Lawyer Needed

Discussion in 'Site Security & Legal Issues' started by Wes of StarArmy, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Wes of StarArmy

    Wes of StarArmy Adherent

    A disgruntled ex-member of my forum is has contact a lawyer and is apparently sending some sort of cease and desist letter trying to get me to remove his content. I was wondering if anyone here has experience with this sort of stuff and can recommend a lawyer to me (preferably one in Atlanta).
  2. doubt

    doubt Tazmanian

    It would cost you far too much.
    Are you sure that a lawyer is involved on his/her side?
  3. Matthew S

    Matthew S Adherent

    IANAL, but if your user agreement includes words to the effect that users grant you/your site perpetual license to any content they post, I'd tell them to go whistle.
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  4. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    I would do nothing until you get a letter from a law firm. If one calls or sends and email, ask for written (not email) correspondence. Then, if you get that, send them a letter back asking for the applicable law they are relying upon. etc etc. Make the lawyer do a little work, costing their client money. Like Matthew SMatthew S says, make sure your user agreement is up to snuff.

    But until you get written correspondence from a lawyer, on a law firm's letterhead -- I would just ignore the whole thing.
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  5. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

    I agree. I've experienced threats of this nature a few times but I don't recall anyone carry it through.
  6. Gnomenclature

    Gnomenclature Aspirant

    I concur with previous posters. Drive everything to snailmail exchanges with an actual lawyer. Odds are this former user is just trying to make trouble for you but will cease and desist himself once he has to pay actual money for a lawyer. It's pretty easy to concoct an plausible cease and desist these days. I wouldn't assume there's actually a lawyer involved.

    Also I don't know what your TOS says, but if it includes the much needed clause about how the user retains copyright but you have rights to publish what they post as you see fit, if a lawyer does get involved at some point you send them a copy of the TOS with the relevant passage highlighted.
  7. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    Yeah, me neither.

    But, its always possible that someone could pay a lawyer just to send you a letter with the hope of scaring you. Not very expensive to do that, and really it would be a bluff. Hence why I would try to continue the correspondence. I would ask questions, as for evidence, ask for time, ask for a removal fee.. All in different letters. Make the lawyer work and cost the client money. Then you'll know if its serious.
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  8. Pete

    Pete Flavours of Forums Forever

    In a little over 3 months, supporting 'remove my personal information' requests will be law in Europe, and potentially other places where EU citizens are members.

    However, that doesn't mean you have to remove all their posts when it does come into effect, only the personal information. (And things like IP addresses but there are arguments you can make about that kind of thing)
  9. CarpCharacin

    CarpCharacin Habitué

    You have this in your terms of service:
    You don't need a lawyer, if he sends you a cease and desist letter, ignore it.
  10. Wes of StarArmy

    Wes of StarArmy Adherent

    Thanks everyone with your assistance.
  11. Anton Chigurh

    Anton Chigurh Ultimate Badass

    They're going to sue "Wes of StarArmy."

  12. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    so -- what happened?
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  13. Wes of StarArmy

    Wes of StarArmy Adherent

    They're still sending threats and non-DCMA-compliant takedown requests but I still haven't got anything from an actual lawyer. I've actually been removing the requested content (images and wiki articles they uploaded) as a courtesy but they just keep coming.

    When I tried to get them to use the standard DMCA mechanism their leader lied to his site members by claiming I was 'illegal phishing' because I asked for them to follow the DCMA process which includes providing contact information.

    They are supposedly in contact with this law firm: and they are supposed going to send some sort of cease and desist, but I'm not sure what for since I already removed the stuff they asked to be removed. Besides, I am licensed to use that content anyway so I'm not sure what legal basis they think they have.
  14. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

    If its not a correct DCMA-compliant statement i would send it back. What you could also do if you know what he created deleted all content at once from this person and then explain to your community what happend. After that fill in the lost information it would take some time to have fill in all lost info but in the end its faster and more trouble some.

    Else you will need to hire a laywer and sort it out some law firm the first consult is free to see what they can mean for you.
  15. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    Ok, so contact that law firm and confirm he's a client. Ask they guy sending the dcma's what lawyer specifically he's dealing with. If there is one, which I bet there isn't, then deal with the lawyer directly and resolve the problems.
  16. palhanow

    palhanow Participant

    I'm sorry. I wish I could help you, but, I'm a lawyer only in Brazil.

    But, some things apply for all of countries, specially general principles of the law.

    In your case, you should not worry unless it became a real notification against you. But in my experience, some things always help the case, generally speaking:
    • Willing to demonstrate good faith in all aspects of the subject;
    • Willing to try to resolve this case in a extrajudicial way;
    • Trying to cooperate with all parts involved in the matter;
    Many advice on this Thread is going to help you:
    • Try to establish if your ex-user is really a client of this firm and after, trying to contact then;
    • You can even go personally to the law firm and try to speak to the lawyer. I don't know how the things is done in EUA, but, you can record the conversation without telling the other part;
    • Different from Brazil, in EUA, both of the parts are responsible for the costs of the process in the beginning. In Brazil the costs of the action are paid by the part that loose the action, in the end. Do you think your ex-user have the money to pay a bunch of lawyers just for a DCMA complain? This action really involve big copyrights issues?
    • Did anybody got offended or committed a crime against somebody honor? Like, calumnies; slander; or defamation? I'm asking because in Brazil this kind of crimes make consequences both in civil and criminal sphere of the law;
    • Ask for the legal grounds that are giving support for the case, this should help you to get a north to what is happening, in the basis of the law;
    • Did the ex-user requested with legitimacy to take down some of the content? If you did removed, you should be fine.
    • Your TOS give you the rights about the content? Apparently yes.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  17. Destroy Repeat

    Destroy Repeat

    I wouldn't have caved if I were you. If they uploaded the "content" themselves, then they're responsible for the "oops" mistake. I would have just waited for the actual lawyer letter as someone else said. Thing is, you gotta understand that there are trolls (jerks, and assholes), who will waste your time, your mindshare, and try to exhaust you.

    From my view, this "oops" move is to scare you into doing something you don't really want to do in the first place.

    Lawyers cost a lot of money, most people don't have this to carry through with a lawsuit, so stay calm.
  18. Craigles700

    Craigles700 Enthusiast

    I would do nothing until I got a summons to appear in court, then speak to the judge before the hearing.

    He would spend a fair amount of money to retain an attorney. I would call his bluff. If he is legit, I'd know when I got a summons, then I would meet with the judge and settle out of court.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  19. Wes of StarArmy

    Wes of StarArmy Adherent

    I will do this but from what I understand laywers might not be able to say who their clients are due to attorney-client privilege.

    As far as I know DCMAs don't need to be sent by a laywer. I am a registered DMCA agent for my site so I can quality for "safe harbor."
  20. sanction9

    sanction9 Enthusiast

    Haven't we been over this many times now and determined that you are not legally obligated to remove all of their posts, only their personal info? If it's copyrighted material, such as original photos or artwork, etc., then maybe, but otherwise I'd ignore this person.
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