First court victory for copyright trolls

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“Copyright trolls” Cozzmoss got their first victory in a court of law, where they successfully sued blogger Joffrey Vermeule for copyright infringement of a newspaper article. The court awarded 402 euro to Cozzmoss (decision, Dutch, PDF). Cozzmoss had claimed at one point well over 5000 euro in damages.

A copyright troll is a particularly heinous creature that feeds off accidental copyright infringement by those least likely to defend themselves. It seeks out such infringements and then sends bills claiming preposterous amounts of damages. In countries like the Netherlands, where courts typically claim that damages must actually be proven, the troll then offers the infringer a discount on their trumped up ‘fine’ in the hope it won’t come to a court case. Vermeule was the first Dutch blogger to pass up on that offer.

The rise of copyright trolls in the Netherlands has led to a foundation that helps bloggers with their defense against these creatures, the Stichting Copyright & Nieuwe Media. It’s not clear if the foundation played a part in Vermeule’s defense, nor what part they would have played.

Link: Marketing Facts (Dutch). Image: stolen off the internets, arrr! (Actually, it’s in the public domain.)

4 Comments »

  1. It’s an extortion racket. They offer to settle for a fee but if you fight back they try to hammer you with a big penalty.

    On a related front, this one having to do with file sharing digital music, Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson is challenging both the constitutionality of the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 and the music labels’ use of it against Tenenbaum, his client. http://tinyurl.com/5gmzr7

    Comment by Neil — December 16, 2008 @ 9:41 am

  2. Speaking as secretary of the Foundation: our president Ronald van den Hoff has paid for the legal defense of Joffrey. I thought this was public knowledge already.

    Comment by Arnoud Engelfriet — December 16, 2008 @ 9:39 pm

  3. As the charmain on the Foundation Copyright&New Media I can tell you our version of this verdict.
    To be clear: Vermeule did not resist/deny the fact the he broke the copyright rules. The court accepted the plea-guilty and fines vermeule accordingly.

    The real victory for us was the fact that Cossmozz claimed, using all kind of journalism laws & regultations to pressure Vermeule and claimed in the end almost 5000 euro. The court was very clear in its verdict: all these arguments were pushed aside as being completely non-relevant.

    Cossmozz tries to play the role of police, justice and court at the same time and pressures bloggers into quick settlement to avoid higher claims. These practises have been put to an end and that, for us, was the real victory !

    Comment by ronald van den hoff — January 3, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

  4. […] the launch of the Top 100 in Zeist, copyfighter Ronald van den Hoff won Misset’s first Horeca Personality Award for his congress concept […]

    Pingback by 24 oranges » McDonald’s biggest restaurant chain second year in a row — May 11, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

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