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Anti-Infringement Company Caught Infringing On Its Website

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the pot-meet-kettle dept.

Canada 135

danomac writes "Canipre, a Canadian anti-infringement enforcement company, has been using photos on their official website without permission. This company hopes to bring U.S.-style copyright lawsuits to Canada, and they are the company behind Voltage's current lawsuits. It says right on their website, 'they all know it's wrong, and they're still doing it' overlaid on top of the image used without permission. Multiple photos from different photographers are used; none of them with permission. Canipre's response? 'We used a third party vendor to develop the website and they purchased images off of an image bank,' they said, trying to pass the blame to someone else. Some of the photos were released under the Creative Commons, meaning they could have used the photos legally if they'd provided proper attribution."

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135 comments

Does this surprise anyone? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43735877)

Does this sort of behavior still surprise anyone? The corporate world believes that it is immune from petty things like laws that apply to the rest of us. We've tacitly accepted "oh, some 3rd party messed up, not us" for so long that this is -- and will remain -- the norm (until governments start aggressively targeting corporations for violating the law).

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43735949)

No, it's not surprising at all. The parasites and thieves that use this business method - extortion and threats of lawsuits over usage of IP that doesn't actually belong to them - tend to be all about threats over IP usage, and not actually care in the least about other people's IP unless it's in a way that they can get money from.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (5, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43736145)

Not really. Think about it: businesses want website work done by the cheapest bidder. Who are the cheapest bidders? Well, there are hobby programmers, professional programmers doing some moonlighting, and a mega-ton of amateur / foreign programmers. The amateurs are unaware of the legal issues surrounding repurposing an image from Google Images...and foreign programmers do not care, as their country probably laughs at the idea of copyright violations. All this so some business, that 'really is going to make it big, honest,' can have a 40-page eCommerce website with the latest wizbang technologies for under $200.

It's kind of like when that guy offers to sell you a new Apple MacBook Air for only $200...and you buy it. You know that there's something funny about the situation, you know that $200 is awfully low for a website / new MacBook Air, but you figure, hey, I'm getting a great deal, and if I don't ask any questions, maybe I can get away with this. But deep down inside, you know that what you bought is probably 'hot' or that someone got royally screwed to get you that deal. But better them than you, right?

So where does this leave this company? Well, if the police are involved, they're going to get fined. They're protesting that they didn't know...but like a 'hot' MacBook Air, chances are they 'knew,' but chose not to 'know.' I believe there is actually something...some law...that the police have that covers this situation...doesn't come immediately to mind, but it does cover these kinds of circumstances.

Now, I could be wrong. They could have paid top dollar over what the local professional firms are charging, and got screwed. Or they could have just relied on it being a common business practice (safety in numbers) as a defense if it ever came up.

Disclaimer: I am a deeply bitter web developer, who has seen idiocy both in my own work, and in the actions of others.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43738527)

Then the company should be fined nonetheless. Its the only way to send a signal that cheapest in the short term might not be overall cheapest.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43738577)

I'd rather we just get rid of copyright.

EVERY country laughs at copyright violations. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43739061)

RIAA don't give a fig for copyright violations. Sony's root disk infringed on LAME's copyright for commercial purposes. They also "can't find" "obscure" artists (like Dolly Parton) for 20 years worth of royalties. MPAA allows Hollywood Accounting.

Each country will not pursue the claims of a foreign company for infringement of any "IP", see RIM vs Apple for example. And the government won't pursue corporations for copyright violations with any more than a wrist-slap (fined 30% of profits and a "naughty boy!" missive), so don't say it cares a fig for it.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736213)

Does this sort of behavior still surprise anyone? The corporate world believes that it is immune from petty things like laws that apply to the rest of us. We've tacitly accepted "oh, some 3rd party messed up, not us" for so long that this is -- and will remain -- the norm (until governments start aggressively targeting corporations for violating the law).

Surprising? No.

But do I find it totally fucked up that this kind of behavior is coming from the very company who's in the goddamn business of enforcing copyright? Ah, yes, I do.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (4, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | about a year ago | (#43736447)

I don't find it fucked up at all. This is expected behaviour. And it's not because it's coming from the very copyright trolls who want to better enforce these laws, it's because they're human like the rest of us (I can hear the collective gasp from here). They naturally treat digital media the same as the rest of us do - casually. Because there is no marginal cost - the same reason the rest of us have.

They, like many people, think that authors/artists should receive payment for their activities (instead of just for activities that their customers attribute some marginal value to), but, again, like many people, fail to see the disconnect that they prove with their own actions. We all do this - we say one thing, but when it comes time to do it, we take the easy way out, we cut corners. And then fail to see how hypocritical we are. However, most of us do this over trivial things and aren't trying to create a media circus around us about it. That doesn't mean we are less hypcritical, it means we just aren't caught, and the repurcussions are smaller.

All this does is provide another example of why they're wrong.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736555)

We all do this - we say one thing, but when it comes time to do it, we take the easy way out, we cut corners. And then fail to see how hypocritical we are.

Speak for yourself. Some of us either wouldn't do this in the first place, ideally - or we'd be horrified to find out that we have done this, and would take whatever steps were necessary to correct it and prevent its reoccurrance. What we *wouldn't* do is excuse it, cover it up, and justify it on the basis that lots of people visibly do the same (like you are doing). What other people do or don't do does not excuse/justify what I do.

Perhaps *you* are a hypocrite. That confession is yours to make, or not make. That's your choice and I respect it as such. But do not pretend to speak for all human beings. That is supreme arrogance.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (5, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | about a year ago | (#43736849)

And this... is a surpremely arrogant self-delusional response. If you can't admit your faults, that doesn't mean you don't have them. We all do. We all have our areas of extreme intelligence/specialty, and areas of extreme ignorance. Only the supremely ignorant are ignorant of their ignorance.

