UPDATE (as of Sept 2021): This post seems to be the de facto clearing house for people receiving these threats from Fechner and crew all over the world. Here is everything you need to know:
- You can ignore it
- Nobody has actually been sued
We recently received a copyright notice from Fechner Law in Germany. They were asking for an immediate takedown of the offending URL plus a cash settlement for use of an allegedly infringing image on an easyDNS customer’s website (which we are neither the webhost nor DNS provider for, just registrar).
They had apparently sent earlier requests which we had never received (the email address they cite has a typo in it), we finally received the copy via postal mail, instructing our client and/or MyPrivacy.net to transfer € 1,481 to their law firm.
As is standard procedure, we acknowledged receipt of their letter and asked that they supply a digital copy of it so that we may forward their complaint to our customer along with a reminder that our Plain English Terms of Service require that all clients action copyright takedown notices.
Instead of supplying that requested digital copy, we received an email response that we are obligated to provide our customer’s name and email address, and if we did not comply would have a criminal complaint brought against us:
From: Robert Fechner <robert.fechner@[redacted].com>
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2019 22:20:25 +0200
Subject: [Redacted] / MyPrivacy.net [14-00380]
Dear Mr Jeftovic,
I appreciate your alleged concern for your users’ privacy.
Nonetheless, according to OLG Frankfurt a. Main, Urteil v. 22.8.2017,
Az. 11 U 71/16 you have to provide us at least with a name and e-mail of the infringer.
If you fail to comply with the law, further proceedings will be to file a criminal complaint against you in order to acquire this information on the basis of § 14 II TMG.
In this case, additional damages due to your uncooperative and unlawful behaviour will be claimed.
We await your reply until 20.09.2019.
Rechtsanwalt Robert Fechner
It’s almost as if Herr Fechner doesn’t understand that Canada is a completely different country than Germany, and thus businesses operating here are subject to Canadian, not German law, meaning:
- We are subject to Canadian privacy law (PIPEDA)
- Canadian Copyright Law provides for ISPs to forward copyright infringement notices to customers (for which the ISP may charge the complainant a fee for doing so).
- We only disclose client data pursuant to a valid court order, subpoena or warrant lawfully executed in the Province of Ontario
We have further advised Herr Fechner that both easyDNS and our lawyers take a dim view of being threatened with a criminal complaint over something like this and we wonder out loud if the German bar association would have anything to say about one of their own abusing their position and misrepresenting the law in this manner.
Fechner Legal August 9 2016-Redacted4 by stuntpope on Scribd
Comments are now closed.
Nobody has been sued. No threats were ever acted upon.
Ignore it and move on.
Bob Vennerbeck says
Hey, you’ve got until the 9th day of the 20th month of this year to respond.
Claire Goodwin says
Hello, I have received a letter from Robert Fechner Law firm and am really worried is he a scammer?
The letter is from 2016.
What has happened in the last 3 years?!?
Mark E. Jeftovic says
They finally printed it up and put in an envelope and mailed it to us (last month).
The email exchange took place last week.
Could you be so kind and tell us how did you resolve this issue? It’s half of 2021 already. People still continuing receiving those inappropriate letters from German “Lawer”.
Mark E. Jeftovic says
But was the court session or still nothing? We also got the written mail through the real mail, not internet )
Did you have legal problems in the end?
Max Mustermann says
Being a German, I have two Points:
1. We do not have a Bar Assotiation for Loyers in Germany … We have a Bundesrechtsanwaltsordnung and with that law you might be able to bring some justice to Mr. Fechner
2. He deserves to be punished hard for this, and if only for your ‘alleged concern’ for your users privacy. I think this is more a cornerstone of your business, and not some ‘Legend’ he is talking about. So you might go after him for endangering your business … at least in Germany I think you could do that.
They need to learn how GDPR works also, that’s not how it works.
This is quite frankly ridiculous.
For starters, EasyDNS didn’t commit the alleged violation either way and had no knowledge of it.
They know they cannot claim damages. They indirectly admitted this by demanding the data of the customer who they see as the perpetrator, so the damages part against EasyDNS is void by now. The value they quote for the damages is ridiculous in itself. But that’s how it’s done in Germany: Give a ridiculous amount to scare people and either horse trade it down in a settlement or have the court correct it for you. But they are free to ask.
