I recently got in touch with some wholesalers from china and they told me that they sell a very expensive software at a very cheap price. so i thought I could make some money selling those. I put many ads on Craigslist advertising that i am a wholesale dealer selling the product. My plan was that if someone order that from me , i would i have one of the wholesalers from china ship the product straight to them and get some money out off the deal. some people contacted me about the product but we never went all the way through. i was not able to sell any. I recently received an email accusing me for piracy. the email says that i violated the copyrights. I contacted the people and and explained them the situation and they told me that even though i never sold any, i violated the copyrights just by offering the product online. they asked me to pay some money and they will drop the case. if not i will be in big troubles. Am i really in trouble?? what should i do?
Missouri 64112 2011-01-05
Answer 2011-01-31 :
I see you still have no answer. I did not answer earlier as you sounded like a sleazy counterfeiter to me and I don’t want any sleazy clients – they tend not to pay their bills. Still, you deserve a response, and you may be honest and just made a mistake. You should hire a copyright attorney to give “the people” a response explaining that offering to sell a counterfeit is NOT copyright infringement if no copying occurs. If any of your ads result in a sale, even if you are not the one producing, shipping, distributing, etc. you are guilty of contributory infringement or inducing infringement. So, “the people” as you call them are probably right. However, that is not the end of the story. In advertising the software you have undoubtedly infringed on the software producer’s trademark, as well, and have even more liability, to the point they could sue you and perhaps get punitive damages and attorneys fees. So you need more than a copyright lawyer, you need an intellectual property lawyer versed in both trademark and copyright litigation to analyze the CDL (cease and desist letter), talk to the software company lawyers knowledgeably, and to assure them you learned your lesson and won’t be bothering them with counterfeits anymore. The word of a counterfeiter will mean nothing to them, but a lawyer’s assurance will. I am such a lawyer, and I am licensed in Missouri, and I am experienced in this type of situation. In fact, I have gotten letters like that myself from Charter, Microsoft and Autodesk when testing BitComet, Limewire, Grokster, Kazaa, and the like. There are other good IP lawyers in Missouri, but they will cost you more and likely know less. Before I do this for you I would need to chat with you (618-462-3450), for free, to be sure I would want to work for you on it, to find out who “the people” that wrote you are, and to discuss my fees for doing it. Specifically, if you are a counterfeiter who intends to keep counterfeiting and just wants to duck your responsibility in this case and keep infringing, I want nothing to do with you. If this was a mistake and you do not intend to repeat this, then I want to help you out. If you don’t call, I will know you are dishonest counterfeiter whom I would not want to work anyway. If you do call then I will expect you to do the right thing and stay legal and we can talk and I can probably solve this for you at minimal expense.