Before the digital world, copyright issues were not as common. Writers, authors, photographers, artists, and other creators of copyrighted work, didn’t have their work reproduced that often without their permission. Copyright is a protected right that too many ignore, especially online. It is well known that you should not just cut and paste content to your website or post somebody else’s photograph, and still it happens all the time. Yet many believe that if you link the content back to the original or provide citations, that makes it OK.
What is copyright infringement?
Copyright is the legal protection granted to creators of original works of authorship, such as books, articles, blog posts, photographs, computer software, advertisements, architecture, and more. Copyright protection comes into being at the moment an original work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright infringement, also referred to as piracy, is the violation of someone’s copyright by use of works protected by copyright law without the permission of the copyright holder. With or without a link or citation.
International copyright protection
The rules governing copyright protection are generally similar worldwide. This is due to international copyright treaties. There are several such copyright treaties, the most important of which is the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. This international copyright agreement states that each of the member countries shall provide automatic copyright protection for works published in other member countries and for unpublished works whose authors are nationals of member countries. The Berne Convention is particularly significant since it has 178 contracting parties.
Another important treaty is the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This agreement contains provisions regarding member states regulation of intellectual property. It requires WTO members to provide copyright rights to copyright owners in member states, as well as other forms of intellectual property.
International agreements allow copyright owners to enforce their copyrights internationally, in member states, to better protect their rights.
U.S. copyright protection
Countries have national laws, and the U.S. has a federal copyright law. It also has the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA is a federal law that aims to update copyright laws, regulate digital media, and better face copyright challenges in the digital world. As this is a U.S. federal law, it’s applicable in the U.S. This means that websites hosted in the U.S. are subject to U.S. copyright law and DMCA takedown notices.
Even when hosted outside the U.S., many online platforms comply with DMCA takedown notices because of their own copyright protection laws. This is true for most sites hosted in one of the 193 member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). As most comply with the Digital Rights Management (DRM) law, they adhere to DMCA takedown notices.
How to stop copyright infringements online?
(1) Identify your content
If you have a website, a copyright notice on the footer of the home page should cover all the content on your website.
(2) Approach the platform
If you find your copyrighted work violated on a marketplace, e-commerce website, social media, or anywhere else online, you can approach the platform directly, depending on its report or removal procedure.
(3) Send DMCA takedown notices
DMCA takedown notices are an effective tool. DMCA safe harbor provides immunity to online service providers (internet service providers and other internet intermediaries) from liability due to copyright infringement. This exemption is granted provided they do not have knowledge of the copyright infringement, and not aware of the facts. They are also exempt if, once they gain knowledge of copyright infringement, they act quickly to check, block, or remove the infringing content. If you send the takedown notice to a web host not responsible for the violation, they are likely to comply so they do not face liability.
How to send a DMCA takedown notice
To submit a takedown notice, a copyright owner or his designated agent, must submit a notice with all required information. The notification must be a written communication to the service provider. It must include the following information:
- Your contact details, including name, address, phone number, e-mail address.
- The infringement details
* Identification of the original work subject to infringement, such as URL or images.
* Identification of the infringing material, such as URL or images, screenshots included.
- A signed statement of good faith
(4) File a lawsuit
A lawsuit is an expensive and lengthy procedure. If you send a takedown notice and receive a counter-notification objecting your copyright infringement complaint, you have 14 days to file a lawsuit.
Although copyrights are created with no registration, in the U.S. registration is required to file a copyright infringement lawsuit. Also, registered copyright establishes your ownership in court.
Wiser protection from copyright infringements
If you need help protecting your copyrights online, Wiser Market is an online brand protection agency that relies on state-of-the-art monitoring system and a dedicated team of experts to protect your intellectual property.
Our innovative system continuously scans online platforms, including e-commerce and social media, detecting each and every relevant reference automatically. Our algorithm will work to find online intellectual property infringements for you. Our team works closely with our clients to provide professional copyright protection and avoid the need for a lawsuit.
Our effective online brand protection strategy defends your intellectual property, revenue, and reputation, resulting in an over 90% success rate.
Is Your Brand protected? Contact us for a FREE brand review
Do I have to register my copyright to be protected?
No, copyright comes into existence automatically, and registration is not mandatory. Registration is needed to file a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. copyrighted work.
Why should I register my copyright in the U.S.?
Copyright registration is a record of your ownership and it’s required to file a lawsuit in court. It also allows for the copyright owner to claim statutory damages without having to prove damages. In addition, registration is needed to stop infringing imports from entering the country.
Do I need to have a copyright notice to get copyright protection?
No, you don’t need a copyright notice to gain protection under the law in the U.S.
It is advisable to include a notice because it makes it impossible for the infringer to claim that he or she didn’t know the work is copyrighted.
What should a copyright notice include?
- The word “copyright” or the symbol ©
- The date of publication
- The name of the owner of the copyright rights
How can I find the service provider?
In most cases, the service provider can be found by doing a Whois Hosting This Search in which you type the domain name and look for the name server. When you have the name, you can find the contact information and send the DMCA notification.
Is my website copyrighted?
Any original content on your website, such as your text, images, or videos, can be protected by copyright. Some legal systems have specific requirements, so be sure to check your national laws.
What happens to my content on social media?
When you use social media platforms, you agree to their “Terms ad Conditions” of use. This often means you give the platform a non-exclusive license to use your content. Remember, you are still the copyright owner, but the platform may have a right to use your content.
Do tweets on my Twitter account qualify for copyright protection?
Tweets are very short, making it unlikely to reach a level of authorship that affords copyright protection. However, there may be exceptions to this rule.
Are YouTube videos copyrighted?
Yes, they are. Read more about Protecting Your Brand From Copyright Infringements On YouTube here.