§ 14 II TMG states you *may* (not must) give data to “authorities” under certain circumstances. They are not such an authority, they are civil lawyers. An authority would be a police force or a court, i.e. the state. The paragraph is there as a way for service providers to “violate” the privacy laws which would usually ban them from providing information to third parties when they want to help law enforcement agencies. It is not an obligation to actually do so (only a court might order a service provider to turn data over).
As such § 14 II TMG does not apply here at all.
What they should have quoted is § 14 IV TMG, which says civil parties can demand data (such as IP addresses) if they are harmed. But § 14 IV TMG then clarifies that this requires a court order.
The TMG gets interesting too when it comes to liability for service providers: § 10 says service providers are not liable for the storage of data by users if the provider did not have knowledge unlawful nature of such data. And further, the law states a provider does not have to do any proactive research.
Now it would be interesting to see if EasyDNS could be held liable if they knew because they did not store the data in question. Probably yes, under § 1004 BGB (Störerhaftung).
If EasyDNS or their customer disabled access to the allegedly infringing data in a timely manner, then liability for EasyDNS is out of question anyway under § 1004 BGB.
Now to OLG Frankfurt a. Main, Urteil v. 22.8.2017, Az. 11 U 71/16: This decision is hardly a final decision. Indeed, the Bundesgerichthof (BGH) suspended the process, awaiting a response from the EuGH, after which it will make a ruling (which could very well result in the lower court having to decide again based on decisions from the upper courts). See BGH, 21.02.2019 – I ZR 153/17.
You can almost be sure that the European Court of Justice (EuGH) will consider the GDPR in it’s decision too, but it has to be said too that the GDPR only came into effect after the alleged violation.
Nonetheless, the BGH already kind of decided that this is to be handled according to 2004/48/EG Art 8 Abs 2a, and that the local law § 101 Abs. 2 Nr. 3 UrhG that the lower courts decision was based on plays a subordinate role.
>If you fail to comply with the law, further proceedings will be to file a criminal complaint against you
They could try this, but the states attorney’s office would likely close the case, denying a prosecution a) because the complainant already knew the named party (EasyDNS) is not the perpetrator and b) it is a case of minor copyright infringement which do not get prosecuted (it’s about one pictures) and c) the statue of limitations might have run out already for the criminal part of copyright infringement.
If they decide to proceed, they’d proceed against the perpetrator, not EasyDNS, and might in fact nicely ask for the data of the perpetrator under § 14 II TMG, and if denied would have to go through the MLAT process between Germany and Canada.
>In this case, additional damages due to your uncooperative and unlawful behaviour will be claimed.
Nothing in German law requires you to be cooperative beyond what the law requires. Of course they can claim “additional damages” but they’d be laughed out of any court. It’s up the court to decide about damages anyway, and they can merely make claims, which to some degree they’d have to prove. “Damages” are damages and not punishment.
Oh, and you’re of course correct that you’re Canadian. But I got bad news for you: the German court system does not care. But they often do care about local laws (here Canadian laws) of the defendant and will not order a defendant to violate local laws.
tl;dr: German courts do not care about your Canadianess much, the damage claims are ridiculous, the “additional damages” claims even more so, the decision they cited is not final and binding (yet), the law they cited does not apply. But you still might be ordered to turn over the name and address, or even the IP address and other data in the end, and if you do not comply or try to ignore this because “different country”, that’s not a good idea either unless you want all your IP ranges to become a blackhole in Germany.
Garth Howe says
I would dutifully file these documents into the round filing cabinet on the floor beside my chair. This is so typical of many lawyers … send an intimidating document, and see if you hook any fish with it.
Wise Builds says
Very interesting, as I had an interaction last week that emphasized the fact that Germany, Switzerland and Canada are not the same countries, and there is no Canadian federal agency that can address digital warfare:
backscatterer.org – an extortion scheme – our government can do nothing. He blacklists servers for adhering to RFCs. Punishes some for out-of-office auto-replies, but not others. Takes payments for delistings, and does not delist. The guy is a simple criminal. But Google, Microsoft and Facebook use his blacklist – because he targets small providers.
