Have you received a copyright infringement notice? Here’s what you can do

As more and more intellectual property owners become aware of their ideas being stolen, policies involving data protection are being strengthened. If you have violated someone’s copyrights, you are likely to receive a copyright infringement notice.

In simple terms, a copyright infringement notice is sent when a person is observed to be using another individual’s intellectual property in any form without prior permission. There are several kinds of activities that involve striking copyrights. If you carry out these tasks before obtaining a letter of permission from the owner or creator, you are said to be infringing their copyrighted work. Here are some of the most common examples:

Recording a movie in a theatre

More often than not, people in movie theatres are seen capturing the action on screen. Since a film is the manifestation of the director and the entire team’s hard work, recording the movie would lead to a violation of copyrights.

Videos with copyrighted songs

If you want to take your personal videos up a notch by adding songs, you are free to do so. However, ensure that your videos aren’t using music that is copyrighted by the producer. Otherwise, not only will your video remain musicless, but you will also get a copyright infringement notice.

Using copyrighted images

If you have your own website, you may use images from the internet to make your site appear more appealing and trendier. However, before choosing your favorite picks, assess whether the pictures are copyrighted by the owner.

Unique merchandise with copyrighted prints

Creative enthusiasts often find themselves weaving new designs on their handicrafts. Many times, their ideas are inspired by the images and words circulating on the internet, and consciously or subconsciously, those internet words and images filter their way into their own merchandise. If such is the case, they may end up receiving a copyright infringement notice.

What happens if you get a notice of copyright infringement?

Receiving a copyright infringement notice does not necessarily mean trouble. If you have gotten a notice from the owner, you don’t need to panic. Here are a few important steps to undertake if and when you receive a notice:

For starters, you need to read the notice in-depth and in detail. Copyright infringement notices can come from various sources, including attorneys, internet service providers, and individuals themselves.

The notice sent should highlight the work that infringes the copyrights, in order to ensure whether you have violated the law. In addition, the legal notice should also be clear in showing that the copyrights are actually owned by the sender. If there is no solid proof of the sender owning the intellectual property or copyrights, the notice is deemed invalid. If a problem still persists, you can consider speaking to an attorney to take the matter further or sending a reply to the letter to sort out the problem.

If the copyright infringement notice charter stands to be correct, you should start the process of determining why you got it. If the copyright issue has stemmed from your website, it would be fairly easy to check. However, if it’s on someone else’s website that is hosted by you, you can make them aware of the notice and request them to show you where the work originated from.

The list above highlighted some of the most common examples of copyright infringement. However, it is important to note that this list isn’t all exclusive of infringement examples. Any type of image, video, word, idea, art piece, concept, or text that you use without permission is a strike on the owner’s copyrights. Hence, if you cannot prove that you have a legitimate license to use it, you will have to eradicate the copyrighted material from your site.

Does this mean a copyright infringement notice charter holds no importance if you haven’t violated any copyrights? Absolutely not.

Whether your work violates copyrights or not, you must reply to the letter that is sent your way. The reply doesn’t have to be lengthy in nature; it should only entail a response, stating the course of action. You can just notify them after removing the copyrighted work or share proof that you have obtained a license to use the intellectual property.

If you don’t respond to a notice, you suffer the risk of being sued. Although a copyright infringement notice is not a cause of concern, it can hold severe penalties if left unattended. Some of the most common penalties for a copyright violation include:

  • Damages may lie between $750 and $30,000 per piece of copyrighted work.
  • If an intentional infringement is found, the penalties may shoot up to $150,000 per work.
  • If a criminal infringement is found, the penalties may increase to $250,000 per word and you may have to serve a five-year prison sentence.

Hence, if you are to receive a copyright infringement notice, you mustn’t ignore it at any cost. If you are perplexed regarding the steps that need to be undertaken, consult an attorney or get in touch with a service provider through online mediums who can assist you at every step of the way.

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