A German Company is Attempting to Extort Money from SCARS for Displaying Evidence Photos!
As a part of our process to alert crime victims of the uses of stolen photos, SCARS displays such photos with the appropriate disclaimer.
Such use is a normal part of “Fair Use” under international copyright conventions and United States copyright law. In addition, since SCARS is a legal nonprofit, its use does not constitute commercial use.
SCARS has reported this attempt at extortion to the relevant U.S. and European law enforcement.
HERE IS THE EXTORTION DEMAND RECEIVED
Dear Sir or Madam,
Thank you for your reply.
For your convenience, we have reattached the documents and provided screenshots of the documents within the email.
All details of the use can be found in the attached documentation. The Case Report contains screenshots of the use and links to the webpage. The proforma invoice demonstrates the Post-License fee associated with the use. The authorization letter, signed by the rightsholder, sanctions us to offer retroactive Post-Licensing on their behalf. The image can also be found here: https://romancescamsnow.com/dating-scams/scammers-name-jan-janet-jean/
We assure you there is no malicious intent or security threat in these attachments. They are crucial in outlining the details of the infringement and for providing visual reference.
Please note, only removing the image will not resolve the unlicensed use which has already occurred. A license fee is still due to the rightsholder. To clarify, the Post-License we are offering is retroactive only (i.e. it covers the past use of the image) and does not license any ongoing use of the image.
If you believe a license is held to publish the image, please provide us with evidence of such which we can review with the rightsholder. If Blaublut can verify the license, we shall close the case immediately. If you don’t have a license, RYDE is here to help.
Unlicensed image use on the internet causes a great deal of economic harm to the creative community. Our goal is to help photographers receive fair pay for their work through retroactive licensing, whilst at the same time helping image users resolve their (often accidental) copyright infringements without the need for expensive and time-consuming legal settlements. In this way, we can represent the interests of both parties to reach an amicable solution to copyright disputes.
By purchasing a Post-License you can ensure you are free of liability for copyright infringement and bring this matter to a close without the need for escalation. Please confirm and we shall prepare a final invoice for you that contains all the necessary details in order to make payment, including a link to our online payment portal.
If you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to resolving this case with you.
RYDE Post-Licensing Team
OFFICE: +49 (0)30 80 208 1562
Waldemarstrasse 37a – 10999 Berlin, Germany Managing Director: Jan Denecke
Registered at the Commercial Register of the AG Charlottenburg, HRB 177000
HERE IS OUR RESPONSE TO THEIR DEMAND
Keep in mind that removal of the image was not their goal – it was to extort money from a legitimate use!
We have received your extortion email and are forwarding it the United States Deprrtmant of Homeland Security and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Our use of the images in question are clearly authroized under the fair use provisions of international copyright law, and particularly as evidence of a crime – namely their use by criminals in impersonation scams. Our actions do not infringe on the original copyrigh holder, they are instead eveidence of a copyright infringement by cybercriminals.
You threats and attempts to extort money from our organization from our legal use of the images in question, we believe is a violation of both international law and the laws of the United States. Additionally, we believe that you interference in the collection of evidence of trans-national crimes may represent obstruction of justice, and is being reported to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. As we are a crime prevention organization, your interference could be considered a crime in and of iteself. We will also report this interference with the German Bundespolizei and to Europol.
We consider your attempt at extortion to be a trans-national crime in and of itself.
The documents you have included with your extortion attempt have been retained and forwarded to law enforcement.
Regardless of your attempt at extortion, there is no commercial use involved in our display of such images and no copyright claim to be made. Appropriate disclaimers have been made on the image in question.
For our own convenience, we have removed the image from our website.
Any further contacts by your organization or attempts to disrupt our lawful activities will result in further criminal complaints.
Govern yourself accordingly.
Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
Main Office: Miami, Florida, U.S.A
A U.S. crime victims’ assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization providing services & support for scam victims worldwide.
Here are the extortion documents threatening SCARS for the use of one such image.
Why Display This?
First and foremost this is a public response to an attempt at international extortion from a completely proper use of the image in question for non-commercial evidentiary display.
Second, we wish to share this episode with others attempting to catalog unlawfully used images involved in transnational crime. Both for documentary purposes and for the purposes of helping the person displayed so they are not accused of being a cybercriminal.
Attempts like this can have a chilling influence on crime prevention and combatting online scams.
SCARS will continue to fight on behalf of all victims – those pictured and those directly scammed.
If you would like to help, please donate to SCARS to help us continue our mission on behalf of scam victims worldwide! Click here to donate to SCARS.