Tips for Finding Copyright Infringement Attorneys

Copyright Infringement lawyers

Copyright Infringement Lawyers

If you want to find the best copyright lawyer for a case involving copyright infringement, we have some tips and advice that will help make sure you find someone suitably experienced to help you with your case. Keep reading to learn more.

Basic Ways an Attorney Can Help With Copyright Infringement

The first step in finding the best copyright attorney is to know a little more about what they do to help their clients. Here is a look at some of the basic ways an attorney can help a copyright holder.

Copyright Submission

If you have a creative work and want to get it protected by copyright, an intellectual property attorney can help you with all the paperwork that is necessary to get this done. They usually charge a fee for this service, but for many it is well worth it to get through all the paperwork that is needed to get something copyrighted. They also can bring a lot of experience to the table.

Copyright Protection

When someone uses a copyrighted work, an attorney can take the legal actions necessary to help make sure your rights are protected when it comes to whatever you have copyrighted.

Licensing for Copyrighted Works

Lawyers can also assist a copyright holder with coming up with licensing fees and agreements for other people to use the copyrighted work legally.

Additionally, an attorney may also be able to help defend someone legally if they are being accused with using a copyrighted work without having the rights to use that work.

 Tips for Finding a Copyright Lawyer

Here is a collection of basic tips and suggestions for finding a great copyright lawyer to help you no matter your needs.

Do Your Homework

You should do your research first when looking for a copyright attorney. This includes learning more about copyright – browsing the rest of our site is a good idea to help with this – as well as knowing as much as you can about the professional experience any attorneys you are considering hiring have when it comes to copyright law.

Experience is Important

While this is not true all of the time, in the majority of copyright infringement cases, an attorney who has more experience specifically in this area of law will be able to use that experience on the behalf of their client.

Know Your Options

The more you know about the basics of copyright law, the better able you will be to find an attorney that you will feel comfortable working with on your case. No matter if you are trying to submit something to be copyrighted, are being sued for copyright infringement, or want to protect your own creative works (or license them), you should know as much as you can about the whole process.

There are other things you can do to make the entire process easier and hassle-free (as much as possible), but these basic suggestions should help get you started off in the right direction. As we said, reading more on our site is a good way to make sure you have a good general knowledge about copyright infringement.

You are going to want to find an attorney at some point in most cases, but the more you know on your own the better able you will be able to understand all the pieces of the copyright puzzle and how they affect you. When it comes to finding a copyright infringement lawyer, the more research you do, the better choice you will be able to make. This can really have an impact on how your entire case goes.

What is copyright infringement?

This is a very common and frequently asked question, so we are going to take some time to answer it carefully. As you deal more with, you are going to see that we have a commitment to providing you the very best information available in an easy to read format. If you have been searching high and low for the answer to this question, we have what you need to know.

The Basic Definition:

Copyright infringement is when a copyrighted work is “reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work” by someone without permission from the copyright holder.

So, the basic definition of copyright infringement is something that infringes on the rights of a copyright owner. Because of this, knowing the exact rights of a copyright owner is important.

It should be noted that copyright infringement can occur even if a work is not copied exactly. For example, this can happen frequently in art and music. A work just need to be “substantially similar” to the copyrighted work for infringement to occur.

Rights of a Copyright Holder

Here is a little more information on the basic rights of a copyright holder.

  • Right to Reproduce Work – This is the right to make copies of the original work to give out or sell.
  • Right of Public Display – This gives the copyright holder the ability to publicly display the work – like a logo for a brand.
  • Right to Public Performance – For musical works, this is the right to perform for free or to charge for performances.
  • Right for Derivative Works – This is simply the ability to make changes to the original work or new creations that are primarily based on the original work.
  • Right to Distribution – No matter what type of work is being protected by copyright, the holder of the copyright is able to distribute the work as needed.

It should be noted that copyright does not last forever. We will go into this more in later chapters, but for now you should know that copyright eventually goes away allowing material to enter the public domain.

 When Copyright Does Not Apply

The following are cases that would NOT be considered copyright infringement.

  • Fair Use – In some cases, it is legal to use a small sample of a text or work as long as credit is given and thoughts are added about the original work. Bloggers need to work hard to make sure they don’t cross the line when claiming fair use.
  • Public Domain – After copyright expires, the work goes into public domain. At this point, the work can be used to create new works or distributed without owing the copyright holder and money.
  • Non-Copyrightable Works – There are also cases where a piece of work is not able to be copyrighted. This will vary depending where you are in the world, but you want to make sure you check your local laws.

