How Do You Assist Clients in Reclaiming Control Over Copyrighted Work Used Without Permission?


    How Do You Assist Clients in Reclaiming Control Over Copyrighted Work Used Without Permission?

    When a client's copyrighted work is used without their permission, the expertise of legal professionals becomes invaluable, as a Partner in Intellectual Property Law explains the use of copyright infringement lawsuits. Alongside these expert insights, we've gathered additional answers that provide a broader spectrum of strategies, including issuing formal copyright notices. From initiating lawsuits to educating clients on fair use, this article offers a diverse array of tactics to help reclaim control over intellectual property.

    • Utilize Copyright Infringement Lawsuits
    • Draft Cease-and-Desist Letters
    • Proactively Register Copyrighted Works
    • Implement Digital Rights Management
    • Negotiate Licensing Agreements
    • Monitor with Content-Tracking Systems
    • Educate Clients on Fair Use
    • Issue Formal Copyright Notices

    Utilize Copyright Infringement Lawsuits

    Particularly with startups, the focus is often on growing the business instead of protecting intellectual property. One such area where this frequently happens is with copyrighted works. The startups are ecstatic to see their images on the internet until they realize that they have lost control of the images. Reclaiming control over copyrighted works requires a persistent effort that can seem like a game of Whac-A-Mole. I have found that the threat of a copyright infringement lawsuit can be very effective in this pursuit.

    Michael BondiPartner - IP Attorney, Spencer Fane

    Draft Cease-and-Desist Letters

    I consulted with my client to learn more details about the copyright infringement. Luckily, my client had a registered trademark for their work. I then drafted and sent a cease-and-desist letter to the copyright infringer. I provided them with a deadline of 10 days to respond. When the copyright infringer did not respond, I filed a federal lawsuit against the infringer. After the infringer was served with the lawsuit, they complied with my client's demands for cash payment and removal of the copyrighted work from the infringer's website. I also sent DMCA takedown notices to third-party websites hosting the copyrighted work.

    Eric Harrison
    Eric HarrisonAttorney, Attorney West Seattle, P.S.

    Proactively Register Copyrighted Works

    As someone who has spent considerable time focusing on intellectual property and copyright law over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to assist an IP holding company named Unknown Entity Holdings, LLC, in its effort to protect its copyrighted works. On several occasions, the company discovered that a website had infringing works on it, requiring complaints to be filed against the infringing parties. We worked with a team of experienced lawyers to address the situation and stop the infringement efforts in their tracks. The process of defending the rights of copyright owners requires a delicate yet assertive approach. Much of that endeavor begins with being proactive by registering works with the U.S. Copyright Office.

    Aaron Winston
    Aaron WinstonStrategy Director, Express Legal Funding

    Implement Digital Rights Management

    To tackle the issue of unauthorized use of copyrighted work, one effective strategy is to implement digital rights management (DRM) technologies. These technologies serve as a barrier to prevent copying and distribution of the digital material. DRM helps to encode the content so that it can only be accessed by individuals who have legally acquired it.

    This solution not only deters piracy but also aids in tracking usage, ensuring that only paying customers are utilizing the service or content. If you're facing such challenges, consider exploring DRM solutions as a safeguard for your creative assets.

    Negotiate Licensing Agreements

    When copyrighted work is used without permission, initiating negotiations to license the work with the infringing parties can be a constructive approach. This process involves reaching out to the offenders and discussing terms under which they can legitimately use the content. Through negotiation, both parties can come to an agreement that compensates the copyright holder and legitimizes the use of the work.

    This can sometimes lead to ongoing relationships and even new business opportunities. If your work is being used without consent, opening a dialogue for licensing might be a beneficial step forward.

    Monitor with Content-Tracking Systems

    In the digital age, monitoring the usage of copyrighted content is crucial for maintaining control over it. Online content-tracking systems can scan the web for instances where one's work is being used without authorization. These systems alert the copyright owner when their work appears elsewhere on the internet.

    As a result, the owner can take timely action to address the infringement. Owners of copyrighted materials are encouraged to look into content-tracking services to keep an eye on where and how their work is used online.

    Educate Clients on Fair Use

    Educating clients on the intricacies of fair use defenses can play a pivotal role in helping them understand the legal boundaries and exceptions related to copyright law. It involves clarifying what constitutes fair use, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, and research, which can all play a role in determining the legality of the allegedly infringing use.

    By being well-informed, clients can better assess if an infringement claim is likely to hold up in court. Those seeking to protect their copyrighted works should become familiar with the concept of fair use to make more informed decisions.

    Issue Formal Copyright Notices

    Issuing formal copyright infringement notifications is a direct way to deal with unauthorized use of copyrighted material. This formal notice informs the infringing party that they are using the work without permission, which may lead to legal consequences if the activity does not cease.

    The notice acts as a first step in the legal process to reclaim control and can often prompt the offending party to stop the use or negotiate a resolution. Should you find your work being used illegally, taking swift action to issue a copyright notice is an essential step.