Of course, you completely missed the point as well, too focused on your righteous anger that someone called you a hypocrite, like everyone else.

The point is that since the behaviour they are so opposed to is just simple human behaviour, and that this is the marketplace we're talking about (they want us to buy their offerings even though we place no value on them, that's the marketplace), they're simply wrong, and they, themselves, are the evidence of it.

I'm not justifying their hypocracy. I'm pointing out that it, too, is completely normal, and thus not surprising. If you're surprised at it, it's most likely due to your denial of your own hypocracies, no matter how small. Only once you admit to your own normalness at hypocracies can you stop being surprised at this type of behaviour and then possibly find an antidote to it.

That they try to dodge their responsibility for behaving hypocritically shows that they, like you, are in denial of their own hypocracy. The difference is that they are having it pointed out to them very specifically, whereas with you I'm being general since I obviously don't know who you are. But you're human, I'm assuming, so that means that you therefore must be ignorant in some facets of life, like the rest of us. You must be tempted to act other than how you wish at times, and you must fail at that temptation at times. That's guaranteed. It's part of being human.

This dodge of responsibility also shows how complete their faith in their business model is, that they attempt to rationalise away and trivialize their misdeed instead of learn from it. While this, too, is normal, and thus unsurprising, again, that doesn't make it acceptable.

Maybe that's part of your point, too, that I'm somehow saying that just because it's unsurprising due to its normalcy it must therefore be acceptable. No. Just because one can understand a thing doesn't mean they have to agree with it or condone it. Just because I can understand that they, like myself, are hypocrites, doesn't mean I have to accept or condone their, or my, hypocracy. But understanding it may give an opportunity to combat it. Telling them they're wrong to their faces obviously isn't working.

Sorry, just because YOU'D do it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43739201)

No, you only want to project your own failings on everyone else so that your failures aren't really all that bad, since "everyone does them". How the hell do you know that the parent poster wouldn't do as they say?

YOU DON'T. But you INSIST you do.

And THAT is true arrogance.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43738771)

Human? Fuck you and them.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (4, Insightful)

djlowe (41723) | about a year ago | (#43736685)

Hi,

The corporate world believes that it is immune from petty things like laws that apply to the rest of us.

The corporate world believes that, because it *is* immune to the rule of law, especially here in the US. Having bought off politicians, who then create laws to benefit them, how could they believe otherwise?

(until governments start aggressively targeting corporations for violating the law).

That will never happen: Governments are now so co-opted by corporate interests that they are, in effect, simply tools for them, to further their goals.

The game isn't just rigged, it's now completely controlled. The people that governments were created to represent are now ignored, for the most part, and all of your representatives are corrupt, in one way or another.

Sad, but true.

But, you ALL deserve it: You've gotten exactly what you deserve, here in the US: By your neglect, lack of attention, care, towards your government, at all levels, you've allowed this to happen.

The US was founded upon one simple idea: The rights of the individual should be paramount. The Constitution, its Amendments, were crafted towards that. And of course, it's not the exact fault of any one of you reading this that this has failed. Rather, it's the culmination of YEARS of work, on the part of the greedy, the power-hungry, the mad, to erode the foundation of our country, which was, and IS: The belief that WE, as human beings, CAN, and SHOULD, be able to be free, to live our lives, exercise our skills, knowledge and intelligence to benefit ourselves, our families, our friends, first and foremost,as good people, kind people, with the idea that, in so doing, as good, decent human beings, we would ALL benefit, as we did so, EACH of us, then, now, and in the future, as we lived, trusted, and grew.

Our Founding Fathers created something beyond themselves, and gave it to us, and we as a people, as citizens, neglected it, let it pass into the hands of people that care only for themselves. That framework, as crafted and captured, however imperfectly, within the US Constitution and its Amendments, to permit us our lives, liberties, our pursuit of happiness, has been pre-empted by those that we've elevated by election, time and time again, to the point where such election is no longer under our purview or control.

We are now a nation of servitude, indebted by design, by laws crafted to create and ensure such.

But, all is NOT lost, even at this late date. Trust yourselves, and as you do so, believe in the gift of your life, each of you. And as you do so, KNOW that you share this moment in time, with so many others, so gifted, and that while life in general may not be fair, nor kind? You, each of you, can help make it so, if you only choose to do so.

Ignore those that promote fear, so that they may control you. They cannot help you, and seek only your subjugation. They want you to be afraid, so that they can offer the hope of release from that. Security, if you only give up your liberties, your free will, to them.

Theirs is the certainty that comes from slavery, and you'll only know it, when it is too late to mourn what you have lost.

Regards,

dj

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43738779)

If only you could save us, Brave Knight! But thanks for the advice Captain Hindsight.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736941)

"(until governments start aggressively targeting corporations for violating the law)."

NO - until they start prosecuting the PEOPLE who violated the law, not the legal fictions that are corporations. The liability protections are there to protect investors who have no involvement in how the corporations are run, not the executives and administrators who DO run the company.

$5k limit (4, Interesting)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about a year ago | (#43735911)

The limitation of liability in Canadian cases is $5k for all infringement in a court case for non-commercial copyright infringement, but the more likely "get" is just $100. When their first "successful" case goes through the court system with a judgement of $100, it will make the news headlines and their business model will be destroyed.

Re:$5k limit (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43736035)

The point of this is to frighten the foolish into paying. The foolish will not be aware that for the price of a letter from a lawyer stating "Send all further correspondence to the Firm of XXXX, YYYY and ZZZZ" (the first time I used a lawyer to do that, it cost me $150), these copyright trolls will go away. This is about extorting money from those ignorant of the legislative limits to damages.