It is important to always make sure you are aware of whether or not copyright laws apply to whatever case you are working with.

Cleveland Gladiators Logo
Fair Use – Cleveland Gladiators Logo

What is Copyright Infringement?

As you can see from the above information, copyright infringement happens when someone uses a creative work as if they help the copyright for it. This can happen in music, art, literature or even with news stories or non-fiction content. And while there are cases where something cannot be copyrighted or loses its copyright, it is crucial to know all the details before any work – like a photograph – is used online or offline.

Keep browsing the rest of our site and make sure you bookmark us to come back as we add more information about copyright infringement cases. No matter which side you are on, knowing as much as you can about copyright infringement is important if you want to make sure you do not break any laws and use someone’s content when you should not be using it.

Examples: Copyright Infringement

When it comes to copyright infringement cases, having examples is helpful for understanding how copyright and trademark laws work. While laws do vary around the world, there are common elements that can and should be studied in order to learn more about avoiding infringing on someone’s copyright.

Music and Movie Copyright Infringement

Here are some common ways that infringement of copyright may happen.

  • File Sharing Sites – While the heyday of Napster may be gone, bittorrent and other technologies are still being used to illegally share copyrighted files – primarily music and movies, but other intellectual property as well.
  • Emailing a Friend – Even simply emailing a copy of a copyrighted song to all of the people in your contact book could be considered copyright infringement.
  • Physical Copies – If you burn a CD of music you have downloaded for free on the Internet and give it to all of your friends, this could be considered copyright infringement.

As you can see, there are many different activities that could get a person in trouble with the legal system. Media companies have been known to sue individuals who share or even just acquire copyrighted works illegally.

Avoiding Copyright Infringement

Here are a few tips and suggestions to avoid problems with copyright infringement – which can be quite expensive.

  • Always Know – Whenever a photo, text, video or other creative work is used, the exact ownership of that content or work should be known before it is used or reused.
  • Double Check – If the copyright information is not known or is thought to be known about, it is a good idea to double check in order to make sure there is no infringement of the copyright holder.
  • What to Check – Most websites will have a “terms of use” somewhere that will tell a person how the materials may be legally used or if they should not be used at all. However, the lack of a terms of use does not mean that the works can be used. It may be necessary to contact the owner of the works to get their explicit permission.
  • Public Domain – Another idea is to use photos or other materials that are in the public domain. There is quite a bit of works now in the public domain, with more and more material entering the public domain all the time. It should be noted that other people also have the ability to use public domain content and works, however, so the value may not be as high as if the public domain work is used to come up with a new work.
  • Fair Use – Additionally, there may be cases where fair use applies to copyrighted material. Understanding fair use is important to avoid copyright infringement charges and accusations.

There are other things you should do to avoid copyright infringement, but these tips and suggestions should help make sure you do not run into any problems. The most important thing is to remember that if you do not know you need to check. You should never assume that a work is not copyrighted or that fair-use can be applied.

Going After Copyright Infringement

If someone is infringing on your copyrighted work, you may be able to take them to court and successfully win a suit against them. The burden of proof falls on the owner of the copyright. Hiring a good copyright attorney can help considerably with going after people and companies who infringe on your copyrighted content – whether it’s music, photos, or even stories or articles.

DMCA Notice of Copyright Infringement

There are many examples of DMCA notices for copyright infringement on the Internet. Searching for these and comparing all the different examples is a good way to come up with a standard DMCA complaint on your own. However, having a good copyright lawyer on your team can help considerably with putting together a DMCA complaint that will be noticed and effective.

Copyright Infringement Cases

Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is used without authorization or is prohibited by the copyright holder. Copyright is usually granted by law to the creator of a work at the time of its creation.

Copyright infringement lawsuits are often for great sums of money, because they are usually filed after the success of a piece of work. The legal process is a slow one, and so when the suit finally comes to trial the work has already earned a fortune that the prosecuting party feels entitled to. Copyright infringement cases can be very bitter, not only because of the large sums of money involved, but because of the personal nature of the accusation of plagiarism is seen as an attack on one’s character.

