Notorious Lawyer and ‘Copyright Troll’ Fined $103K, Photographers Beware

Richard Liebowitz, one of the most prolific copyright infringement lawyers in the state of New York, was recently slapped with a $103,500 fine for his actions in a recent case before being chastised for being a dishonest “copyright troll.” Photographers should pay close attention. Liebowitz, formerly a photojournalist, only began his legal career in 2015. […]

Notorious Lawyer and ‘Copyright Troll’ Fined $103K, Photographers Beware

Richard Liebowitz, one of the most prolific copyright infringement lawyers in the state of New York, was recently slapped with a $103,500 fine for his actions in a recent case before being chastised for being a dishonest “copyright troll.” Photographers should pay close attention.

Liebowitz, formerly a photojournalist, only began his legal career in 2015. However, as Judge Jesse Furman of the Souther District of New York put it in a recent Opinion and Order:

In that same period […] He has become one of the most frequently sanctioned lawyers, if not the most frequently sanctioned lawyer, in the District. Judges in this District and elsewhere have spent untold hours addressing Mr. Liebowitz’s misconduct, which includes repeated violations of court orders and outright dishonesty, sometimes under oath.

Liebowitz and his firm specialize in copyright infringement cases, especially those involving unauthorized social media use, and he regularly represents photographers from all over the country. In the video below, published in May, he advises photographers on “Protecting your copyright on Social Media” based on the recent lawsuit between Stephanie Sinclair and Mashable.

However, his conduct in court and the prolific rate at which he files lawsuits has seen him sanctioned countless times. As Judge Furman points out in the recent Opinion and Order, Liebowitz has been called a “copyright troll,” a “legal lamprey,” and “a clear and present danger to the fair and efficient administration of justice.”

In a particularly notorious incident, he repeatedly lied about the date of his grandfather’s death in order to justify his absence in court.

This most recent set of sanctions and the massive fine levied on Liebowitz is the result of another series of lies. While representing photographer Arthur Usherson in an infringement suit against Bandshell Artist Management, Liebowitz missed court dates, lied about his compliance with a court order, and claimed that the photo at issue had been registered with the Copyright Office before the lawsuit was filed. In fact, it was only registered a month and a half later…

A photo must be registered before a lawsuit is filed, or else the lawsuit is immediately dismissed.

“Mr. Liebowitz never corrected his misconduct, but rather repeated his lies under oath and, in the case of the false allegation regarding the copyright registration, proffered unconvincing excuses,” writes the Judge. “It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Mr. Liebowitz hoped to settle the case before the truth came to light.”

You can read the full, scathing opinion below:

Ultimately, Judge Furman is hoping that the Court’s Grievance Committee will disbar Mr. Liebowitz or suspend his ability to file new cases, given his “long and ignominious history of misbehavior.” In the meantime, the court has impost two large fines and multiple sanctions.

Pursuant to this Order, Liebowitz has to pay nearly $104,000 in fines, is required to send the Opinion and Order above to every one of his law firm’s clients, and must present proof of copyright registration up front in any infringement case that he files for the next year.

(via NY Daily News)


Image credits: Header illustration created using photo by Mark König, CC0

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Covering Your MacBook Camera Can Crack Your Screen, Apple Warns

If you’re super conscious about protecting your privacy, one thing you can do is cover up the camera on your laptop when it’s not being used — there are even commercial covers you can buy for this purpose. But beware: Apple is now warning that using a camera cover could permanently damage your MacBook display. […]

Covering Your MacBook Camera Can Crack Your Screen, Apple Warns

If you’re super conscious about protecting your privacy, one thing you can do is cover up the camera on your laptop when it’s not being used — there are even commercial covers you can buy for this purpose. But beware: Apple is now warning that using a camera cover could permanently damage your MacBook display.

Back in 2016, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made headlines after sharing a photo of himself in which a taped-up MacBook could be seen on his desk.

The idea is that if the webcam (and/or microphone) on your laptop is taken over by a hacker or an overreaching app, physically blocking them ensures that you can’t be secretly recorded without your knowledge.

But it seems that MacBooks are designed in such a way that placing extra thickness between your display and keyboard could cause the screen to crack.

“Closing your Mac notebook with a camera cover on it might damage your display,” Apple warns in . “If you close your Mac notebook with a camera cover installed, you might damage your display because the clearance between the display and keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances.”

Blocking the camera can also mess up the MacBook’s ambient light sensor and cause issues with features like automatic brightness adjustment and True Tone.

A Redditor named koolbe found this out the hard way. After buying an upgraded 16-inch MacBook Pro, koolbe put a commercial cover over the camera and put the laptop in a padded backpack for transport. When the laptop was opened up later, there was a vertical crack under the webcam and the display was unusable — it takes minutes for the screen to be updated when it changes.

Photo by koolbe and used with permission.

Instead of physically covering your camera, Apple recommends that you pay attention to the indicator light and the camera’s privacy settings instead.

“The camera is engineered so that it can’t activate without the camera indicator light also turning on,” Apple says. “This is how you can tell if your camera is on.”

But if your work requires you to cover your camera, Apple says you should use a cover that’s no thicker than standard printer paper (about 0.1mm).

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