Don’t Feed the (Copyright) Trolls


The chances are getting better and better that at some point you’ll be threatened by a copyright troll, especially if you have a website or do any kind of advertising. I’ve had to deal with these guys, and I’ve made it my mission to educate others on all kinds of cons and scams. You can find out more by visiting

What is a copyright troll? That is a person or company that obtains a copyright on some intellectual property (or sometimes just claims to hold a copyright) simply for the purpose of scamming people Into paying them large sums of money to avoid legal action. Make no mistake: they may be operating within the law, but they are slimy, unethical scammers.

Frequently, the scammer will send a letter full of confusing and threatening language to try to scare you into sending them money. Here is how I recommend you deal with that:

1. Don’t panic. This accomplishes nothing. Remember, just because somebody says you are in violation of their copyright doesn’t necessarily mean that you are. They may well insist that the accusations laid out in their letter are evidence that you have violated the law. This is ridiculous. I’m no lawyer, and I know letters like that won’t hold up as evidence in court.

2. If you have any doubts at all, remove the image in question from your website or ad. Even if you can verify that you have full permission to use it, you might want to remove it anyway for the time being.

3. Send a letter by certified mail to the copyright troll saying you have removed the image and you consider the matter closed. Don’t accept blame for their claims; Remember, they haven’t proven anything.

4. In all likelihood, the trolls won’t consider the matter closed because they hasn’t squeezed any money out of you. Don’t respond to any additional letters they send you. Just read the letters and have a good laugh at their pathetic attempts to intimidate you. They can tell you all they want that they are going to sue you but unless they are claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, it’s not going to be worth their time. That’s why they resort to threatening letters.

5. You may want to have your attorney handle this matter for you. I can’t say I blame you for that although I really don’t think it’s necessary in most cases. But whatever you do, I would recommend you stick to your guns and not give the scammer one red cent.

6. Educate yourself. Do an online search for “copyright trolls” and the company or person that is threatening you and you can probably learn a lot that will put your mind at ease.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. I’m happy to help any way I can.

Joe Libby is a speaker and entertainer who focuses on exposing scams and swindles. Visit his website to find out about his entertaining public seminars on scams.

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