It seems silly that we would need to answer this question, but yes, CopyCat Legal PLLC is a legitimate law firm with real-life attorneys working in conjunction with real-life clients in pursuit of real-life claims for copyright infringement (wow – that was a lot of “real-life” usage there – oh no, I did it again).
We get it. You receive an e-mail or a letter via FedEx from CopyCat Legal. The letter accuses you and/or your company of copyright infringement (usually as a result of an alleged unauthorized use of photographs and/or artwork on your website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The letter from CopyCat Legal usually includes screenshots of your website/social media, a copy of a registration certificate for its client’s copyright, and may even include a draft Complaint/lawsuit. The letter then goes on to demand payment of thousands/tens of thousands of dollars and states that a lawsuit might be filed if you refuse to pay/ignore the letter.
There is a natural inclination to question whether the letter is legitimate – there are plenty of scams out there and you should always be vigilant in not falling victim to them. Hopefully, we can clear this up, but please understand that we at CopyCat Legal have our own biases/beliefs – if you’re still questioning the legitimacy of CopyCat Legal by the end of this article, we encourage you to do your own homework/investigation, speak to your own lawyer/attorney, and satisfy yourself that what you received is not a scam.
Let’s start with the obvious question. What is CopyCat Legal? Glad you asked. CopyCat Legal is a law firm owned/managed principally by two attorneys – Daniel DeSouza and James D’Loughy. It employs several other attorneys and staff members, and all of them work together to pursue copyright infringement and other intellectual property claims on its clients’ behalf.
Next question – how do I confirm for myself that the above isn’t a lie? Good question. You can verify all of this from various third-party (independent) sources. CopyCat Legal was formed as a Florida professional limited liability company in June 2019. Florida’s Department of State/Division of Corporations maintains a website where anyone can search for existing business entities and review the information for each. Click on “Search Records”, search by “Name”, and then type in “CopyCat Legal. Voila… you now see that CopyCat Legal exists and likewise see the name of its owners.
Not enough? Ok, you’re skeptical/hard to convince – not a problem. CopyCat Legal has its main law firm office in Florida and all of its lawyers are admitted to practice in Florida (amongst various other states). Need proof that its lawyers are actually lawyers? You can check the Florida Bar’s website. Just type in the name of the lawyer you want to see and search away.
Still not sure whether CopyCat Legal is a legitimate law firm? I’m running out of ideas here, but here’s a last-ditch effort. When recipients of CopyCat Legal demand letters ignore the issue/respond with ‘not so kind’ remarks, we occasionally are forced to file federal court lawsuits to enforce our clients’ rights. The federal court system maintains a website whereby anyone can register for an account and search for parties to a lawsuit. You can search for our attorneys’ last name/first name and see the number of federal court lawsuits associated with that particular attorney.
Still need convincing? Not really sure what we can do if the above isn’t good enough. Best we can do is offer a suggestion – don’t just ignore the letter or the follow-up phone calls/e-mails you receive from CopyCat Legal. If you do, you’re more likely than not to have a process server show up at your door to serve you with a copy of a filed lawsuit. At that point, you’ll certainly know whether CopyCat Legal is a legitimate law firm and you’ll need to take action hiring your own attorney to defend the lawsuit. Don’t wait until that happens – if you need assistance deciphering the legal claims/accusations/demands being made by CopyCat Legal and its clients, reach out to your own attorney to discuss the matter. Or, if you have an insurance policy that may cover these types of claims, reach out to your insurance agent to discuss the matter. Or, you can pick up the phone and call us or e-mail us back to start a discussion. Those are all generally better options than just ignoring the issue and hoping it will go away.
By: Daniel DeSouza, Esq.