War is digital now, these are the opening salvos in a battle that will go on for decades.
In my opinion Canada is at war with Switzerland and Germany. Our governments just will not acknowledge it.
I received these exact emails from the same Robert guy. At first, we said no problem, we’ll take down the photo. Then he replied saying we owed for damages. LMAO. What damages. And he kept giving us chance after chance to comply. Hahahahaha! DO NOT SEND THIS CON MONEY! I told him the money was in an account Nigeria. He stopped emailing after that.
Kathy Kaplan says
I’ve just had the same exchange and I’m in Australia
Mark E. Jeftovic says
Same law firm?
How did this end? I had a lot of emails from the same law firm and today i received a letter. I’m located in Greece.
Hi there! We are also located in Greece and today we received the same letter. We consider sending them the list of witnesses from NOOR1 & Novartis.
We are having the same trouble. Did it ever come to anything?
Mark E. Jeftovic says
No, we’ve never heard back from them
Melodie Polansky says
I also have been receiving emails from him threatening to sue me, I am in the US. I have asked for proof of said photo, and have yet to receive this. I asked him to send me mail instead of email and he has not, but continues to send me emails threatening me.
IP Attorney says
Just ignore this Robert Fechner guy. He doesn’t understand the law in the US, He sent a cease and desist to my client and demanded huge amount of cash settlement. He didn’t stop until I told him that a suit for harassment and extortion will be filed against him. The only way to treat a bully and to bully him back.
Well, being a German, having dealt with similar things:
The point that you’re missing is that indeed German courts can apply German law, if the website in question was accessible from a German computer.
Yep, sounds silly, but that’s how it is. Canadian Laws won’t help you if he pursues the infringement in Germany and gets an enforceable title over here.
Mark E. Jeftovic says
Maybe, possibly, against the website itself, however most courts everywhere would require evidence of actual damages.
But against an ISP in another country, which is both bound by its own country’s privacy laws (not to divulge client data) and protected by its copyright regime (you cannot demand or threaten damages in a takedown request and the ISP can charge you a fee to forward your notice), I really don’t see it happening.
I am in the process of dealing with this same guy as well……
Yes, I am getting the mail from that guy as well. What should I do, keep ignoring. I just don’t want to reply since I think that will just encourage him
Have just received an email from this same guy demanding quite a large sum of money
Got an email from him this morning for publication of a tiny photo buried in a blog on a website that supplies equipment for profoundly disabled people. I removed it immediately. We make no profit for what we do and there are only 2 of us. This scares me. What should I do?
Mark E. Jeftovic says
(Not legal advice…)
I’d just ignore it. You’ve already taken it down.
I’d ignore it. They are sending these threats and hope it sticks. “photographer” trinkhaus founded that company to finally make money with his photography. The way they act is illegal plus their company is registered in Poland too. There’s something sketchy about them, might be even tax fraud too.
Ignore them, and never ever reply!
Berne Convention is just a treaty not a law binding authority for any country. Countries like US and Canada used it as reference only. If they have to enforce anything in the Europe they have to go to the Europe Union of Justice. In States or Canada they have to hire another lawyer to have any legal proceeding. In US Copyright law they can claim the actual damages but no other damages and lawyer fee at all.
No case till date as far as I have gone through online, have been decided in favor of the plaintiff outside Europe based on Berne Convention.
I have been exchanging emails back and forward with them as well. I tried to settle but they seem keen on ripping me off. Has anyone actually went to trial with them?
Got a Email from this guy too. He wants over 7.200,00 Euros for sharing a couple of pictures on instagram. The photos was even tagged and linked to the photographer and his name mentioned in appreciation of his work and asking people to visit his site.
I earn a normal wage and got 3 kids and a spouse to support, barely making the rounds. And now im supposed to financially ruin my life and the lifes of my family for sharing a picture???
How can this sort of thing be allowed?
Mark E. Jeftovic says
(not legal advice, yada yada…)
I would just ignore him.
what makes you think that? I got a similar message about images but he did not specify which images, just a bill. No opportunity to take down… even though I purchase all my images from a royalty free site.
