Copyright action through small claims court?

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Posted by Christine D. Clemens on January 24, 1999 at 23:50:49:


I'm seeking a little advice. Someone on AOL recently copied portions of my web site (which clearly displays my copyright notice) and put them on their own site. I wrote to them a number of times asking them to remove the pages, and copied the emails to AOL's legal department. Neither have responded. I know that the girl who copied the pages is only 15 and that in CA, people have to be over 18 to be sued in the small claims court. So I'm assuming I'll have to sue AOL.

As I'm not suffering finanical damage the damages I'd be after are pretty small... really I want AOL to be forced to remove the pages, and I think they owe me some damages for having done absolutely nothing about if for 2 weeks.

As I'd be asking for an amount around $500, I'm assuming the small claims court is the place to go. However, I'd like to know whether the fact that AOL aren't in CA will make this difficult. What is the procedure for suing someone in another state?

I'm hoping of course that a legal letter will be enough to spur them into action, but I'd like some more information. My father is a lawyer so I can get the basic copyright information easily, but he's in the UK so he can't help me on the US specifics or on filing the claim. (I've been in the US for about a year.)

Thanks for any advice,

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