Re:$5k limit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736135)

these copyright trolls will go away

If we prosecuted people for hypocrisy the same way we prosecute them for drug usage we could fix lots of things. Switching from the War on Some Drugs to the War on Corporate Hypocrisy would still keep the private prisons nice and full so their powerful lobbyists should be satiated.

Re:$5k limit (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43736177)

Look at this way. If you get a letter from anyone threatening legal action and demanding some sort of a payment to avoid it, you are a fool not to seek legal council. Whether this is a copyright troll, or a mean-spirited neighbor, even if you can't afford a lawyer, you can't afford not to retain one.

Re:$5k limit (0)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#43736257)

um if you can't afford a lawyer then you can't afford to retain one.

Lawyers are only for the rich, if your not rich you are going to get screwed.
Same goes for health insurance. if your rich enough that you don't need health insurance you can actually afford to pay for it.

Re:$5k limit (0)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year ago | (#43736407)

It's $500 to retain a lawyer. It's cash well spent.

Re:$5k limit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737725)

Where? I can't get one on retainer for less than $2,500 here in SoCal.

Re:$5k limit (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#43736715)

um if you can't afford a lawyer then you can't afford to retain one.

Lawyers are only for the rich, if your not rich you are going to get screwed.
Same goes for health insurance. if your rich enough that you don't need health insurance you can actually afford to pay for it.

I presume you're talking about the US -- this is all happening in Canada, where everyone has health insurance and cases like this would go to small claims court where you have to represent yourself, and loser pays (no lawyers fees involved).

The fact that these would end up in small claims is why their campaign for bulk suits will fail... that and the fact that Canadians have a very different cultural view of using/abusing the court system (which is already overloaded) than is generally held in the US -- and that includes judges in the system.

Re:$5k limit (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about a year ago | (#43737439)

um if you can't afford a lawyer then you can't afford to retain one.

And yet you have enough money to pay off the ridiculous extortion demand?

Re:$5k limit (3, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43736289)

I would say you are a fool to not just throw the letting in the trash and forget it ever happened. Unless you get served, you have no legal obligation to even acknowledge the existence of the company let alone the letter they sent out.

Re:$5k limit (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43737033)

re: Unless you get served, you have no legal obligation to even acknowledge the existence of the company let alone the letter they sent out.
.
Is that really true? Just avoiding service / delivery of the message is enough to keep you clear of trouble? That doesn't sound quite right or sane, but then again, nothing in this world of lawsuits and copyright is on this side of the sane/insane dividing line...

Re:$5k limit (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43737161)

if it can not be verified that you in fact got said letter, how can it be used against you?

it wont keep you out of trouble because eventually it will catch up with you (if legal and not just a strong arm email)

Re:$5k limit (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about a year ago | (#43738465)

I believe the thought was:

Threats are not notices of suit. That is, the company has not yet filed suit against you. Therefore, you have no legal obligation to respond.

The problem (or the threat) being, if you do want to settle, the company then files the suit and may say "too late, we're making an example of you now."

Your choice, but be aware of where preemptive settlement ends and legal recourse begins. Myself, I'd get a lawyer's advice when the threat comes in. At the least, I'd feel more comfortable sleeping assured. At best, you've already found someone to handle it if you DO get served.

Re:$5k limit (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year ago | (#43739473)

Myself, I'd get a lawyer's advice when the threat comes in. At the least, I'd feel more comfortable sleeping assured. At best, you've already found someone to handle it if you DO get served.

So what reassuring words will your lawyer tell you so that you can sleep assured? That the other party has a case and your in trouble? Or the other party may or may not have a case, but can still file a case anyways and cost a non-trivial amount of money just to start to defend against it.

It's doubtful any lawyer would ever tell you that they have no case and you have absolutely nothing to worry about. If he does, then you need to find a new lawyer as the courts are full of cases where the plaintiff doesn't have a case but yet they are still there.

Re:$5k limit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736305)

Look at this way. If you get a letter from anyone threatening legal action and demanding some sort of a payment to avoid it, you are a fool not to seek legal council. Whether this is a copyright troll, or a mean-spirited neighbor, even if you can't afford a lawyer, you can't afford not to retain one.

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head.

Compared to the cost of losing a lawsuit or a default judgment, retaining an attorney to send a "go pound sand up your ass" letter to whoever is threatening you is dirt cheap. Satisfying, too.

It may not always work, but I was able to get a Fortune 500 company off my ass for $400 in attorney's fees.

Re:$5k limit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736861)

Whether this is a copyright troll, or a mean-spirited neighbor, even if you can't afford a lawyer, you can't afford not to retain one.

Absolutely not true! We have a lot of services setup to help people settle disputes without resorting to lawyers. Your first step should always be to contact the agency related to the area of dispute and see if they can help. You've already paid for it through your taxes so might as well use the service, and thank your fortunes you're not living in the States.

Re:$5k limit (1)

socode (703891) | about a year ago | (#43739111)

> If you get a letter from anyone threatening legal action and demanding some sort of a payment to avoid it, you are a fool not to seek legal council.

Not really, since you have "judgement" which is free to exercise. Getting legal counsel is however a good way to rack up a bill, whilst your lawyer may spend as little time as possible on your case, or even give completely incorrect advice.

Re:$5k limit (2, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#43739205)

The point is that threatening legal action costs the person you're threatening. Not everyone even has a few hundred dollars to retain a lawyer no matter how briefly. Yes, you might "get it all back" but at great risk even if you are completely innocent and the charges are groundless.

A threatening letter from a lawyer doesn't have to go through another expensive lawyer. Sure, if you try to get clever, you can dig yourself in deeper, but the fact is that if you can't afford to fight the case, then you sure as hell can't afford to do anything at all - even the simplest of letters from your lawyer will not make the case go away every time, but will cause huge bills unless you find a no-win, no-fee lawyer.