I got an email this morning. Firstly he said its the 2nd email he sent me but I never got an email from him the first time. I searched my inbox and spam. Also he says it to do with an image but not specific about which image or given me an opportunity to take it down. All my images I pay for from a royalty free website so unlikely I have infringed especially has he has not said where the image is, just demanding payment for 3800 euros… sounds like a scam. I am based in the UK.
Is there an attachment? I’d check that. Most likely he sent a screenshot of the photo they click you copied.
I would not be surprised if they upload their photos to a royalty free website for people to use it for free and then go after the people who did. This whole photoclaim is a big unethical way of making money. Check the previous comments and their dodgy website in Poland for maybe tax reasons.
the attachment is just a pdf letter of exactly the same in his email. He is not specific about his client or the actual image. Just threatening.
I have had the same thing. The image was on Wikimedia under creative commons. I used it, 1 year later the image gets pulled from Wikimedia and 6 months later I get these letters. You explain and you take the image down, but the barrage of emails and letters never stops.
My thinking is how do you protect yourself against this. You need to track every image you have used and are using. How do sites with 20k images do this.
We’ve been fighting with him for two years. He’s not a bad guy, though. I’m curious: Did he tell any of you the name of the photographer? This second time, apparently, he, the photographer or some third party hacked into the archives of a client that had already paid him–i.e., it was the photo that was taken down. We’re considering action on that basis. Also, does anyone know the court proceedings? Is it like US small claims court? Or different.
he did not mention which photo at all. He is threatening court proceedings in Germany. For two years you have been fighting him! is he legit? and is he allowed to do this?
I also am in the process of dealing with this Fechner guy as well…
He keeps asking for money about a couple of photos in low quality that I posted to my personal blog, properly credited and all…
What you gona do next? His behaviour is not legal.
I am getting the same letter for a photograph on my FB page which was taken down. I am in the U.S.
I am just ignoring it. Is he really going to take all of us to court? He hasn’t even proven the photo is copyrighted in the U.S. or anywhere else.for that matter.
Same here, i from Malaysia, only one photo post on Facebook, already take down since there send me several email, and need pay them around RM20,000. But one things that know mine address, email address and company name. So should i do now?
Mark E. Jeftovic says
(Not Legal Advice, etc)
may i know what happen to you now? i’m also from Malaysia
I am from Malaysia too. I receive too by Mail in May 2021. After that i check my email. They email me 3 times in year 2019 before
For anyone that got a message from fechner, check out this site:
It seems that there is another German lawyer whos specialty is to deal with fechner’s letters…
I got a 3rd email threatening as a final warning to goto court and demanding money. He said under eu law he can file in Germany then take me to court in the UK…. anyway so many holes in his email.
For example the basic….. where is the copyright infringement even happening? 🤣
Hmmm do I continue to ignore him. I know the UK court will just laugh at him.
I got a final letter before he says to take me to court. Yet he has not provided the evidence of where the infringement has happened. ….. clown.
I got about 4 “final letters”
anyone else having issues?
Anyone else? I got a final letter saying he will start court proceedings but looks bogus.
Donna Brunet says
We received a letter today claiming we violated his client’s copyright on our website. However, after reviewing his client’s photos, none of them are on our website. We are a nonprofit and get our photos from our National group or we pay for stock photos. he wants us to send him $1366.43 EUR or he will file a lawsuit. Our letter sounds the same as most of yours above. As of now, we are going to ignore it. I’ll probably run it by our lawyer just to have her check it out further.
Today there already send me hard copy for requested that payment RM20,000+, and if not do there will lawsuit, any can help on it?
Arthur G says
CK did you ever get a lawsuit?
I have not been contacted by Mr. Fechner but I have now received two bullying and harassing emails from a Mr. Zielinski who works for a company called Photography Defender (a Polish company) that works in cohoots with a company called Photoclaim. Back in 2016, I had used an image I found on Flickr Creative Commons for a blog post (for my personal, hobby, non money making blog).
Long story short, the latter is a phishing company, it’s software that trolls the Internet looking for images, contacts the photographer and then lets the photographer know their image is on such and such website. They then go after that website for a ridiculous sum of money, claiming heavy damages, legal fees etc. If it’s ignored, they’ll pursue legal action. There are so many things that I find highly suspect including the fact that like others have said in their experiences, I received this via email (not certified mail as is done with cease and desist type issues and other legal matters)…they based the damages on some abstract “MFM tables-Mittelstandsgemeinschaft Foto-Marketing” that’s only a German thing, whereas only courts can really say “x amount of money is due.” I’ve yet to find any credible mentions online about Photoclaim being successful in a court of law, especially since they would send these phishing companies out to hundreds upon hundreds of people.
