Today’s program is brought to you by the attorneys at Traverse Legal, PLC, a global law firm specializing in Internet law, Trademark infringement, Copyright Infringement, Cybersquatting, On-Line Defamation, Non-Compete & Trade Secret Law and Complex litigation. If you have a legal matter arising on the web, contact one of Traverse Legal’s internet lawyers today.
Enrico Schaefer: This is attorney Enrico Schaefer. This radio segment is brought to you by Traverse Legal, a law firm specializing in Internet law, intellectual property and global online brand protection.
Copyright Infringement Threat Letters: How to run a copyright infringement threat letter program.
If you’re a copyright owner, you need to protect your intellectual property (IP). If you don’t protect IP, you may lose your copyrights altogether. Copyrights are property rights. You need to control them the same way you would control access to a family heirloom. If you had a diamond ring that had been passed down through the generations, you would keep control of that diamond ring. You wouldn’t let just anyone use it, wear it or take it out of the house. The same thing is true with copyrights; however, copyrights are very easy to distribute, to make replications of, and to take control of by third parties. So, it’s not as easy as simply putting your family heirloom (diamond ring) in a safe and keeping it locked up. You have to be wary of third party infringement.
So step one in any program – copyright protection program – is to monitor the internet for copyright infringement. Our copyright lawyers have designed programs for clients which help them monitor the use of their copyright protected works, identify copyright infringement of those works, and send notice and threat letters to third parties who are infringing copyrights.
Think about how easy it is, if you’re a professional photographer, for someone to take one of your photographs and scan it, or to take an on-line version – a JPEG- of that photograph and make it their own without your permission. If you are a musician and you’ve recorded a song, even if you don’t make that song available online, your music can be converted to an mp3 by a third party and either distributed or sold through someone else's website. If they don’t have your permission, that is copyright infringement. Same thing for book authors; even if you publish a book and it’s a hardback version, and it’s only available through bookstores, someone else can scan and make copies of the pages of those books, take your copyright protected work, and make it available online through THEIR website; potentially selling it, or simply using it to drive traffic to them. That’s copyright infringement.
So, copyright monitoring is the key – the initial key – to copyright protection. If you don’t monitor the internet, chances are you won’t even have a clue that your works are being used by third parties without your permission.
The second step in a copyright protection and online copyright protection monitoring and infringement program is to send notice letters – notice and threat letters – to third party violators. Our copyright infringement attorneys can help design a program which meets your needs. Every case is different. If you have a song, if you’re a music copyright holder there are different ways to allow you to imbed code into that mp3 so that you can see whether or not it is being downloaded or used somewhere else on the internet. If you have a photograph or a piece of art that’s been available on the internet, there are tools available for you which can help us monitor your copyrights so that you know when someone is using your copyright protected work without your permission.
So here’s what you need to know. If you don’t stop people from unlawful copying and distribution of your copyright protected work, you could lose your copyright protection altogether. The first step, of course, is monitoring. The second is to tell people who are infringing that you are watching, are willing to assert your rights under copyright law, and that they need to take down the works immediately.
The interesting thing about copyright threat letter programs, and the thing that our attorneys are really good at, is understanding when someone is inadvertently using your copyright protected work, or, whether or not they fully understand your copyright protection and are maliciously and in bad faith attempting to derive profit, traffic, etc., leveraging your copyrights, but what you’ll find is that a lot of people who are using your work online simply don’t know. They don’t know about copyright law. They don’t understand that they're not allowed to use the work. In many instances, companies rely on employees or outsource their web development to third parties, and those third parties will use your copyright protected work if the companies were not aware of it. A Well-timed copyright infringement threat letter will tell the company that they’re out of bounds and that they need to take your copyright protected work down, and to the extent that they’ve been using it and benefiting from it for a period of time, as long as your copyright is registered, you’re going to have really good leverage to actually get a fair royalty for the use that’s occurred to date.
So from threat letter alleging copyright infringement to digital millennium copyright takedown notices, our copyright attorneys have your covered. If you don’t protect your copyright, who will?
This is Enrico Schaefer from Traverse Legal signing off for today.
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