Courts are quite reasonable in this regard. You just write back a letter that says "I have received your letter dated XX/XX/XXXX. I believe it to be without merit." (or similar). That's it. Just send it back. Let *them* take *you* to court if you're sure you're innocent. There, THEY have to prove YOU did it. With expensive lawyers and to a legal standard. And once you get there, junior lawyers will often jump for the chance to advise on a case for free. Once it's in court, your legal fees will be paid if you're victorious and it will be stupidly expensive if not so you have nothing to lose. Hell, if you are forced to take out a loan to hire a lawyer, it can often happen that the other side has to pay the loan too. And you will KNOW that it's time to hire a lawyer or face worse problems.

However, before it gets to court, there's no point settling unless you are guilty (and sometimes not even then) as it will only be to your detriment. Settlement paperwork often has clauses that say you were guilty and accept that you did it. It's then an irrevocable fact of law that you can't ever contest. This is also why "no comment" exists, and why you have the right to say nothing when arrested, and why you SHOULD say nothing until a lawyer arrives. However, if you are innocent, there's no harm in saying "No, I didn't do that, etc." By letter, being silent is easily confused with ignorance, disregard, attempts to evade justice, etc. so you just write back and say, in effect, "Nope".

Even if settle only to get away from the case, you are forever taking responsibility for that event. If it later comes up in another case that "if you did X, then you must have done Y" (i.e. if you downloaded that tune at that time on that day, then that MUST have been you driving your car past your house a minute earlier, etc.) then you are stuffed.

Until something lands in court, you don't need a lawyer. It may be prudent if you can afford it, but lots of people can't. And in the same way you don't need a lawyer to go over your terms and conditions of every service you use, or approve everything you say to a sales person, you don't need a lawyer in the early stages of response to threats like that.

I have been threatened with court several times. Funnily, it's never actually happened.

First, over a mobile phone contract (with phone) that never arrived at my door, was never signed by me, and I phoned up to REPORT IT MISSING / STOLEN. They wanted to force me to pay for the contract (for the whole year!), pay for the missing phone, pay for any replacement, etc. They threatened all sorts, in writing and on the phone. I wrote back, stated my side, and let them get on with it.

I can see it from their point of view - I ordered a phone, it might have arrived and I've done a runner with it. Sure. I get that. It's a valid case that there might be a simple answer to or that might need taking to court to get to the facts of the matter.

They harassed me for a month with letters and phone calls and after a while, I just stopped answering or answered only with "Sorry, your company has threatened me with legal action. Therefore, I will not discuss the issue."

In the end, I had the bank force a refund of my money that they'd taken (with zero problems, actually, it took only ten minutes and no paperwork - good old Direct Debit scheme!). Which made them even angrier, and they threatened even more, including recouping their bank default charges etc. And, after a month I received a letter. "We're sorry... " blah, blah, blah. And they "generously" decided not to charge me for the chargeback.

Because, I assume, by that point a lawyer had actually looked at the case and decided that they had no proof of postage, let alone proof of receipt, no received contract, no authorisation from myself for the funds given (they are supposed to be taken only on verification of the contract, and the contract was presumably in the box that never arrived!), no way to prove any sort of malice on my behalf, and I had phoned THEM up to report the phone missing and DEMANDED they place it on the IMEI blacklist that my country uses (so even if I had "stolen" the phone, it would have been useless from that point onwards).

You can threaten all you like. Until it's in court, it doesn't matter and actually until then, the less you say, the better. But silence isn't the best option either. It's only if you're playing dodgy legal games that saying things will hurt your case, though. And even when you get a letter from a lawyer who may have a case, until it gets to a court it still doesn't matter.

Case in point: I collided with a car, in my car. It was a little knock, but my fault. It went through the insurance, all legal. A year later, I get a snotty letter from the other driver's insurance company's lawyer (on letter-headed paper, and with any amount of legal threats) demanding I pay £9000 because my insurers hadn't paid out despite agreeing to do so. It threatened court action and taking my money and all sorts. It looked very scary, I give them that, and cited lots of technical legal mumbo-jumbo.

I sent a letter back. It said that they had no recourse through myself, that my insurer was the only entity they had any business talking to, that there were compensation schemes and regulators whom they need to take their complaint to for it to have any merit (and still wouldn't involve me, even in my insurers had gone bankrupt), and that - even if I was wrong - what my insurer agreed as reasonable costs isn't in any way binding on myself.

Additionally, they are lawyers, and they know this - they knew this before they started writing the letter - and they shouldn't be sending me such letters at all. I threatened to report them to their bar. I got a letter back that was equally snotty, but didn't address any of my points. I ignored it. Haven't heard back from them in 4 years. But the guy I hit? He didn't even know anything about it and has had all his work paid for a long time ago, and my insurer's happily reinsured me for years, are still in business etc.

I can only assume there was some dispute over the £9000 charge (which seems very excessive for what damage was caused) and the lawyers were hoping to scare me into either paying or pressuring my insurer's to pay it.

I did a little basic research, told them where to go, and at all times made my view clear. It cost me nothing. I imagine it cost them a lot more then it needed to (probably why they charge £9000 for a dent). I imagine they couldn't possibly have made me pay that in a court and it would have been laughed out, but they could have made an awful mess of my life in the meantime if they'd tried to. But I also imagine that some people just pay up because it's a scary letter from a lawyer.

I was renting a house once with someone. The plumbing blocked meaning we had no toilet. In law, the landlord (or their agent) is responsible for fixing that, and it's a public-health sort of law, not just "Well, we'll get round to it in 30 days or so". Phoned up the landlord's agent, they refused to send someone out to fix it, or give the landlords details. Not just "that day", but ever. So just kept phoning and phoning and phoning.

