Real Estate Broker/Owner with Realty Arts NC Broker License #235526

Many thanks to Lenn Harley for once again very clearly defining copyright and laying out her approach to theft of her on-line content.

It is fascinating to see the cavalier responses she repeatedly receives from those who infringe.  I have had my own photos cut and pasted and posted on line from Flickr by other agents, and it is dismaying to say the least. 

Thanks, Lenn:

Original content by Lenn Harley 303829;0225082372

Inspired by a thoughtful post by Jacob Clayton, it's time for an attitude change about copyright infringement.

Folks who have had their copyright protected content (any original writing, image, photo, video, etc.) copied and published by another person, usually have pretty typical reactions:


Sick to the stomach!



WE ARE NOT FLATTERED!  Are these the emotions of a person who has just been flattered?  If you find that any property has been stolen, do you feel flattered???  I don't.  Telling me that I should feel flattered when my property has been stolen is to demean the value of my published content.  Our content has valua.  It is, after all, our advertisements to the public that bring us contacts leading to commissions. 

OUR CONTENT HAS REAL VALUE.  Perhaps many believe that our content has lettle value because we do it ourselves.  If we pay a web site design company $10,000 to create a web site for us, we know that web site content has value.  However, there appears to be a belief that, since we have designed, written, provided content to the web site ourselves, that it has less value.  Not so.  Copyright infringement damages can be very costly to the offender.  I have successfully collected anywhere from $750 to $41,000 from persons who used my copyright protected web site content on their web pages.  I also have a judgment for $60,000 from another.  At this time, I am in court with another and am ready to file on another.  Over the past 3 years, I've collected over $200,000 in copyright infringement damages.  That is real money.  If I had felt flattered, I would not have pursued these cases.  I was shocked, sick to the stomach, in disbelief and angry, so I protect my copyrights vigorously, as provided by the law, see: 

(c) Statutory Damages. -

(1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work.  More. . . .

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS ILLEGAL.  Over the years since first advertising my real estate services on the Internet, I've discovered my original and copyright protected content on the web sites of others no less than 20 times.  I can tell you, when I see my property on another agent or broker's web site I DO NOT FEEL FLATTERED.  I pursue each and every case discovered.  My first reaction is "shock".  Then the emotions slowly turn to a feeling of "sick to the stomach".   Eventually, the shock and sick to the stomach feelings turn into "anger".   Throughout the discovery, the "disbelief"that a competitor or other entity would steal the content of another for personal or commercial gain in violation of the law. 

IF YOU ARE CAUGHT WITH MY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ON YOUR WEB SITE, IGNORING ME WILL COST YOU!   One thing is constant.  When receiving a Cease and Desist and Demand for Damages letter from my attorney, the reaction is almost routine.  First the offender removes my copyright protected content from their web site.  Then they ignore us.  BIG MISTAKE.  The longer they think that I'll just go away, the more it will cost them.  The attorney's letter didn't say, "Remove Lenn's content from your web site and we'll go away."  It's already too late for that.  The damage is done.  You have already benefitted from the illegal use of my intellectual property and you will pay for that use.  My attorney is very good and very expensive.  The longer the offender delays settlement, the higher the legal fees to me and the higher the demand to the offender.  As the case proceeds, the more obsticles placed in the way of settlement, the higher the demand. If the case gets to a judge, damages are very, very high. 

OUR EMOTIONS ARE NATURAL.  When discovering my property on another person's web site, my reaction of shock, sick to the stomach, disbelief and anger will not be dismissed by telling me that I should be flattered.  When discovering that the article we agonized to write, or the image we worked hard to create, or the photo that we took the time to take and publish has been used by another who expended little energy, no creativity and no actual work beyond a simple "cut and paste", our emotions are not a feeling of having been flattered.  It is a primal feeling of. . . . . . .


Sick to the stomach!




For more light reading on copyright, see:

Posted by



Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to Email MeQR CodeMike Jaquish, REALTOR®


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Independent Broker/Owner, Realty Arts

130 Towerview Court,

Cary, NC

Comments (7)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

My pleasure Mike.  Thanks for the reblog.


May 20, 2009 12:17 AM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR

You go Mike.. Flattery is costing people money and I'm wondering how had is it for you to get judgements from other States and getting paid?

May 20, 2009 12:22 AM
Mark Watterson
Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Real Estate

I think blogs on the subject and reblogs are a helpful way to get the word out.  Of course some will never get it.

May 20, 2009 12:50 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
WEDO Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with AR. Copyright is a huge thing in America. We want to get paid for our work.

May 20, 2009 12:56 AM
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

Imitiation is the highest form of flattery, but theft is a different story.  Thanks for piping up here.  I'm with you on this issue.

May 20, 2009 01:04 AM
Nevin Williams
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation - Cary, NC
Senior Mortgage Advisor

Good post.  I would feel violated after spending my time writing or taking photos just to have someone else use them for their benefit. I guess we now know how many musicians feel about Napster etc.

May 22, 2009 03:13 AM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


Give the credit to Lenn!



Jul 15, 2009 01:35 PM