Lawyer Monthly Magazine Profiles Higbee & Associates Copyright Practice

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An article in Lawyer Monthly Magazine shed some interesting light on the copyright practice of Higbee & Associates.   The article, which is an interview with attorney Mathew Higbee, covers a lot of topics.

Overall, the article was very pro-Higbee, giving him plenty of time to brag about his representing the Associated Press and lots of “high end” agencies.   However it did press him on a couple of topics of interest.   The interviewer zeroes in on allegations that his notorious firm is heavy-handed.   Higbee attempted to counter by saying that his firm does not pursue claims against individuals.

Higbee said:  “We start by only pursuing commercial users, so we can presume there is both an increased level of sophistication as well as an expectation that a business will be liable for getting things wrong. The biggest challenges stem from the fact that we know very little about the claim or other possible infringements during pre-litigation negotiation, and our clients are offering a complete release of liability. We have seen cases with one or two unregistered images evolve into much bigger cases. So, we think the fairest thing to do is caution the business about what is possible and advise them that they should consider hiring an attorney or work with us to resolve the claim out of court…”

The interviewer brought up the criticism that Higbee & Associates takes from online bloggers.  Higbee goes on to claim that some of the critics of his law firm are in denial.

“A lot of the criticism is simply a form of denial being expressed by businesses whose actions have them in an uncomfortable or embarrassing position, or from people who lack insight or understanding of the law. Occasionally, though, some of the criticism has merit and offers insight on how we can do things better,” said Higbee.

The articled does not provide much in the way of statistics or insight other than Higbee saying that most of his cases settle without having to go to court.   “The overwhelming majority of recipients know they have done something wrong, whether unknowingly or not, which makes it an easy conversation about how to properly compensate our client. Most approach it as a business decision,” said Higbee.      A 2018 article in Fast Company Magazine quoted Higbee as saying that more than 80 percent of the claims he pursues settle out of court.

The entire article can be read at:

https://www.lawyer-monthly.com/2019/03/the-rise-of-copyright-infringement-for-photographers/

Lawyer Monthly is a news website and monthly legal publication with content that is entirely defined by the significant legal news from around the world.   Feel free to post comments or questions below.

7 thoughts on “Lawyer Monthly Magazine Profiles Higbee & Associates Copyright Practice”

  1. My corporation is being sued by Higbee & Associates. The amount they are asking for is about $500 more than my insurance deductible. I don’t know if that is a coincidence or if they have access to stuff like that? If I offer a lower amount, can they use that against me in court? I have never had any problems with copyright.

    1. I am not aware of any resource that gives a law firm access to a businesses insurance information. It sounds like a coincidence. I imagine that an unreasonably low offer could be used against you in court by the copyright holder as evidence that you did not make an effort to resolve the case out of court, but that is probably a small risk.

  2. I was wondering the same thing. Higbee & Associates sent me a copyright demand letter asking for $2,850. My business general liability insurance deductible is $2,500. Coincidence or are they just good at making the demands slightly above the insurance deductible?

    1. Anyone who has logged into Higbee & Associates’s online payment system or read articles about how they do asset search, find infringements, and achieve high success rates can tell that they are excellent at using technology and data, however, I think in this case it is a coincidence, as I cannot imagine insurance companies making the data about their customer’s deductibles available to third-parties, especially a law firm.

  3. I am getting targeted for copyright from Higbee & Associates because of two pictures that I got off Google and used on a blog for my rental properties. It has been about 10 years since either property made more than $10K a year. They are asking for $3,750. Should I ignore them or contact them and claim poverty?

    1. Obviously you have learned by now that simply saying you found the image on Google is no defense to copyright infringement. If you have assets worth defending, never ignore a copyright demand letter, or any demand letter for that matter. See this article: https://copyright-demand-letter.com/failing-to-defend-copyright-law-suits-is-risky/

      You can claim poverty, but Higbee & Associates will probably want some proof of that, which might be tricky as they will assume that you have assets, the rental properties you are advertising. You would probably be better off making a reasonable offer and haggling them down. You can can also hire an attorney to provide you a proper analysis and represent you.

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