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  1. #1
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    Question Celebrity fan website legal issues / avoiding a lawsuit

    Hello people, I'm new to this website and this is my first post.
    I have a question and I hope I can get an answer.

    I have a good experience with web-development, but no legal knowledge, which I think I want to improve.

    So, the thing is that years before I purchased a local domain name in my country. It is a .GE domain TLD. It was that I was going to create a celebrity web-site and host it someplace under that domain, but I never did it.

    However, then after some years, I decided to work on it and recently I finished a website. I did not upload it though, nor payed for a hosting service because of my thoughts about its legal issues.

    Site is including songs, videos, movies, photos, poems, articles and other stuff, in size it's more than 20 GB, size is not an issue thought. It's copyright, etc. (legal affairs)

    I have seen many similar sites (from fans to fans) and it inspired me that I won't have any legal issues, but I don't think things are that good.

    These materials I have from internet for free, and my website is going to be non-profit as well, but legal institutions would call my behavior as stealing materials from internet with no rights to publish them. So, I might get sued to pay or even they could send me to jail, I guess.

    Is there ways to avoid a lawsuit? Maybe if my website won't be in English and only in my local language it would help? Maybe not having files uploaded on my webserver, but having them link to other servers? Maybe a little message telling that I am not responsible and things like that?

    I really need help, because I put a lot of work into this website and I believe it is one of my best works.

    To be precise, I want to ask if I should give up and forget about the time and energy I wasted or is there any way of succeeding in this affair.

    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
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    Hi there,

    Welcome to the forums.

    In my opinion, it's quite simple: if you publish copyrighted material to which you don't hold the copyright, you'll open yourself to getting sued.
    I'm in Germany and I remember reading a case about a teenager who published copyrighted photos of Robbie Williams on their personal (non-profit) website.
    Predictably, they got sued by the copyright holders.
    The cost of purchasing these photos would have been 600€, but he or she was sued for 10,000€, as the lawyers work on a percentage basis.
    The teenager's parents said "We're not paying" and the case found its way to court.
    Unfortunately for them, the judge upheld the amount.
    The last I heard they were seeking help from the Minister for Justice (as being sued for 10,000€ over a 600€ copyright infringement is scandalous). I don't know if they were successful.

    I'm not a lawyer, but my advice would be don't do it
    Look on the episode as a learning experience and maybe try to use parts of the project elsewhere.

    That said, I'm not a lawyer.
    I'll watch this thread with intrest to see what other people think.

  3. #3
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    Hello Pull, thanks for your post and a welcome.

    It is a nice example that you gave, I have also heard about similar cases. Prince, for example sued his fans for a large amount of money. Probably all the celebrities' estates would do the same.

    However, my case is slightly different, because of the place I am coming from. I live in the eastern Europe, namely Georgia. This country serves domain names under .GE TLD. In here it is like you can find almost anything over the internet, new application license keys, any kind of videos for free, premium website templates, etc. This refers to a situation where there are basically no laws to offend you, so people almost do whatever they wish over internet, most of them (including me) have no much idea about legal matters.

    This is why my question is a slightly non-professional and hopes for a happy-risk.

    Thanks for watching this thread, I hope there will be some sort of legal advice as well, for example what are the options for making my website legit.

  4. #4
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    Hi,

    No problem

    Quote Originally Posted by tmpmember View Post
    However, my case is slightly different, because of the place I am coming from. I live in the eastern Europe, namely Georgia. This country serves domain names under .GE TLD. In here it is like you can find almost anything over the internet, new application license keys, any kind of videos for free, premium website templates, etc. This refers to a situation where there are basically no laws to offend you, so people almost do whatever they wish over internet, most of them (including me) have no much idea about legal matters.
    I know what you mean.
    I was visiting some friends in the Ukraine a couple of years back and it came up in conversation that one of them had some computer problems.
    I offered to have a look at her laptop and was quite shocked to see just how much software she had. All of it was very expensive and most of it she didn't even need.
    She told me the same thing as you (that you can get almost anything you want online for free) and she just laughed when I said that I pay for my software.
    This lady was over 50, with a good job (by the country's standards), so not your average teenage cracker / pirate.

    FWIW you can find all of the same things here online, if you know where to look.
    I just prefer to pay for my software / music / videos, because I can.
    This is probably quite a Western attitude.

    Good luck with your site.

  5. #5
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    My advice is to try it out. If there are people that use software worth more than 500 dollars why shouldn't you use couple of pictures and videos. If the website become successful and you decide to make it profitable you can make it all legal in very easy way, for example to websites like dailymail.co.uk use images hosted on services like gettyimages.com but the can be highly expensive.
    Good luck,

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NiceFellow View Post
    My advice is to try it out. If there are people that use software worth more than 500 dollars why shouldn't you use couple of pictures and videos.
    Apart from the fact that you're advising somebody to take action which, as already stated, is illegal, would you be happy with somebody stealing content - pictures, videos, etc. - from your website? Content for which you may well have had to pay a good price?

    Don't be arrogant. Be kind to a koala that thinks it's a bear.

  7. #7
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    He should just use the holes in the net. He will not be the only one, tons of pirated software is being downloaded every day why should't he use couple of pictures. But that's just my advice, its his decision.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NiceFellow View Post
    He should just use the holes in the net. He will not be the only one, tons of pirated software is being downloaded every day why should't he use couple of pictures.
    Because it's theft, and theft is illegal. People get murdered every day. Does that make it OK to go out and kill somebody, because other people are doing it?
    Don't be arrogant. Be kind to a koala that thinks it's a bear.

  9. #9
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    Listen Mr.TechnoBear obviously we have different experience and opinion, lets end this argument and let Pullo decide what he wants to do on his own.

    Cheers,

  10. #10
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    I'm with TechnoBear, but I don't think you meant me ...

  11. #11
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    Just to be not worried about it I wouldn't do it. I don't know what country are you from and what is the law there because I think you are obliged to obey law of your country first. Anyway if the material is really copyrighted you can get into trouble. Of course the chances are quite low - but it is your choice. The chances of getting caught while stealing a snickers from the store are also low but that does not mean you should try it.

    Can't you remove the copyrighted stuff and lanuch the website without them???
    http://www.yourshoutbox.com <- FREE chat for your website - limited offer
    http://www.smartchatbox.com <- let your visitors talk


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