What’s new in the world of P-Mag, you ask? Well, we’re being sued.
Here are the (publicly available and legally disclosable) facts, keeping in mind that although the parties involved are a matter of public record, we’re not jerks, so we’re choosing not to disclose any names or identifying details:
- Persephone Magazine, along with more than 70 other defendants, is being sued for copyright infringement in relation to use of a single photograph.
- Two separate lawsuits, each relating to the same photograph, were filed by the photographer of said photograph, who is also a copyright attorney. A third lawsuit relating to the photograph was dismissed because the photographer/attorney had not yet registered the copyright for the picture when that lawsuit was filed.
- Each defendant is being offered the chance to settle the lawsuit for $1500, paid to the photographer/attorney.
- Many defendants have already settled (although the exact settlement amounts for every defendant have not been disclosed).
- The photograph was available on several Creative Commons photography sites. No such site is named in the lawsuit. After the lawsuit was filed, the photograph was no longer available on the Creative Commons photography sites, and the photograph in question now features a watermark and right-click protection.
- The photographer/attorney used a Google Images search to find instances of the photograph in question.
- P-Mag removed the photograph in question as soon as notice of the lawsuit was received. No cease and desist or DMCA takedown notice was issued before the summons was received. Our first notice of any issue with the photograph was when we received the summons informing us we were being sued.
- If, as an example, 73 defendants each settled for $1500, the resultant settlement money would amount to $109,500. Subtracting out the court filing fees of $700 ($350 for each of two complaints) results a total settlement amount of $108,800. Attorney fees are not subtracted out since the photographer is an attorney and filed the suit on his own behalf.
Fun, right? We’ve availed ourselves of the best in free legal advice, because (and this may come as a huge shock), P-Mag is not a giant media conglomerate making money hand over fist and employing in-house legal counsel. We rely on donations to barely cover the cost of our server bill every month. Many advertisers don’t like the fact that we write about The Sex, so our ad options are often limited. Our intrepid team of legal advisers have told us that settling for the demanded $1500 is our best bet. Which is all well and good, because being sued isn’t fun and makes us feel icky, but here’s the thing. We don’t have $1500. We have great content, hilarious writers, a witty commenting community, but no money. In fact, $1500 is more than P-Mag made on ads in all of 2012.
So, we need some help. We have legal advice covered already, and we have plenty of opinions about this suit, so although we know everyone loves advice and opinions, we’re all full up on those. What we need is cash, so that we can pay the photographer/attorney the non-negotiable $1500 being demanded and be on our way back to creating great content for you. To that end, we’ve created the P-Mag Unicorn of Justice Legal Fund. If you have a few dollars to spare and to throw our way so that we don’t have to make the choice between settling this matter and continuing to keep the blog up and running, we’d appreciate it more than you can imagine.