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Thread: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

  1. #1

    Default Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    Hi, I would like to check how this works
    In a case where I am taking a company that has published my photos without asking me and credited the photos to someone else, and I take them to court and they lose, who is responsible for legal fees?
    Also, how are damages calculated in such situations?

    This involves a China company so I guess it will be subject to the China law system but I just wanted to get a sense of how it works here in Singapore too.

    any advice will be appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    wow, its complicated, especially when you talk about sueing and in china.

    I dont have the direct relevant experience to your case but my sharing is this:

    I engaged a prominent Law firm in SG to bring a small set-up to court for non-payment (non-photography related business). For 1 year now, there is no concrete results. Both due to the incompetent of this prominent law firm and the delaying tactics of the company/ person i am sueing.

    Yes, by right if the opposite team loses, they pay for your lawyer's fees, but only half of it (if my memory serves me right). For my case, the outstanding amt i am sueing for is SGD 12,000. My lawyer's fees to date is SGD 5,000. Total, i have lost SGD 17,000 for this non-conclusive case.

    Moral of the story: Law firms or sueing some one is good to hear but unless the pocket is deep.

    As for China... cant even think too much of it. I worked there for sometime. The system is not as developed as the western world and probably take another 10 years.
    Don't brag about your accomplishments; Show us your future works.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    Quote Originally Posted by JacePhoto View Post
    wow, its complicated, especially when you talk about sueing and in china.

    I dont have the direct relevant experience to your case but my sharing is this:

    I engaged a prominent Law firm in SG to bring a small set-up to court for non-payment (non-photography related business). For 1 year now, there is no concrete results. Both due to the incompetent of this prominent law firm and the delaying tactics of the company/ person i am sueing.

    Yes, by right if the opposite team loses, they pay for your lawyer's fees, but only half of it (if my memory serves me right). For my case, the outstanding amt i am sueing for is SGD 12,000. My lawyer's fees to date is SGD 5,000. Total, i have lost SGD 17,000 for this non-conclusive case.

    Moral of the story: Law firms or sueing some one is good to hear but unless the pocket is deep.

    As for China... cant even think too much of it. I worked there for sometime. The system is not as developed as the western world and probably take another 10 years.

    Was the evidence in your case concrete? If so, can the court order the other party to make payment to you?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    yeah, in our case, it was. But as usually there are two sides of a coin. The other party argued that it wasnt and so on.

    Its a long process lah.
    Don't brag about your accomplishments; Show us your future works.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    if benro and the imitates of gary fong continue to sell, and no refund of overseas goods involved in slim10 and the recent methionine/milk... it dun sound good at all. slim10 case goes to show that monetary payment is targetted at whoever who can pay, and not who is really guilty. is there any party involved that is in sg and not in china?
    Last edited by zoossh; 2nd November 2008 at 12:32 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh View Post
    if benro and the imitates of gary fong continue to sell, and no refund of overseas goods involved in slim10 and the recent methionine/milk... it dun sound good at all.
    I think this is because theres never an absolution to anything.
    Even in Spore, the court is not always correct. I remember there was this case about this delivery driver who got into trouble with the law because he unknowingly ferried his friend who was in possession of drugs.
    It wasnt years later that the truth came to light.

    Morale of the story?
    Be a layer. =)
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  7. #7
    Senior Member ejunlow's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    Just my personal experiences in these matters...

    If the company you're sueing the infringement has a prescence here in singapore, the Singapore copyright laws apply. However, if the company does not have a prescence here in SG, example, they host it on the net, on their side of the country, then you will either need to engage an attorney on that part of the world or a better suggestion is to write in to the local embassy here in Singapore.

    The legal fees would probably depend on how far you'd push into the mediation or a full frontal law suit... (which unless you're getty images or corbis.. probably isnt worth all that time and effort).. just to back up your stand, You'll always find incredibly small agencies / management teams out there ripping your images from your sites.... if you do a quick search with the appropriate authority or get your CPA to do a search for you at a cost - you'll probably find these companies with a incredibly small start-up cost and running capital. If you do sue them, it's simple to just close the company down if it's privatised..

    After all the effort, i usually write into the companies and tell them about the issue.. what they're doing wrong and get them to credit me for the pictures (before you take any action)... gives you more credibility, gives you more exposure and publicity and well ... that's probably a less hassle of a matter to deal with anyway..

    This really is a personal opinion, should you want to push for your infringement rights - I totally agree man..

    Cheers bro..

