Summons in a civil action/Etsy shop

Copyright matters affecting music and musicians.
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Summons in a civil action/Etsy shop

Post by spoofsuk »

Hi I have picked up various information from other posts on this forum but it would useful to have answers to these questions.
My Etsy site was suspended early March with no message or information then this was followed by a Summons in Civil action by The Brickell IP Group on behalf of Duran Duran. Alongside 750 people I have appeared in their Schedule A list of identified shops contravening copyright.
I am having difficulty finding a solicitor to read the documents and advise on how to respond.
Q. Would it be more advisable to respond in person outlining my usage and sales and await a response ..or to pay a solicitor to respond, which will cost me and then expect to pay costs as well.
as a sole trader, my etsy site was valuable to me for my income and i feel that i am not going to get this reinstalled unless i pay something.
Also should i just include my USA sales only in this account or all online sales.
My product falls into the "fair use " category and i am not using one of the licensed fonts or included in list of licensed products included in documents.
As I have limited time to respond I would be grateful for any help.
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Re: Summons in a civil action/Etsy shop

Post by AndyJ »

Hi spoofsuk,

The first thing to say for the benefit of other readers is that the Brickell IP Group is a law firm based in Florida, USA and any demands they may make will take no account of UK copyright law, and in particular our set of fair dealing exceptions which are similar to, but different from, the US doctrine of fair use. Obviously Etsy is also an American* company and operate their site under US law (specifically that of the state of New York). This puts a UK-based user of Etsy at a disadvantage when it comes to trying to resolve these kinds of disputes.

As we have said elsewhere Etsy will not not act as arbitrators over disputes of this sort and will only re-instate a shop on their site if the claimant withdraws their claim. In other words the claimants hold all the cards.

As you say that the claim concerns the band Duran Duran I assume this involves the band's music or lyrics, rather than, say, images of the band, or selling their albums etc, since it less likely that the band will own any copyright in images, and copyright in the albums will belong to the record company, not the band. As this is on Etsy, I would hazard a guess that you might be selling items bearing quotes from the lyrics of Duran Duran songs.

Your best bet as far as getting legal advice is concerned would be to use the Law Socierty's Find a Solicitor service to locate a solicitor who specialises in intellectual property issues and ask for a free initial consultation. This will allow you the opportunity to explain your problem and get an idea of the cost of and likelihood of success in trying to settle this matter using a solicitor. With that information, you can then judge what is the most economic way forward. You can use this website to locate a suitable individual or law firm near you who can advise you. From the drop down menu select Business - Media, IT and Intellectual Property as the subject, and then put in your location. Location is actually not that important as you will normally be offered a telephone consulation. However if you want to deliver any paperwork, the locality may be more relevant.

I hope this helps. Unfortunately we can't provide any legal advice tailored to your specific case or advise you on how to conduct any litigation.

*The UK is served by Etsy's Irish subsidiary but that does not affect the operative law under which the site operates.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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