Here’s a quick run down of events that recently transpired between a demand letter recipient and Geoffrey Beal, one of Masterfiles copyright clerks.
Masterfile sent me a FedEx letter today. I began reading your forums for the first time today. Here is a brief summary of my situation.
The blog contains no advertising revenue and no goods or services are sold on the blog. The blog links to my website which does list my information for clinical psychology services, but the blog itself does not promote these services.
One of my blog posts contained an image that masterfile claims to own the copyright. I took the image down upon receiving the letter.
I immediately called the contact person in the letter and explained that I have taken the image down. I also explained that my blog provides public service information (suicide prevention, mental health information) and is non-commercial and I believe there is a copyright exception for such material.
I asked the contact person to call me so I can discuss the issue further with him.
I have complied with the request to take the image down.
Reached Geoffrey Beal of MasterFile today. I explained my rationale that:
1. Image is no longer on the site
2. I linked to the image without knowledge that I was infringing.
3. The blog has no advertising and does not sell goods or services
4. The posts are educational and public service in nature
His response was that I should pay as this does not constitute fair use because the artist was not credited.
He said MasterFile would settle for 600 (reduced from 1400). This is for a single image I linked to.
I offered 200. I told him this figure was due to the amount courts could reduce judgments to, and also, at the 600 range, I would be able to hire an attorney.
He immediately asked if the lawyer’s name was Oscar Michelen. He said MasterFile has pending cases in my state (North Carolina) and hiring Oscar Michelen would only make things worse for me (glad he is looking out for my interests).
He was firm at 600. I took notes on the call and told him I would seek counsel on the issue.
A very upset Geoffrey Beal called me a few minutes ago. I was wondering to what extent he would threaten me. The call went like this:
“I made you an offer earlier today. You posted personal communications with me on the extortion letter blog ( ELI / extortionletterinfo.com ). I rescind the offer and I am going to turn this matter over to our NC State attorney who will take it up with you.”
At this point, he abruptly hung up. Interesting that in his own words, he is responding to me based on the websites I view and make posts on.
I actually told Mr. Beal in our original phone conversation that I would seek counsel before agreeing to any settlement. I have difficulty understanding what would cause him to believe that our conversation was in some way private when I had not agreed to keep any of it private, nor had he asked me to.
Mr Geoffrey Beal sure seems to be very professional in these matters, once again he shows his true colors, and does not like to be exposed for the copyright troll he is known to be, these assholes are known to continually make false intimidating statements to attempt to extract payments for copyright infringement, without ever proving their case. I would be willing to bet that a quick search of PACER would not reveal any cases that are “pending” in North Carolina.
Geoffrey Beal has been called out before for trying to suppress information, which is not going happen, the light will continue to shine on his unethical practices and overall douche-baggery