Intellectual Property Holders seek damages on the local level

Are you illegally downloading media to your computer at home, saying to yourself “No one will catch me” ?

It’s time to halt the illegal downloads before the property owner catches up with you.

Broadbent & Taylor has received inquiries from clients who are receiving emails from their ISPs, identifying that the IP addresses associated with the cable/internet accounts have been identified as illegally downloading material, with a forwarded message from the intellectual property holder.  The email from the ISP is essentially a cease and desist  to halt any illegal downloads, at the risk of having your cable/internet connection terminated.

The portion of the email from the Intellectual Property holder is essentially a demand to settle a copyright infringement claim for a set amount of money.  It provides a website to go to, and an account number to enter in order to settle the claim.

If you do not settle the claim, the letter goes on to threaten legal action, attorneys fees, and high damages.

What should you do if you receive one of these emails? Contact an attorney immediately.  Make sure it is legitimate.  Make sure that if you settle the claim, it includes any and all downloads from a particular production house.  (If the claim only involves one movie, and you have downloaded 12, the intellectual property holder could potentially come back 12 times with separate demands.)  

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Massachusetts “No Fix” Statute

From time to time, Massachusetts police officers will send you a citation in the mail.  You open the ticket, have no recollection of the day or the violation.  In fact, you were never even stopped by the police.

What can you do to defend yourself from this type of ticket?

Massachusetts has what is called a “No Fix Statute” which governs this type of violation.

 M.G.L. 90C Section 2 states in relevant part: “A failure to give a copy of the citation to the violator at the time and place of the violation shall constitute a defense in any court proceeding for such violation, except where the violator could not have been stopped or where additional time was reasonably necessary to determine the nature of the violation or the identity of the violator, or where the court finds that a circumstance, not inconsistent with the purpose of this section to create a uniform, simplified and non-criminal method for disposing of automobile law violations, justifies the failure. In such case the violation shall be recorded upon a citation as soon as possible after such violation and the citation shall be delivered to the violator or mailed to him at his residential or mail address or to the address appearing on his license or registration as appearing in registry of motor vehicles records. The provisions of the first sentence of this paragraph shall not apply to any complaint or indictment charging a violation of section twenty-four, twenty-four G or twenty-four L of chapter ninety, providing such complaint or indictment relates to a violation of automobile law which resulted in one or more deaths.”

What does this mean to the operator that received the ticket in the mail?  

1. At the clerk hearing, you can raise a defense under this statute.  It shifts the burden to the police department to establish a reason under the statute for not citing the motorist when the violation occurred.

2. At the judge appeal, you may again raise a defense under this statute.  At this level, the officer, must, under oath, testify as to why the ticket was sent in the mail rather than given in hand.

3. You may have a basis for an appeal to the appellate division as a matter of law, since there is a statutory defense to this type of citation.

Your best bet to beat a citation is to hire an attorney that is experienced in the local courts and who is familiar with the laws surrounding this citations.  

Broadbent & Taylor offers free consultations with all traffic matters.  Contact us today to discuss your case.

What can a living trust do for you?

Living trusts are one of the most utilized estate planning tools; however, they are one of the most commonly misunderstood documents.  

 

So, what can a living trust do?

 

The biggest objective that a living trust can accomplish is avoiding probate.  A living revocable trust can funded with most, or all, of your assets during your lifetime.  The assets are owned by the trust, but you still have control over and use of the assets during your lifetime.  At your death, the trust becomes irrevocable and the assets are distributed to the successor beneficiaries outside of probate.  

 

Avoiding probate not only saves substantial time and money, but it also gives you additional privacy.  Once a will enters probate, it becomes a public document and anyone can access it.  This is not so for living trusts.  

 

Just because living wills are such good estate planning documents does not mean that they are a “one-size-fits-all” tool.  If you have a modest estate and aren’t concerned with creditors or possible will contests, a living trust may be overkill.  Often times a well-drafted will is sufficient to accomplish your goals.  

 

A word of caution: living trusts do not replace the necessity of having a will.  A living trust is just one element of a well-drafted estate plan.  In addition to your living trust, you should have a pour-over will (so anything not included in the trust during your lifetime is transferred into the trust at your death), a living will (also known as an advanced directive), a health care proxy, a power of attorney, HIPAA authorizations, and an appointment of guardianship if you have minor children.

 

If you think that a living trust is something you and your family would benefit from, please contact the attorneys at Broadbent & Taylor today to schedule a free initial consultation.