Dead horse? You’d think so. Copyright statutory damages, that is. We’ve been there, and done that, right?
Not according to Larry Zerner, who says the calls are still coming in:
Because my firm will sometimes handle copyright infringement cases on a contingency fee basis, I often get phone calls that go something like this.
Caller: I would like to sue someone for copyright infringement.
Me: Okay. What did they do?
Caller: They took a picture of mine and put it on their website.
Me: Are you a professional photographer?
Caller: No. But I registered the photograph with the Copyright Office. So now they owe me $150,000. Right? . . . Right?
This seems to be where the confusion comes in.
Well, see, that just means people aren’t reading the right blogs before picking up the phone! More:
[M]any people assume that I will jump at the chance to represent them on a contingency fee basis, because I will certainly be able to get a jury to award damages of $150,000 The problem is that they are not looking at the case realistically. Reader, ask yourself this question. If you were on a jury and had to decide statutory damages on a case where the sole infringement was that a photograph was put up on a website, are you going to give that photographer $150,000. Probably not.
He’s right, of course. Except when he’s wrong. But, no, he’s right.