The majority of copyright infringement court cases are settled out of court. Because of the nature of copyright and creative industries, it is inevitable that ideas will be recycled, and often it is cheaper for the offending party to settle this without contesting the case in court.

Music Copyright Infringement Cases

Music copyright infringement cases are usually based on accusations of plagiarism.  These cases mostly revolve around all or part of a song that sounds remarkably similar to an existing song by a different artist or group.  This similarity can be either musical or lyrical.

There are many copyright infringement examples in music, one of the most famous of which was in 1971, commonly known as George Harrison vs. Bright Tunes Music Corporation.  Former Beatle George Harrison released ‘My Sweet Lord’ as his first solo single, which reached number 1 in the music charts and remained there for five weeks, and again in 2002 for a week, with a total chart-time of 27 weeks.

After the song had left the charts, Bright Tunes Music Corporation filed a suit against Harrison for plagiarism of a song called ‘He’s So Fine’ by the Chiffons, written in 1962.   Though an out-of-court settlement was proposed, for $148,000, it was refused and the suit went to court.  Bright Tunes Music Corporation wanted 75% of all royalties and the surrendering of the copyright of ‘My Sweet Lord’ by Harrison.

Harrison’s legal team failed to prove that the song was substantially different to the Chiffon’s song, and in February 1976 the court ruled against Harrison.  The judgement was that while Harrison had probably not intentionally plagiarized the song, it was still very, very similar to ‘He’s So Fine’, and Harrison was forced to pay $587,000, but he did not lose the copyright of ‘My Sweet Lord’.

Trademark Infringement

Trademark infringement cases are usually when a trademark is used on a product without the authorization of the trademark owner.  The violating trademark does not have to be identical; a trademark that is original but extremely similar to an existing trademark can still qualify as infringement.

In the U.S. a trademark is not automatically registered to its creator, and so it cannot be legally infringed until it is registered.  However, there may still be a case against the infringer under common law for passing off or misrepresentation.

Patent Infringement

Most patent infringement cases deal with the prohibited or unauthorized use of a patented invention.  If the holder of a registered patent does not permit the use of their invention, then the user is liable.

Patents are only enforced in the country in which they were registered.  If, for example, an invention is patented in the U.S. then anyone in the U.S. is legally prohibited from making or selling the item, but someone in Mexico is legally free to do so.

Permission to use a patented invention is usually given as a license.

Recent Copyright Infringement Cases

In 2008, Psystar Corporation based in Miami, Florida, began to sell ‘Open Computers’, personal computers which could be pre-installed with Mac OS X Leopard, an operating system developed by Apple.  Psystar also offered to sell (legitimately) copies of Mac OS X, which then could be installed on a non-Mac home computer.

Apple filed a copyright infringement case against Psystar, on the grounds that the end-user license agreement for the Mac operating system prohibited third-party installations of Mac OS X, and Psystar had violated that clause.

Psystar argued that their actions were outside of the scope of Apple’s ability to determine how users used the software they had purchased. They likened it to a car manufacturer including a clause in their license agreement that allowed them to determine what roads you could drive the car on.

Psystar then counter-sued Apple for anti-competitive practises, copyright misuse and monopolistic behaviour.  The counter-sue attempt failed, and Apple won the original court case against Psystar.   The court ruled that Psystar was illegally copying, modifying and distributing Apple’s programming code, and for circumventing Apple’s kernel encryption, acts that are in violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

After filing for bankruptcy, Psystar was forced to pay Apple $2.7 million for copyright infringement.

In April 2009, American rapper Lil Wayne filed a suit against production company Rebel Rock Productions for failing to obtain the necessary licensing agreements for a sample used on the song, taken from Karma-Ann Swanepoel’s song ‘Once’.

This occurred because Lil Wayne himself was sued for copyright infringement over the sample that was used in his song ‘I Feel Like Dying’.  Though Karma-Ann Swanepoel was approached by Rebel Rock Productions for the rights to use the sample, ‘I Feel Like Dying’ had been heavily promoted by streaming the track on MySpace and YouTube.

Swanepoel filed to sue for compensatory damages, even though Lil Wayne did not actually profit directly from these broadcasts as the song was leaked onto the internet and proliferated via peer-to-peer websites.

The case was dropped after it was revealed that the song was not sold on any retail album, and that Lil Wayne was not responsible for the leak.

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