From the first email I received, I did not sign Mr. Zielinki’s “cease and desist” letter. All I did was respond back letting him know I had immediately taken down the image, that my site was not a commercial site, I make no money from it, it’s a personal blog. And here in the US, my site should fall under the Fair Use Act. Not to mention, I had properly credited the photographer, linked to his page too. I was never trying to pass off anything as mine. I already spent $300USD to speak to a US lawyer about it. I did email two German attorneys just to see but it’s a scam. As the American attorney told me, only a court can specify the damages, not Mr. Zielinski from shady law firm which just preys on people to pay up out of fear.
And, Photography defender and Photoclaim both seem to be Polish companies, while Zielinski is a German attorney, and I keep being told and threatened that the German courts will try me…
Anyone have any experience with the bullies at Photoclaim or Zielinski himself?
ecce homo says
Hi We are having the same experience in ITALY from Photoclaim or Zielinski
Steven Greaves says
Has anyone outside of German actually been sued by this guy? And was he successfully in applying a German court judgement in another country outside the EU?
I did want to ask-does anyone think I made it worse for myself by even replying to Zielinski’s email in which I said I had taken down the image and that I make no money from my blog and didn’t want any further issue? I’m really regretting now that I did so and wish I had never made any contact.
And-in the one document that I was sent, the one where I am supposed to sign the cease and desist, my mailing address was listed on it. Is it safe to say that was obtained in an illegal manner? Especially as I know the EU is SO big on privacy laws. That seems like a blatant violation.
Yeah, it was not a good idea to get in touch. Now we knows that there is a person behind and everything you say can be used against you – like in any cop movie. Ignore this guy. It’s a shady company from Poland (they want to save taxes), but they claim to be in Germany, since the “founder” is a bad German photographer, who cannot live from his photos. So he started this thing to sue people on the internet.
Never ever reply, take down the photo, and move on 🙂
A B says
What happened to you in the end?
Now he is starting to send me messages, but the fact is that I have lived in Mexico since 2014 and he wants to report me in Spain.
Alex T. says
Please someone explain why are so many people are asking if they should contact this miscreant Fechner.
Are you saying you haven’t encountered a troll before? What do you hope to accomplish by telling this garbage you are desisting ? You think he is going to say, oh, everything is resolved. Have a beautiful day? That’s when he knows he’s got a sucker worthy of pursuit.
If you still want to contact him, then please, I’ve got a bunch of Nigerian princes who’d love be your pen pal.
Just from the fact that his letters are un-certified you should know this is a third-rate troll.
PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND.
His letters – we scanned his nonsense and laughed our asses off when he raised the stakes. He started with demanding 2600 euros and today I saw the figure of 7500 euros as I was scanning his latest crap before tearing it up.
He’ll keep doing this until someone comes along and delivers his comeuppance.
At least he uses real paper so it’s good for my compost.
Got hit with the same guy. I’m in the US and went through great lengths to ensure that I was covered by US Fair Use. Robert said that I wasn’t in compliance with German Fair Use and has been trying to shake me down. The blog was a personal blog with some affiliate links here and there that never generated any revenue. Hadn’t managed the blog in years. I even tried to offer Robert a portion of the money in-line with what I felt was a reasonable lisecning fee for the photo and he still demanded thousands more. Took down the photo and the blog. Gonna ignore this guy.
IGNORE! Since April i have been tracking him, he has removed is google reviews and trustpilot and his listing on google maps. He sent me a bunch of emails and a hard letter. Some court examples but in languages I cannot read… thanks idiot. I am in the UK and is game is to play you…. you speak to a lawyer and they will charge or so he hopes you will just pay him instead of paying a lawyer.
Since April I have ignored him and he as given up. He always threatens court action but never takes action. He recycles his approach. Such a dummy! Please don’t fall for this crap
We got mail from Fechner too. He said that we have used Daniil Korzhonovs picture in our website. Funny thing is, that we don’t have any website. We don’t have any pages at all. Company is not active. Has not been many years. So? Should we pay 3200 euros?