    Ejun
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    It's best to speak your prospective solicitor so you can be properly advised as the best course of action in any particular case depends on the specific facts. Initial consultation usually does not cost anything, and that half to one hour meeting can help you decide whether its worth throwing good money after bad.

    re: legal action against a Chinese entity, unless you can instruct a Chinese law firm directly, which is somewhat unlikely, you will have to go through a law firm in Singapore with links to one, who will sort of act as your instructing solicitors, and that means two sets of legal costs.

    re: legal action in Singapore,
    before going straight into litigation, the matter might be resolved to your satisfaction through dealings through your lawyers with the relevant parties for proper attributation or removal or destruction of infringing materials etc under threat of legal action - it all depends how much is at stake and who you are dealing with. It costs a lot less for a legal firm to issue letters of demand on your behalf than to jump straight into suing someone for damages or getting an injunction to stop infringing behaviour. Once you commence proceedings in court, the cost escalates very quickly.

    Assuming there is a monetary value to damages suffered by you its assessment again depends on the specific facts, but very roughly it will be gauged by the loss of income to you caused by the infringement.

    You should also understand that when you sue someone successfully in court for damages, what you get is a legal judgment in your favour. You will still need to enforce this judgment against the defendant, which can be problemmatic. Judgment and enforcement are two different things and enforcement against an defendant can be tedious and sometimes fruitless and yes it will incur more legal fees.

    re: legal fees
    legal costs are awarded to the winning party by the court but it will never be enough to cover the full legal costs you incur. Typically half to two-thirds. The sum awarded by the court is usually a fixed amount arrived at during judgment.

    If you are confident of your case and want to short-circuit the courts and lawyers there is always the Small Claims Tribunal of the Subourdinate Courts here, which has jurisdiction over claims up to $10,000. You will be essentially doing everything there yourself.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    Quote Originally Posted by LKSC View Post
    It's best to speak your prospective solicitor so you can be properly advised as the best course of action in any particular case depends on the specific facts. Initial consultation usually does not cost anything, and that half to one hour meeting can help you decide whether its worth throwing good money after bad.

    re: legal action against a Chinese entity, unless you can instruct a Chinese law firm directly, which is somewhat unlikely, you will have to go through a law firm in Singapore with links to one, who will sort of act as your instructing solicitors, and that means two sets of legal costs.

    re: legal action in Singapore,
    before going straight into litigation, the matter might be resolved to your satisfaction through dealings through your lawyers with the relevant parties for proper attributation or removal or destruction of infringing materials etc under threat of legal action - it all depends how much is at stake and who you are dealing with. It costs a lot less for a legal firm to issue letters of demand on your behalf than to jump straight into suing someone for damages or getting an injunction to stop infringing behaviour. Once you commence proceedings in court, the cost escalates very quickly.

    Assuming there is a monetary value to damages suffered by you its assessment again depends on the specific facts, but very roughly it will be gauged by the loss of income to you caused by the infringement.

    You should also understand that when you sue someone successfully in court for damages, what you get is a legal judgment in your favour. You will still need to enforce this judgment against the defendant, which can be problemmatic. Judgment and enforcement are two different things and enforcement against an defendant can be tedious and sometimes fruitless and yes it will incur more legal fees.

    re: legal fees
    legal costs are awarded to the winning party by the court but it will never be enough to cover the full legal costs you incur. Typically half to two-thirds. The sum awarded by the court is usually a fixed amount arrived at during judgment.

    If you are confident of your case and want to short-circuit the courts and lawyers there is always the Small Claims Tribunal of the Subourdinate Courts here, which has jurisdiction over claims up to $10,000. You will be essentially doing everything there yourself.
    Thanks for the info guys.
    As the copyright infringement is cross continent (includes the US too) this whole situation is quite...amusing and a big learning experience.

  10. #10
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    Just a few points to clarify:

    -Copyright infringement cannot be brought in the Small Claims Court.
    -Winning a case will get you around 2/3 of your legal costs back (assuming other side can pay).
    -Whether to sue in Singapore or China depends on where the infringement occurs.

  11. #11
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    I don't think the Copyright Tribunal hears cases about copyright infringement either.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh View Post
    if benro and the imitates of gary fong continue to sell, and no refund of overseas goods involved in slim10 and the recent methionine/milk... it dun sound good at all. slim10 case goes to show that monetary payment is targetted at whoever who can pay, and not who is really guilty. is there any party involved that is in sg and not in china?
    Ugh it's melanine. Methionine is an amino acid... off topic though.
    Research Institute for Unicultural Visual Arts - Riuva.com

  13. #13
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Attorney Fees in Copyright Infringement cases

    thanks for the correction. it's melamine, my bad.

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