They threatened me with ALL sorts. I told them they can do what they like, because when the policeman knocks on my door asking why I'm "harassing" them with phonecalls in their little office, I'll be quite happy to explain the situation. Strangely it didn't happen. Nor their threats to sue me. Strangely, I had a plumber on my doorstep at 9am the next day. Strangely, I also had the landlord come around because he'd heard that I'd "been harassing the agent" and it was then that he discovered that I had proof of paying the rent that the agent said they'd never received from me and never passed onto the landlord (I didn't know anything about that, but it was certainly entertaining when the landlord found out, and he was very nice about it, very reasonable and dealt with me direct from them on, and sued the agency, I believe. But if the situation had continued you could quite easily see the agency throwing me out and not telling me why because they'd told the landlord I'd not paid the rent!).

They threatened me with police, with lawyers, with everything you can imagine. But, in the end, it never materialised. And, in fact, my threat to report them to Companies House wasn't as empty as their threats. And - purely because I wanted to dig down into the agency and find out who was in charge - their absence of prominent display of company registration details on their website, their paperwork, and their place of business (which *almost* stopped me finding out who was actually director of the company) just meant that they had to have a word with a government agency and pay THOUSANDS to replace all their stationery and change their website to include said details. And pay for the emergency plumber. And the follow-up work he recommended. And compensate the landlord. And lose all his future custom on several properties.

Funnily, at no point did they mention the "harassment" after that, or try to sue me for destroying their reputation, etc.

I had a friend get one of the infamous letters from ACS:Law. Told them to ignore it, write back a simple letter saying "No" in posh words. All the people who fought it - even the genuine innocents - lost out when ACS:Law was declared bankrupt by its owner. Sometimes thousands of pounds more than it would have cost to settle. But the ones who wrote back "No"? Never even got to court. They were just ignored by ACS:Law and their cases forgotten about. They knew they were meritless, they were just trying to cash in quickly. The people who took them to court caused the company's bankruptcy because they never expected anyone to actually bother to fight it.

Don't get clever. If it gets complex, call in a lawyer. But 99.9% of these things can be handled by denial or coming to the settlement yourself (a settlement is a two-way agreement, not just what they put on paper, so even if you were guilty of pirating, say, $10 of music, you could offer to pay $10 or even $20 first and see how that goes).

Cooperate, even in the face of ridiculous accusations or outright lies, but that doesn't mean capitulate. And then if it ever does goes before a court, you're extremely unlikely to have done anything to make the situation worse for yourself and quite likely to have made it MUCH worse for the other side. What do you think a judge would make of a case involving the "unauthorised copying" of $10 of music which a lawyer then tries to turn into a $5000 settlement / fight, plus legal expenses, and waste the court's time - when the accused is perfectly happy to pay reasonable recompense from the start?

Don't be an idiot, and you'll be fine. Once it gets to court, bring in backup - at that point it's win or lose so you need to make damn sure you win. Before that? Nothing much matters so long as you don't write "I did it, but ha ha, fuck you".

And 99.9% of everyone who threatens you with court action - even lawyers - know that it would never stand or would cost so much it wouldn't be worth it. And when it would stand up, they'll issue you a court order or similar legal notice first.

Re:$5k limit (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a year ago | (#43736295)

Quagmire.

I suspect that anyone in the business would do well to pull down a snapshot of their site and this discussion.

One can clearly challenge their valuation and subpoena their payment records for content they have not complied with.

It makes sense to "Be Safe in a Dark Movie Theatre"

Re:$5k limit (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | about a year ago | (#43736249)

This is not non-commercial, right? The $5,000 limit shouldn't apply. Where to read about that limitation?

Re:$5k limit (1)

Vhann (1862350) | about a year ago | (#43736763)

I think what your Parent meant was that illegally downloading movies is non-commercial (in the cases we are talking about at least) and that the worst those people would face should they decide to go to court is 5000$ (with a likely fine of 100$).

Re:$5k limit (0)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#43736411)

Well guess what? These guys are already trying the "but it's actually commercial infringement" crap up here. Because it was traded through various P2P services. Being realistic though CIPPIC will be the one arguing the case between Teksavvy and Voltage which will be the case law precedent.

Re:$5k limit (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#43738003)

Always nice to see a mod out there with an agenda. I wonder if it's a CANvampire troll or a Vontage troll with mods points today.

OK, Here's What Needs to Happen Next (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43735917)

Every artist with any IP on the web should send letters to Canipre, informing them that they will be sued for potential copyright infringement if they do not fork over $7,500 immediately.

In other words, give them a heaping helping of their own medicine.

Re:OK, Here's What Needs to Happen Next (5, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year ago | (#43736483)

The Canadian way:

Lobby your local Canadian MP to place a tarrif on all Corporate websites by pixel. The tarrif goes into a fund which is paid to Canadians who own cameras.

Re:OK, Here's What Needs to Happen Next (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43737763)

I'm trying not to fall for the hype as everyone does, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

They claim they bought the photos from an image bank: if so, at least they tried to do the right thing, by paying for photos. I myself have been looking into buying stuff for my web site that way - didn't do it as it didn't have the material I wanted.

So if they really did buy from an image bank, and the original photographer did not license the image bank to sell their images for them, then the image bank should be the one being sued, not the web site the material appears on. If you can't even be sure that you do not get legal problems (other than requirement to stop using such material), why use the image bank at all?

You can not expect a web site developer to double check all copyright claims. They need an image, find a suitable one on an image bank, pay the fee, use it. Just like when you go to say iTunes, download a movie or some songs, and you assume that you have a legit copy.

To me it seems that this Canpire should simply stop using the images in question, and claim back their money from the image bank where they bought the material. And the photographers should sue the image bank for unlawful distribution of their work.

