I took several photos that I posted on a photo site. All of the photos were listed as "Copyrighted - All Rights Reserved". Someone copied the photos from the photo site and sold prints of them on a very large auction site. That is a clear violation of copyright law.
I faxed an infringement notice to this auction site with the auction numbers and references to my photos on the photo site. The auctions have now been removed. The problem is that many of the infringed upon photos have already been sold. Therefore I need to uncover the name, address, etc. of the seller so that I can send them a settlement offer and/or sue for damages. To do this, the auction site sent me a legal document to sign and send back before they will release his/her contact information. However, this document has a covenant that I am very concerned about and I fear that if I sign it I will be unable to sue the seller for damages. The covenant states:
"Governing Law and Choice of Forum. Agreement shall be governed in all respects by the laws of the State of California, as such laws are applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within California between California residents. Both parties submit to personal jurisdiction in California and further agree that any cause of action arising under this Agreement shall be brought exclusively in a court in Santa Clara County, CA."
Neither the seller nor I live in California. We live in different states from each other as well. Is this saying that if I sue the seller it must be "in a court in Santa Clara County, CA"? Or is it saying that if I involve the auction site in a lawsuit that it must be "in a court in Santa Clara County, CA". Are "both parties" are the auction site and I? What is the correct interpretation of this covenant? I just want to make sure I'm not effectively signing away my rights to sue the seller.
My Stolen Photos