Have you received a demand letter from Aird Berlis with the subject line claiming that you have committed an infringement of certain copyrighted works? Perhaps it is on behalf of Design Pics Inc. or another one of Aird Berlis’ clients. More likely than not, was sent by lawyer Kenneth R. Clark and it comes across as being quite forceful. Clark and his law firm have become active in representing plaintiffs with alleged copyright infringement cases, many of which actually arose based on the escalation of matters initially handled by PicRights, which we have written about at Heitner Legal. Do not ignore these letters. Instead, feel free to send them over to us for our review (free of charge), so we can best advise you as to what your next steps should be.
If you have received a letter from Kenneth R. Clark and/or his law firm Aird Berlisa, then feel free to contact us and include the reference number that is referenced in their letter. We keep all communications confidential, pride ourselves on quick and active responses, and do not charge for initial consultations.
While PicRights is not a law firm and neither is the underlying rights holder, oftentimes a group like Design Pics Inc., Aird Berlis does employ lawyers licensed to practice in various jurisdictions. By the time a matter reaches Aird Berlis, it has likely been escalated a couple of times and this is the last destination before it is put into litigation. That is why it is so important that, at this juncture, you consult with and retain reputable legal counsel, such as Heitner Legal, to represent your best interests by either negotiating a discount to their demand for compensation or making them go away altogether, depending on the specific circumstances of the claim.
You may have monetary-related defenses or perhaps defenses based on fair use or de minimis use. Heitner Legal will be happy to explore this for you but, in the meantime, we recommend removing any of the complained of content from your website and/or social media, depending on where the complained of content has been placed. There is also the possibility, in certain circumstances, that you can rely on what is called the “Server Test” to completely avoid any liability whatsoever. Again, that is something we will be happy to explore for you.
A letter from Kenneth R. Clark, much like a letter from practically any copyright plaintiff lawyer, will scare you into thinking that you will be liable for up to $30,000 per infringement based on innocent infringement and up to $150,000 per infringement if found to be willful. Sometimes, this firm will start with a demand below $30,000 to make you think that it is a reasonable request. It typically is not and it is usually a tactic to scare you. Instead of panicking, contact us and we will be happy to set aside your stress.