Re:OK, Here's What Needs to Happen Next (2)

statusbar (314703) | about a year ago | (#43738095)

They haven't said which image bank they used. It doesn't matter how they got ahold of stolen material, right? The photographers need to sue the infringing party. The infringing party can then sue the image bank or the employee or whoever was responsible.

Re:OK, Here's What Needs to Happen Next (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43738267)

They may have good reasons to not splash those names around on general news sites, for risking defamation suits or so. That is something for them to settle with the copyright holder. Let them first figure out what happened really before naming and shaming people.

Re:OK, Here's What Needs to Happen Next (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#43738659)

I'm trying not to fall for the hype as everyone does, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

They're lucky they're not being treated the same way that they treat others.

Re:OK, Here's What Needs to Happen Next (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43738741)

And there are obviously people who don't like to hear reason - hence my comment was down modded.

I for one treat them the same as I treat everyone else in this matter. Found to be infringing - be informed - they take down the offending material & come with a plausible explanation on how it came to be; case closed for me. If copyright holders don't think so, let them take action. That's how it should be.

Unfortunately those organisations themselves don't tend to be reasonable... the ridiculous fines they help impose on infringers are just one aspect of that.

The essence of the pigopolist's moral compass (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about a year ago | (#43735999)

"If you aren't paying me, it's wrong. If I'm not paying you, it's just sharp business."

Canpire (3)

kinthalas (102827) | about a year ago | (#43736017)

I see it's spelled "Canipre", but one flip and it's Canpire. Canada-vampire. Canpire.

For a copyright organization. That wants to pull fees from everyone for ever.

Did no one think of this?

Re:Canpire (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year ago | (#43736487)

Cool anagram, bro.

And then they posted the complaint.. (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year ago | (#43736055)

And then they posted the complaint about it on their website and publicly ridiculed the copyright holders while leaving the material up, after moving it to a different server, citing that they're not actually hosting the files so the copyright holders should complain with whoever owns random-server-in-the-Seychelles, right?

Oh. They removed the images. Well, crap.

Still, hypocrits! Clearly they condone piracy and I feel justified in downloading Tears of Steel through TPB just now!

Re:And then they posted the complaint.. (2)

Zaelath (2588189) | about a year ago | (#43736175)

Yeah, no. If you're going to be holier-than-thou, you need to actually be holier. Just because American politicians can campaign on family values then take their mistress on a shagging holiday, then still get re-elected after a contrite "sorry I got caught", doesn't make it less hypocritical.

Besides, two wrongs don't make a right, that's just your straw man.

Re:And then they posted the complaint.. (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year ago | (#43739401)

No, if I were to be holier-than-thou I wouldn't be working toward the abolition of copyright (see comments from waaaaaaaay long ago, but they still hold. Copyright needs to go.)

I'm also not saying it's not hypocritical. Of course it's hypocritical. On the other hand, there's a difference between, and let's roll with your example here, the politician shagging a mistress once, getting caught, admitting it to their constituents, typically going into family counselling and all that.. and the politician calling for a press conference, saying "yeah, I shagged my mistress so what? Hell, she's giving me a bj right now" (cue camera pan to reveal mistress on knees behind the mike stand).. and not just once, but continually.

It doesn't make the singular infringement less bad, and certainly does little to repair damages done to their credibility as a champion for family values - but the latter scenario should have even the most devout of campaigners thinking he should pack up.

As for the straw man that you allege is just mine: I assure you, it's not, it's called sarcasm. Tell me you've never seen the comments that make that jump in logic ( unless those were all mine, too, of course ;) )

Re:And then they posted the complaint.. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43736425)

I think you've got one too many loose screws, buddy.

Re:And then they posted the complaint.. (1)

Jorgensen (313325) | about a year ago | (#43738441)

Go ahead. Download Tears of Steel. From wherever. You're allowed to - it is licensed under the Creative Commons Attributions 3.0 license, so you're allowed to! Be sure to read the license before re-sharing though - you'll have to give credit where credit is due.

See http://mango.blender.org/sharing/ [blender.org] for details.

Re:And then they posted the complaint.. (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year ago | (#43739309)

Yeahhh that would be why I picked that title ;)

Re:And then they posted the complaint.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43738823)

Does your brilliant logic imply that, if I ever get caught (red-handed) infringing on someone else's copyright, I can just say "oh, my bad." (or, even better, use the Canipre defense... "it wasn't me... it was my sister or some random unnamed third-party"), delete the file from my storage, and it's as if I never commited copyright infringement.

So... copyright infringement is ok, as long as you're not "ridiculing" (however that's legally defined) the copyright owners? Ok, got it. Nice to know...

Re:And then they posted the complaint.. (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year ago | (#43739319)

Absolutely not. My brilliant logic(?) says nothing about the act itself, but only about how it was handled once discovered/pointed out. It was still handled badly, mind you, but at least it wasn't handled in a "yeah? so what? screw you." fashion.

If the copyright holders wish to go after this bunch, I say more power to them - and I should hope that Canipre would do a mea culpa to the full legal extent (though I doubt they will).

No big deal (2)

hduff (570443) | about a year ago | (#43736059)

It's OK when the champions of rights actually abuse and ignore those same rights when honoring those rights is inconvenient for them because, you know, they are champions of those rights.

Move along, citizen, there is nothing to see here.

Re:No big deal (5, Funny)

lucm (889690) | about a year ago | (#43736125)

It's OK when the champions of rights actually abuse and ignore those same rights when honoring those rights is inconvenient for them because, you know, they are champions of those rights.

Move along, citizen, there is nothing to see here.

It's called the Jack Bauer principle

Re:No big deal (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year ago | (#43736163)

It's OK when the champions of rights actually abuse and ignore those same rights when honoring those rights is inconvenient for them because, you know, they are champions of those rights.

