Copyright Infringement - Innocent or Dishonest?
We believe copyright abuse is dishonest, even though there exists in law a class of infringement termed innocent infringement. When is copyright abuse innocent and when is it theft?
Ignorance Is No Defence
In criminal law, ignorance is not considered to be a defence.
"Ignorantia Juris non excusat" is the same expression in Latin, which lawyers may quote to impress you about their education, or to help justify their fees.
If it were not the case, every felon would simply use the excuse "I didn't know it was wrong, guv", and get away scot free with murder. Ignorance of the law can be a mitigating factor when a court decides on a sentence. In civil law, such as copyright dispute, the transgressor is given a little more leeway, and can plead ignorance as a defence. The expression quoted to us was "innocent infringement" rather than "ignorant infringement", although there is probably little difference between the two.
When we report copyright abuse on eBay, often a daily occurrence, in about 90% of the cases, we hear nothing from the infringer. We guess that in about 80% to 90% of all cases, the infringer realises they have been caught red-handed, and do not bother to protest or otherwise contact us.
In perhaps 5% of all cases, we receive a pleasant e-mail apologising, and usually claiming ignorance, and perhaps promising not to do it again. We do not necessarily believe them, but there is little point in pursuing these cases any further.
In about 5% to 10% of cases, we receive a belligerent and indignant e-mail demanding to know who we think we are claimed all image rights to any photograph of any coin, when any idiot with a camera could take a similar if not better photo.
Some of the least pleasant e-mails we receive inform us that the infringer took his own photo with his own camera, and they were not our photos we reported. It's hard to know whether these people are all compulsive and habitual liars, or simply delusion or suffering from sort of short memory problem. We usually ask ourselves how they managed to put our Digimarc watermark on their own image.
Although we have to concede that innocent infringement may exist in theory, or even in practice, we do believe it is very rare.
We often get people telling us quite openly that they evaded customs duty or VAT on expensive foreign purchase by smuggling them into the UK or EU, perhaps wearing jewellery or watches, or simply hiding them in their luggage or other bags. When we point out this is smuggling, most people claim they though it was alright. In that case, why did they not actually declare it? They protest innocence, even to us when they do not need to, but we believe that they actually do know the truth, but choose to ignore it. Perhaps they are truly ignorant, but not really innocent.
People Believe What They Want to Believe
Selective belief is like selective memory. Most of us remember what we want to remember, but conveniently forget the things we would prefer to forget.
Balance of Probabilities
In criminal law, the case normally has to be proved beyond all reasonable doubt. In civil law, it is usually sufficient to rely on the balance of probability.
On this basis, we believe we are correct to assume that copyright abusers are aware that what they are doing is wrong and dishonest, but believe they will probably get away with it, and have the ready made excuse that they didn't know. Anybody with a sufficient education to be able to read and write, will have learnt at school that they are expected to present their own work, and that copying is cheating. Perhaps there are some people running businesses who do not have such an advanced education, but we severely doubt it.
If people really do not know that copying is wrong, then it is almost certainly because the prefer and choose to remain in ignorance.
Ignorance, Naivety, Stupidity & Negligence
There probably is some boundary where these four factors meet up and merge with each other. If a business pays some college student $50 to create its website, it cannot absolve itself from responsibility for the work done by the student, as it has employed him, commissioned the work produced, and presumably approved the work produced, before publishing the work and content of its website in its own name.
Copyright Theft by Dishonest Gold & Coin Dealers
Please see our "Copyright" page for further information.
Copyright Infringements Remedies
Our suggested draft remedies for copyright abusers dependent on category - competitors, bloggers, pseudo-expert & advice sites acting as eBay & Google portals, eBay & other auction site sellers.
Other Copyright Abuse
Other Copyright Abuse
Alphabetical Listing of Copyright Theft Sites
Copyright Abuse on eBay
Copyright Abuser Categories
With more than 500 examples of copyright theft, we are having to split the types and categories of copyright thieves.
More Copyright Abuse & Image Theft
The dealers and websites named and shamed on this page are limited to those who have stolen our photographs of gold coins such as Krugerrands.
On our other websites we also name and shame those who steal our photographs of:
Other Web Sites
All comments about copyright also cover content of all our other websites including, but not limited to:-
The Most Copied Coin Image on the Internet
The Second Most Copied Coin Image on the Internet