Copyright Infringement

Stop Infringement and Protect IP with a Copyright Lawyer

Firms suffer copyright infringement many ways. Perhaps a company’s computer software code is illegally copied or decompiled. Perhaps someone with a hidden camera films a new movie inside a theater, a crime called bootlegging. Perhaps someone rips off large chunks of text from a publisher’s textbook. Maybe your music files appear on various websites without authorization. And often entire pages of your website are misappropriated by another website. Most companies suffering infringement would prefer to avoid use of the courts, as litigation is generallyfrustrating, time-consuming, and very expensive. Though that is one way for copyright holders to seek damages, it may be possible to resolve the infringement before litigation is commenced. This can happen with a cease and desist letter that may lead to no further infringement or even a financial settlement, with the help of an expert copyright lawyer.

Registered copyrights will help protect the creative works to which they relate from being used for profit without permission. Companies often invest significant sums into the development of copyrightable materials such as computer software, songs, videos, movies, books, games and websites, and they deserve to be able to recoup and profit from that investment. But resorting to litigation as the first step to recover damages from or stop the actions of a person committing infringement is neither a sure solution nor always the most cost-effective strategy. For one thing, small scale infringements or those against less valuable copyrights may not be worth the cost of litigation. Furthermore, if a copyright application was not filed in the US prior to occurrence of the infringement, legal remedies may be quite limited. In all of these scenarios, non-legal strategies are advisable.

The first step in these strategies is to gather or hire an antipiracy-focused law firm (and possibly an investigator) to gather information about the infringement and illegal activities. This will make it easier to determine the extent of the infringement as well as the best strategy for approaching the problem. Most efforts start off with sending a cease and desist letter (or if the infringement occurs on a hosted website, a notice and takedown letter to the internet service provider or webhost). Often the letter to the internet service provider or ISP will resolve the problem of infringement on a user-generated content site such as YouTube. Especially in the case of small infringements, having a qualified attorney send this type of letter may be sufficient, and even when it is not by itself enough, it sets the stage for seeking a settlement.

The film and music industries have achieved some notoriety by targeting individual internet users, sometimes offering settlements based on ISP records. Though there are numerous complications that can arise in the process of seeking and negotiating a settlement, especially given the overseas presence of so many infringers and the fact that the Internet knows no borders, whereas the law is country-specific, anti-infringement efforts can be very effective and when carried out with the help of a knowledgeable lawyer.