Move along, citizen, there is nothing to see here.

I hate companies like Canipre as much as anyone else, but there are much more important things to criticize then for other than using a couple of Creative Commons photos without proper attribution.

Re:No big deal (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43736333)

It is the same thing as the FBI and IRS going after capone for tax evasion. You go with what you can. yes there are better things (in our slashdot minds) to go after them for, but if you can go after them for breaking the same laws that they claim to be going after others for breaking, it really throws a wrench in things. Capone killed people, sold (at the time) illegal booze and probably numerous other illegal activities, but in the end, it was taxes that took him down, because eventhough it was arguably the tamest of his crimes, it was the one they could make stick.

Re:No big deal (2)

Ignacio (1465) | about a year ago | (#43736347)

Sure, but if you're going to throw the book at them, make sure you've highlighted all the relevant sections first.

Re:No big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736429)

I hate companies like Canipre as much as anyone else, but there are much more important things to criticize then for other than using a couple of Creative Commons photos without proper attribution.

Oh, they're being criticised plenty for those things too. Don't worry.

Re:No big deal (1)

hduff (570443) | about a year ago | (#43736611)

I hate companies like Canipre as much as anyone else, but there are much more important things to criticize then for other than using a couple of Creative Commons photos without proper attribution.

It speaks to their character.

Re:No big deal (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#43739087)

If a company's entire business model is enforcing copyright, then they ought to be very careful when respecting other peoples' copyright.

Re:No big deal (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43737773)

They removed the offending material (which they bought from an image bank, a very reasonable claim), so apparently they do care.

Why isn't it plausible? (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43736143)

I, for one, find this an eminently plausible explanation. I used to produce unique content, and found people ripping me off all the time. Every time I contacted the site owner, they were genuinely unaware that they had infringed. Either their worker had copied & pasted, or the company they hired for the website copied & pasted. Usually it just took a polite letter to get the infringing material taken down, and the other site owner replied that the guilty party had been scolded or fired.

Ah, but here we are: a story that we want to believe is true. It fits so perfectly! Copyright is such a Slashdot pet issue, the villain is already cast in the role, all that's needed is for everyone to play their parts in the crowd for the Two Minutes' Hate. Remember this the next time the media sets up a villain for a fall and you're standing there saying, "Hey, hey, hey! Why I am the only one that notices they're obviously ignoring this part of the story because it doesn't fit their narrative!"

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#43736223)

Of course it is plausible that a firm whose business is copyright has no clue about copyright.

Re: Why isn't it plausible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736581)

Yes, it's ridiculous and ironic that a company who gets paid to sue people for copyright violations is caught copyright.

Still, it does show how horribly complex the system is. In this case the "experts" can't even maintain compliance. And if they can't do it, what hope does the musician sampling an old song for their new one have? What about the independent filmmaker or the college students exploring content on P2P networks or BitTorrent?

It undermines the arguments for huge fines, punitive damages, and Internet bans.

The "experts" can't even do it.

Re: Why isn't it plausible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737107)

Experts? The fuck? What kind of expertise does it take to understand that unless you have a receipt that you paid for the license, or have a printout of a license that allows free use under certain rules, you have no right to use it. It's very simple really. One can explain it to a 6 year old.

Re: Why isn't it plausible? (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year ago | (#43738705)

What if it's an old image? You don't need any license if the copyright has expired.

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736247)

Woosh! There goes the irony of it all right over your head.

Fact is most other decent human beings are not extorting other people and threatening with bankcrupt-worthy court cases. It doesn't matter if they infringed willfully or not. They didn't bother to follow their own rules, and expect other people to give them their money for rules they break themselves. Not out of charity, but under the threat of destroying lives, reputations and careers.

Captcha: evident

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43736521)

Who said anything about extortion? You put that in there yourself. All we're talking about is the likelihood that the firm had no idea that the web design company copied.

It's not "irony right over my head" it's looking at the situation dispassionately, which due to the obvious nature of this story everyone is failing to do.

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737351)

All we're talking about is the likelihood that the firm had no idea that the web design company copied.

And, in spite of acting in the copyright law domain, they didn't bother to put up checks on how the contracted company respected the copyright.
I surmise it may be a natural reaction for a company that would look at copyright infringements only if it they stand to gain something from doing it.

How would it be if an environmental organisation would contract their office cleaning to a company that dumps all the expired/exhausted cleaning chemicals into the rivers the city draws its drinking water? Would "But... I didn't know" be a valid excuse?

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (3, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43736335)

its also plausible they just told you what you wanted to hear to make you go away, knowing the entire time they took your work

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (3)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#43736587)

Of course its plausible. It happens all the time and yes it usually just requires a polite letter to fix the issue.

That's PRECISELY the point. This companies entire business model is to go after people who make the same sort of slip they themselves made and threaten them with giant extortion style lawsuits with settlement offers to extract a payment.

Yet, when its pointed out that they have made the very same of slip up on their own website, suddenly an "oops somebody else did it, we didn't know, we'll take it down" is supposed to be ok?

Do you think they accept that sort of response when they sue someone else for exactly the same thing?

Not only are they "the villain" but they appear to be a pretty hypocritical one too.

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43737601)

Again, nobody said anything about extortion, you put that in there. The company said they contracted the website out and the contractor was responsible. Nobody seems to be able to understand this because everyone is SOOO caught up in the delicious, savory chanting of the Two Minutes' Hate. Hypocrisy requires intent. Intent that is very plausibly absent.

so is their subcontractor their agent? (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43737827)

intent? What about "agency"? They hired a company to do some work for them: they effectively made this other company and that other company's workers their "agent" to get that work done. So why should the original company be indemnified from the wrong-doing performed by their agents on their behalf? Do they have a contract saying "do work X, but if you do it wrong or illegally, you are fully to blame and we shall be held harmless"?? Because if they don't have such a contract, did they possibly induce someone into copyright infringement on their behalf?
.
Oh, right, that's the whole point of "corporate" personhood: if there's profit, "it's all my responsibility and my profit"; if there's any liability, "screw that, I'm out of here and not responsible at all!" !! That's the mantra of Bain Capital too, isn't it?
.
;>) cynical, and proud of being cynical.