We got an email too – our lawyer asks him to send exact link showing where he found us to be ‘using’ his client’s photo. He sends same link he used in first email – not associated with our ‘use’ at all. He has now sent updated fees to pay plus interest. We are in New Zealand.
Yesterday it was my turn. I am Hungarian. I was requested to pay 2000EUR for I don’t know what. He didn’t say what I did wrong.
I was advised to contact the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin. We’ll see if they response.
Pintér Vivien says
What did they say? My friend also has troubles with this Fechner and I’m also Hungarian.
I have the same situation for my company in Poland we used one photo on a blog post and got the email, they want over 5000 EUR, which is impossible for us to even think about paying, has anyone else ignored it and it has gone away?
Mark E. Jeftovic says
Everybody has ignored it and it has gone away.
charikleia Anastasopoulou says
i receive emails for almost a year from Fechner legal company. I never replied to any of them.
Today i had a final reminder letter in my office demanding 2757.72 euro. I live in Greece I dont know the differences betwwen greek and german laws, but do you think i have to take a legal advice or to keep ignoring them?
Mark E. Jeftovic says
Let’s put it this way: had Fechner actually pulled anybody into court, somebody would have probably posted it here. I think we’re the number one hit in Google for this guy.
I’m in Greece too. Never contacted the guy. What did finally happen? Did he get you to court?
Dave W says
I am in the US and received a letter from Marcin Zielinski asking for damages for a photo used on my FB page which was promptly taken down, along with the page itself. He is also threatening legal action in Germany if I do not pay up before the end of this week. He claims to have attorney partners in other countries, including the U.S. who will take up his client’s case. He references the Berne Convention in his threatening letter after I asked for proof of copyright in the US. I did consult my personal attorney and a friend who is a copyright attorney and they advised me to ignore him which I plan to do. I assume he is of a similar breed as Mr. Fechter.
Brooklyn Williams says
He contacted me too! I did respond because when I looked him it it’s was a real firm. We took down the picture then I got 3 letters by email demanding different amounts of money. I just emailed him that I notified the fbi of his letters and the courts in Germany. And if we don’t hear from by Tuesday, we consider the case handled. I’m not paying him for a small pic that was used in an itinerary that we got from a picture free site.
Did you heard anything from him after your reaction to them?
Mark E. Jeftovic says
Did you heard something from him till now?
Mark E. Jeftovic says
My friend who lives outside of the EU also got several threatening emails from this Zielinski with the amount of money they wanted ever growing. My friend ignored them, which i believe is a good course of action. There is no court in the world that would think that these Fechner people get to take thousands of euros for the act of publishing a few pictures that are often even correctly credited and no or very little money gets made off of. I get that photographers want to be paid for their work and receive an honest price, but this slapping people who were not even realizing they did something incorrectly with thousands of euros of fees and threatening with lawsuits is NOT the way to go about it.
This is an intelligent scam, and I feel sorry for everyone who ends up in their crosshairs. What a despicable way to try and make money, they should be ashamed of themselves. I hope they try to bully the wrong guy one day who will drag them to court so they will get punished for this terrible behavior that causes a lot of unnecessary stress.
Look like this issue never end, i received this email and also hardcopy letter from year 2019 April. Until now still got many people received he letter. how to solve it?
Hi. Zielinski keeps harrassing me for a couple of months now. Did he take anyone to court?
A friend in the US has received repeated emails from Fechner since September 2020. The friend had used an image on a website, without knowledge that Fechner’s client claimed to own the copyright in the image. Friend immediately removed the image, but keeps getting the letters from Fechner, seeking damages, attorneys fees, etc. Friend has continued to ignore the letters. Friend has not been served with any legal action. I am posting this info so that others can be aware of yet another instance of letters being sent without a lawsuit being filed.
I work for a company that gets at least one of these fraudulent claims a week, and we have for many years. We have ignored them and nothing has happened beyond the “final warnings”. Recently, we even reached out to the photographer who Fechner claimed to be representing in a takedown and the photographer said he is not even a client of theirs and our company has full permission to use his work! After pointing that out Fechner acted like that never happened and kept sending warnings.
