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I just got an copyright infringement notice that says my app infringes on the usage policies of the services my app uses.

However, this mail does not come directly from the company that runs the website I pull information from. The mail comes from a company that has some paid apps in the same category on the app store (mine is free), so they obviously want me gone.

My question is, can I just ignore this mail until I hear directly from the company that runs the website? Judging from their (the company that contacted me) website, they have no connection what so ever to the company that I fetch information from.

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While I would contact the company running the website your pulling information from, I would also send a response to the company, asking them to contact your lawyer in the future. I assume you indicate the data your pulling is owned by the company your pulling from, if you do that, they would be hard pressed to call a foul on it. Did an actual lawyer contact you, if not I would ignore it ( although still contact the company your pulling information from ), so you can work out a business deal with them –  Ramhound Mar 30 '12 at 12:24
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You're in good company. According to Google, over 50% of DMCA takedown notices are illegitimate, targeted at the competitors of the sender in an attempt to sabotage their business. See if you can bust them for this. –  Mason Wheeler Mar 31 '12 at 17:53
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Do share the follow up of what happened. –  nikhil Apr 5 '12 at 13:42

4 Answers 4

up vote 62 down vote accepted

Be proactive and contact the company who runs the service you are using, and ask them if they are ok with your app being available on the app store, and with the way it uses their services. This approach has benefits: If you ignore the email from this competing company, they might inform the service owners of your app, which might lead them to ask you to take it down. If you approach them directly they might take a more lenient view as it shows you are willing to comply with their terms and not sneak something by them (even if that's what you've been doing so far).

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+1 for spinning the event around in your favor. –  Filip Dupanović Mar 30 '12 at 11:16
    
Thanks. I'll try mailing the company. –  Smiden Mar 30 '12 at 11:17
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@Smiden: Also, if I were in your place, I'd mention to them about the email received from the competing company. I wouldn't like people to send infringement notices in my name, and I guess they wouldn't either. Also, there is a good chance that your competition is using the same service and they may be in the grey area themselves. –  Goran Jovic Mar 30 '12 at 11:20
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@GoranJovic If I was this company and heard that someone was sending out cease and desist letters in my name, I'd shut THEM down and thank the original poster for letting me know. –  Sonic42 Mar 31 '12 at 1:50

You must get the opinion of a lawyer. They could be just trying to stomp you out without any real legal case.

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The cost of getting the opinion of a lawyer could stomp him out. (Unless you can get him to work for a share of the profits) –  Philip Mar 30 '12 at 19:53
    
@Philip: He really doesn't have any choice. –  DeadMG Mar 31 '12 at 7:02
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Uhhhh.... Yes he does? He can either hire a lawyer to act as a liaison with their lawyer and to hire a para-legal to research who truly owns the IP and can prove they own it. OR, he can ask the service he's using what's up and throw this piece of mail next to the Nigerian scammers and the ads for viagra pills. Do you hire a lawyer every time you click that EULA button? No. "Ask (and pay) a lawyer" needn't be the automatic answer every time a legal question rears it's head. In this case there is a perfectly valid alternative. –  Philip Apr 2 '12 at 0:07
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@DeadMG: yes, he does have a lot of choices. This thing is getting totally out of control, at this rate by end of next year you'll need to consult your lawyer just to turn on your computer. –  vartec May 16 '12 at 13:17

Do you agree with the assessment in the letter? Are you infringing on the usage policy? If so, you should stop. This isn't a matter of "keep going until you get caught by the right person". If you're infringing, stop.

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I don't know if I'm infringing or not. I can't find anything obvious in the terms of service. I'm not a lawyer though so I can't be 100% sure. –  Smiden Mar 30 '12 at 10:59

I would let your span filter eat the email and see what happens next, in the meanwhile see if you can conformation from the data provider that what you are doing is OK.

It is very possible that you will never get troubled by them again, even if the email is from someone that can take legal action against you, they will consider the cost before getting their lawyer to right to you most likely by smail.

(Given that over 50% of this type of email is span, it is reasonable for your span filter to hide the email from you)

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