Re:so is their subcontractor their agent? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43737861)

Where the F did Bain Capital come in to this? Enjoying the Two Minutes' Hate, are we? We do know that Romney lost, right? I hope you know he lost.

Point: is their subcontractor their agent? (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43737971)

random neuron firing after the "corporate personhood" comment reminded me of Bain. Not " hatin' "; 'twas just a mere memory and recollection. But seriously, discuss the concept of agency and whether or not a corporate person can disavow "intent" through the hiring of an "agent" as their actor. That's the crux of my comment; don't get sidetracked by my random neuron firings!

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43737791)

Is it so strange to buy photos off an image bank for your web site? I'd say that is normal practice for someone that actually DOES care about copyrights, becuase they paid for the stuff. Image bank claims they have the rights to the stuff; while they didn't; then image bank is bad. No simple copy/paste done.

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#43736643)

It is entirely plausible that it was a honest mistake. But a mistake does not overturn a crime, it does not matter if you had no idea who if anyone owned a song you downloaded or not.

So the question remains, does this corporation think that it deserves to pay 5000 times cost of the items it infringed on, or do they think they should get off scot free?

Re:Why isn't it plausible? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43736863)

That's fine... they've been informed. They claim to have received rights from a third party. If they've actually named the third party, then the obvious thing to do is go after the third party (the company still loses their rights to use infringing content, however, and can reasonably sue the party that they obtained the illicit license from). If they will not or cannot name the third party they obtained if from, then accountability stops with them, and they are held 100% responsible.

It's a trap! (2)

Tamran (1424955) | about a year ago | (#43736171)

I believe this is a trap to get everyone to enforce full justice in order to give them a case study for which to use as a basis for future lawsuits.

Tread carefully folks.

Re: It's a trap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736913)

My husband and I believe this as well. This could be a scapegoat subsidiary designed to set precedence.

Re: It's a trap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737201)

Well, in canada we have two sets of rules for infrengement now. Individuals which is capped at $5,000 and commercial which i beleive is $20,000. Perhaps they want to put their company through the process to see if they get the full $20,000 fine?

Another Day at the Office (-1, Offtopic)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year ago | (#43736195)

This doesn't really surprise me as governments are against piracy yet they steal from it's people every day.

Damages time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736229)

So that'll be statutory damages they owe of $150,000 multiplied by the number of infringing photos? Awesome :)

Is this unusual? (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#43736599)

Or do most websites have at least some infringing content?

Re:Is this unusual? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43738529)

While I'm not sure about most other sites, I know Slashdot itself has frequently been hosting content copyrighted by others...

(c) 2013, Anonymous Coward inc.

Re:Is this unusual? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43739359)

No, of course it isn't unusual. But usually when I find my photos have been used without permission I don't immediately fire off a letter saying to cough up a few thousand dollars or face a lawsuit, and base the whole thing on the invalid assumption that an IP address identifies a person.

Irony... (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about a year ago | (#43736791)

...the perfect way to determine when bad laws cannot be applied to real life.

On shifting the blame (3, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43736817)

Trying to shift the blame to somebody else does not diminish one's own involvement in the situation. Much like knowingly purchasing stolen property is crime, knowingly possessing works that are known by the possessor to be infringing on copyright (that is, any copies that can reasonably be known to be unauthorized, and are also known to not fall under any exception covered by fair dealing) is also quite actionable by law.

So really, their best course of action is to simply identify the third party that they obtained the infringing content from, because at least then the regular penalty for infringement would be applied to the third party and they themselves could then at least argue that they did not previously realize they were infringing (they would still lose license to use the works, however, since they would still be infringing, and if they continued to try to use them, they would be guilty of knowingly possessing infringing content).

Re:On shifting the blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737129)

Does this mean anyone involved in a lawsuit can now list Canipre down as a witness? They must understand the concept of "third party downloaders".. it wasnt me, it was somone else on my wifi, they told me they paid for a license...

Re:On shifting the blame (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43737959)

If you know who it was, sure... otherwise, the buck stops with you.

Website is not even compliant with provincial laws (3, Informative)

flood78 (2511510) | about a year ago | (#43738049)

As they are based in the province of Quebec, they must have a French version of their website. It's the law and they seems not caring about it at all. There is not even a "Under construction page". Then why they would care about the owner of the pictures?!

Implications (1)

spyke252 (2679761) | about a year ago | (#43738135)

Is it okay if I post copyrighted material if I go through a 3rd party to do so?

Image issue: funny. Grammar issue: disappointing. (1)

misterduffy (1541019) | about a year ago | (#43738927)

It's not just their understanding of licensing. The appalling 'playground language' within the statement, "they purchased images off of an image bank" suggests general incompetence.

"Miss! Miss! He stole my football off of me!"

*Shudder*

Re:Image issue: funny. Grammar issue: disappointin (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#43738989)

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/nonerrors.html [wsu.edu]

It's actually an Americanism and not "wrong", so much as "superfluous" (i.e. unnecessary, not incorrect).

Re:Image issue: funny. Grammar issue: disappointin (1)

misterduffy (1541019) | about a year ago | (#43739063)

Okay I'll let you have that, given the geographical context. But given the professional context (presumably one of their PR personnel wrote it), it's still a travesty.
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