This guy is complete scum and has no legal standing, just preying upon fears. Take down the images if you’re unsure about their ownership, but do not respond to him or anyone from Photography Defender or Photo Claim.
Jason any update related this scam..
Also had a couple of emails from this guy, about an image that was part of supplied assets for a blog I run. Deleted the picture and told him it was a mistake… apologies to his photographer. He wants € 3,528.84. God loves a trier! I mean… I recently licensed some Richard Avedon from Getty for an e-commerce project and it was about £400. Have told him he’s wasting his time, and filtered all emails to spam. It’s a quite smart scam though. I’ve looked elsewhere online and some people HAVE negotiated and paid something… so given that he’s sending out THOUSANDS of emails (and is even now obviously in business with that lawyer guy with the “did you get an email from Robert Fechner?” website), he must be making some money. As scams go, it’s got some finesse to it. Even if 0.5% people pay something, he’s probably doing quite well from it.
Received his stupid letter by mail. Not answering his bs legal arguments and I am a lawyer.
Bent Hadler says
We have just had the pleasure of a mail from the guy. About a photo that we received to use from one of our hotel partners. Same procedure as the rest of you.
We have decided to just ignore him.
I received last days from Marcin zielinski that I didn’t responded and that he start the court. He comes in his email with a couple of specific cases of courts in the past which he won. I checked and the court reports were legal. Has anyone received an courtletter from Marcin Zielinski and did you won or he?
Ignore it and it will go away. Stop worrying about some copyright troll.
Same here, I received many emails from this guy. He is the worst. Complete scammer, at least asks for a reasonable amount. Absolute joke of a person and I hope he gets shut down.
April 2021 – same here. He did send the proof which we took down. But we didn’t get any first mail, just mail with 4 days deadline to sign something – case and desist (we dont speak english very good so we dont understand it) – we didn’t sign but we replied we took down the image etc etc. After 2 days another mail saying we have to pay grand total around 1600€ and also “you have to sign the case and desist” .. what the heck is with this world ? I am totally sad because this looks legit, with real company and lawyers but the practice they are using looks criminal. I can see only threats and no reasonable price for using a photo on instagram of 500 followers and 10 likes on photo. I don’t know what to do, if this is legit.. SOS Recht wants 350€ for “fighting” with Fechner… I also wrote the photographer if these practices are real and normal and what we can do ? I always download only free photos from free websites, but I cant control every photo every one month if someone maybe took it down for free and made it copyrighted ,,.. this is such a nonsense
Arlie Conner says
We got the same email complaint. I made the mistake of writing back, patiently and politely explaining it was a scam. Just made things worse. I will ignore from now on. The strange thing is that we didn’t use the photo in question, it had to be a hack of our website to embed that. Isn’t that something we can sue over (if we can figure out who hacked and added this photo)? It seems criminal to embed a photo and then claim infringement. Surely the hacking is not legal? F**ck Fechner.
I just got one too! Whatever you guys do don’t sign the cease and desist, that mean’s you’re acknowledging that you are aware of a copyright infringement. Simply ignore this conman, a total scam. ok some people might be guilty of small errors of judgement – in some cases, but the figures on his threatening emails are ridiculous.
I would also advise people not to use the below website:
Who knows if they are the same person, this seems like a very elaborate scam to me.
Best advise – ignore. Eventually it go away, in reality providing you took any suspect images down as soon as it was made aware they were copyrighted what’s the worst than can happen on a small blog or personal site? You were not making money from these images AND even in the German law system IF you were found guilty the price to pay would be nominal and they would laugh this conman out of the courtroom (if you were to ever turn up in court)
Just ignore folks. The guy is not really a legitimate professional judging by his behavior
Haha, this Feckner guy, what a gangster. After we received an email with completely false allegations (we have a cookery site and we take our own photos) I Googled him to find out more. Besides this article there’s a link to serious dirt on him in a dedicated website, http://www.fechner-legal-letters.com.
