In the Trenches: How to Avoid Troll Bullies and Scams

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A very quick update.

You might notice my website has a new look. I could claim I was going for a new zen-like vibe, but that’s not it.

Nope. The reason for the new look is a close call with some of the webs most unsavory element – the Copyright Troll.

Wikipedia defines the element as : A copyright troll is a party (person or company) that enforces copyrights it owns for purposes of making money through strategic litigation, in a manner considered unduly aggressive or opportunistic, sometimes without producing or licensing the works it owns for paid distribution.

I’ll link to a couple of articles at the bottom of the article. Fortunately I was not the target of said legal bullying. (As a side note, I’m not ragging on copyright law, I fully support the creators rights over their work. Hey, I’m a creator – I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t. And I’m not going to devolve into a talk about AI here. That is a completely different topic.)

No what I’m pointing out are the opportunists who are scouring the web with software to find instances of ‘bait’ they have created and thrown out into the interwebz, usually on social media accounts with heavy traffic with the intent that their ‘clever meme’ or image should be used on someone else’s social media account – or website.

Now, they don’t go after the ‘big sites’, no, they go after the small individual sites. Like a friend of mine, who was sued for 240K. Yeah, you read that number right.

Now, here’s the scam, if you don’t know copyright law you might not know about ‘fair use’ and the conditions that constitute fair use. And here is where ignorance can bite you. If you don’t know what the parameters are for fair use, and you aren’t sure you are within those parameters, then a threatened law suit for 240K landing on your doorstep is terrifying.

Most of these law suits are threatened with the intent of causing alarm. The litigant knows they can scare the individual into settling out of court. Without knowing copyright you can make yourself a target. So, linked below are some articles to help you know what is ‘fair use’ and what isn’t.

When The Copyright Trolls Came for Me

The Rise of Copyright Trolls

What to Do When You Get a Letter From a Copyright Troll

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