages must be paid in the amount claimed from Copytrack.
No, don't! As explained above, we consider the flat-rate application of the MFM fee table not legally permissible. Do not pay excessive damages.
Call at Copytrack?
No, don't! Do not complicate your legal defense by possibly revealing valuable information.
What should you pay attention to?
Since the claims of copyright are legally enforceable, in any case, the deadlines set in the warning should not be allowed to pass by negligence.
Have you also received a claim from COPYTRACK?
If you facing a claim from COPYTRACK or court proceedings for the use of photographs, you should seek legal advice. You are welcome to contact us – we have been advising and representing clients for years in these matters.
Free check: that's how easy it is:
- Send us the notice documents without obligation.
- We will check the legal situation and call you back as soon as possible.
- We will give you a free initial telephone consultation on the cost risk and chances of success of the case.
- On-site appointments are not required, but are also possible on request.
- We will respond immediately after instruction and handle your case promptly and on time.