In my country he would be investigated, how are his (and trinkhaus) actions not classified as extortion. It’s a scam. Don’t sign or respond to any of them, they’d be laughed at if they actually filed any court orders with the damages they are claiming. It would also cost them money to pursue anyway outside of germany or poland
After we received an email with completely false allegations from the same guy I Googled him to find out more. He seems to have removed his Google Business Listing (Do a “Fechner Legal” search and read the reviews under the XX. profile)
In my country there is no way he would be able to get away with his actions, he should be investigated. No legal advice but don’t sign any letter or respond to any of them without talking to a solicitor. They’d be laughed at if they actually filed any court orders with the crazy damages they are claiming. It would also cost them money to pursue anyway outside of Germany or Poland
We’re on our third letter now from Fechner Legal. Still awaiting proof of what “damages” he’s claiming. Just don’t engage, easy solution. Plenty of resources on him if you do a Google search for “Fechner Legal Letters”
Niko Trinkhaus is behind all of it. Robert Frenchner is a lawyer of his company, Photolcaim. This is their business model. Trinkhaus is an unsuccesful, mediocre photographer, who can only make money by threatening people to pay them. They send emails to students, pensioners, etc. And want so much money that would make those people bankrupt. They have no any remorse at all after all the trouble / depression, maybe suicide they cause.
And they make millions of it. Many people / companies pay.
His strategy: he puts a price list to his website, on which he writes that he sells his photos for thousands of Euros / piece. Of course, no one ever bought a photo from him, but he can say on the court, that it is for sale, and it was stolen (but I also agree: don’t pay, I don”t think that they will go to court!). Maybe I could accept to pay 100-200 EUR, but never 5000, the money I don’t have.
I cannot believe that it is even legal in the EU. They harass people with law. They should go to jail. Something should be done.
And, not a legal advice, but: never sign and send back cease and desist!! They will have easy job at the court after that, you have basically a contract with them from that time.
Legal action coming soon says
They are a joke. Both scam artists trying to get people to pay money. I’m going to take legal action to take these two clowns down! Just wait!
I’ve received “final warning” before going to court.
There was a little photo (now removed) from an educational blog with no revenues.
They want approx 3000 EUR.
This is highly exaggerated, but do they have a real case for court?
I’m from Israel. No German would ever visit a blog written in Hebrew.
Has anyone actually received a real letter from this guy? I did and noticed no one else here has mentioned it.
Mark E. Jeftovic says
This whole thing started when our company received a couple of actual letters from them via courier. They were print outs of letters apparently emailed to us over a year earlier (sent to a malformed email address).
Did they finally report it to court?
i got received him hardcopy letter
Arthur G says
I am also in Malaysia. have received only email so far. What did you decide to do?
And what’s happened later? Any courts happened yet?
until nothing happen
No court dates as none of these go to court. They’re a joke. Stop worrying folks, no court would accept such behavior from dodgy lawyers
Just to say that I’ve gotten 3 emails over the summer from this Marcin Zielinksi fella. He included an image that I grabbed somewhere online for a lecture at a University (I posted a blog of the lecture for students reference). He demanded thousands for a 600 x 400 pixel jpeg… I’ve worked with Getty and other Magnum Photographers in the past and know what the price of digital license are, what he was demanding is insane. I took the image down, emailed him saying that and promptly ignored him. He’s since emailed twice, with lower demands, but always with the threat of legal action. The fact he is just supplying a bank account for me to send the money… it’s just so blatant and shocking. I’m based in the UK, but speak a bit of German, I tried to call him when I first got the email to see what the hell this guy is about, his receptionist refused to put me through.
Anyway, I think like the rest of you, I’ll continue to ignore because I can’t see how this could realistically be taken to court. A non-commercial use of a very small image over a short time scale, with a few page views does not demand damages like this. I just wish I ignored him straight from the start and just took the image down.
Would love to hear from others if they have heard anything since they got the ramped up ‘regardless of you being in X, we can take you to court in Germany’. I can’t see a German judge thinking this is a good use of court time…
I’ve got a final letter today in my email…. What I read about him I think I just gonna ignore it. Hopefully thats the right thing to do
What happened to this situation regarding Zielinski?
I need help now they have written to me.
Anyone know anything about these processes? I am from Spain but i live in mexico and now they threaten me, my lawyer told me to just ignore it.
I am receiving threats from Zielinski, I see that many have been sent. Anyone who can tell if something has ever happened?
What should I do? It worries me a lot.