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Germany Must Prosecute Marcus Schmitt of Copytrack for Running Worldwide Cyber Extortion Racket

Germany Must Prosecute Marcus Schmitt of Copytrack for Running Worldwide Cyber Extortion Racket. Photo: RMN News Service

Germany Must Prosecute Marcus Schmitt of Copytrack for Running Worldwide Cyber Extortion Racket. Photo: RMN News Service

Germany Must Prosecute Marcus Schmitt of Copytrack for Running Worldwide Cyber Extortion Racket

This write-up may be treated as my formal petition against Copytrack and Marcus Schmitt while as a petitioner I offer to participate in court hearings through video conferencing or other digital channels.

By Rakesh Raman

If you enter the text string “Copytrack extortion” or “Copytrack scam email” or “marcus schmitt copytrack extortion email” in Google search, you will find hundreds of hyperlinks and sublinks which direct you to the web resources that explain the cyber extortion crime being committed by Copytrack, a shady German outfit.

Several innocent people in different parts of the world are victims of Copytrack’s intimidation through emails that demand extortion money under the garb of vague copyright laws.

Unfortunately, however, the law-enforcement agencies – particularly in Germany – have turned a blind eye to the cybercrimes being committed with impunity by this criminal enterprise called Copytrack GmbH at Dresdener Str. 31, 10179 Berlin, Germany.

Copytrack CEO Marcus Schmitt sends hostile emails to website owners who usually run very small online services, asking them to pay hefty compensation fees for some images that they may have used on their sites even years ago without breaking any copyright laws.

With their criminal modus operandi, Copytrack and Marcus Schmitt do not even serve a “Cease and Desist” notice – which is mandatory in the realm of natural justice – asking the website owners to remove the pictures / images if they have violated any copyright law.

As Copytrack runs its racket clandestinely, it even does not explain its formal association with the copyright holders on whose behalf it claims to be working. 

As most of Copytrack targets are small users, they do not even know if they have violated any copyright law because they use publicly available images innocuously with credit given to the source from where they have taken the images. 

A number of such images come with press releases that the companies issue. The copyright laws for compensation do not apply to such “FAIR USE” cases. However, Copytrack intimidates even the editorial sites with threatening emails aimed to extort money from them in euros. 

Most of these sites hounded by Copytrack do not even earn the kind of money that the extortionist company expects them to pay. But with threats of taking legal actions against the site owners who publish the images, Copytrack and Marcus Schmitt are running the extortion racket at a global scale without getting punished.


As I am also a victim of crimes being committed by Copytrack, I sent a detailed representation to Dr. Barbara Slowik, Chief of Police, Berlin Police, Germany, to take legal action against Copytrack and Marcus Schmitt.

In my appeal, I urged the law-enforcement authorities to initiate criminal proceedings against Marcus Schmitt and his company Copytrack for terrorizing me and other people to extort money by using a fraudulent cyber scheme. 

I also asked the authorities to direct Marcus Schmitt and his company Copytrack to compensate me with US$ 1 million (One Million US Dollars) for their criminal acts that have inflicted mental agony, constant disturbance, and personal as well as professional loss to me.

After my complaint to the authorities in September 2022, Copytrack stopped sending me reminders for compensation. I thought it has realized its mistake and won’t disturb me in future.

However, to my utter surprise, I received repeated emails in October 2023 from Copytrack which said I have used another image on my technology site RMN Digital. Since it was again a wrong claim by Copytrack, I complained again to Berlin Police in November 2023. And Copytrack did not pursue its compensation demand.

But this month (June 2024), I received a couple of more emails from Copytrack which threatened me to pay for another image that it says I used in 2013 – that is, more than 10 years ago.

But when I clicked the link Copytrack sent to me, there was no image in that article and I had published that article in 2010. I have even quoted the source from where I had taken the text information for that article.

So, Copytrack tried to falsely implicate me in three different cases, while I have not violated any copyright law. As Copytrack is repeatedly sending me wrong emails despite my complaints against its crimes, I realized that it is using some cheap web crawling technology or artificial intelligence (AI)-based image search techniques which are not yet stable.

It appears that after taking wrong inputs from its automated systems, Copytrack keeps sending template-based threatening emails to even genuine users to extort money from them. 

It is evident from the fact that a former White House photographer Pete Souza also received a Copytrack notice for using a photo that he himself took. Later, according to a report in The Independent, it was admitted that the copyright threat was sent by mistake and it will not be pursued.

While Copytrack claims it works for its clients such as WENN Rights International Ltd. to protect their images, it does not send along with its threatening emails any formal agreement with the so-called clients. These clients also do not inform the image reusers about their arrangements with Copytrack. So, the entire operation is working in a shady manner.

More importantly, the copyright holders do not prohibit the people who download their images and who are later intimidated suddenly by Copytrack. The copyright holders also do not put price tags of their images and do not put any watermark on their images to protect them from reusers when they try to download them. 

Since these images are openly available in the public domain and there is no visible restriction on their reuse, Copytrack is not supposed to bring them arbitrarily under copyright laws and it cannot ask others to pay money for their reuse.


Copytrack also threatens to take legal action against those who have violated the copyright laws while reusing the images. It asserts that it can file legal cases in Germany or other local courts where the reusers reside. 

This is also a shallow threat because German courts do not have jurisdiction to prosecute people who live in other countries. And the local courts where the reusers live will have to follow the due legal process before they reach any conclusion. 

Since almost all Copytrack cases are fake, in all probability the courts will not admit them. But if some courts accept some cases filed by Copytrack, they will have to issue notices to the accused for filing their response. 

Some of the sites accused by Copytrack are so small that they will vanish by the time the court judgment comes. And after years of trial, if a court decides that copyright violation has taken place, there is a possibility that the judge will ask the violator to simply remove the image and / or issue an apology on the site. 

That means, after years of court cases, Copytrack will not be able to recover the money that it demands from the image reusers. As most small website owners do not understand the legal processes, they feel intimidated and may be paying money demanded by Copytrack through its vulgar emails. 

Therefore, there is a need to stop this Copytrack cybercrime which is spreading its tentacles in all parts of the world. As a journalist and social activist, I urge the international authorities to prosecute Marcus Schmitt and his company Copytrack by using available avenues of extraterritorial and universal jurisdiction. Their prosecution would lead to their conviction and possible imprisonment. 

This write-up may be treated as my formal petition against Copytrack and Marcus Schmitt while as a petitioner I offer to participate in court hearings through video conferencing or other digital channels.

Related Articles

[ Case of Cybercrime and Criminal Threats by Copytrack ]

[ Copytrack CEO Marcus Schmitt Runs Cyber Extortion Racket ]

[ Consultative Paper to Get Draconian Copyright Laws Changed or Repealed ]

VideoCopytrack Scam and Email Threats to Extort Money for Copyright Images Reuse ]

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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