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What is copyright infringement?

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2023 | Commercial Litigation

Commercial litigation in Ohio sometimes involves disputes about intellectual property. As a business owner, you’ve worked hard to create something original for your business and it can be damaging to your business when someone copies your original work without your permission and tries to profit from it.

When someone infringes on your copyright, you have a right to pursue a legal claim against that person. You must protect your copyright to maintain full ownership and control over it so you can use it in your own unique way.

Copyright infringement is using or producing copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. A copyright gives you the right to sell, distribute, copy or do anything else you want with the work. If someone else does any of these things, they have infringed on your copyright.

Direct and indirect copyright infringement

There are two types of copyright infringement. Direct copyright infringement occurs when someone copies or uses your copyrighted material and profits from it. Indirect copyright infringement is when someone allows the direct infringer to profit from your work.

For example, if someone copies a video you made and posts it on a website, the person who copied the video committed direct copyright infringement. The website host committed indirect copyright infringement by hosting the website that played the video.

There are some steps you can take to prevent copyright infringement. One of the simplest steps is using a copyright symbol on all your work.

An infringer may use your work believing it is not copyrighted and with no intent to infringe. Simply seeing the copyright symbol may prevent infringement.

Why you should register your copyrights

Registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. While it is true that any original work you create in a tangible medium is protected by copyright, it is still a good idea to register your copyright.

When your copyright is registered, people can check the database to confirm its registration, which is another way to reduce the number of accidental infringers.

Additionally, you cannot sue for copyright infringement unless your copyright is registered. If it is unregistered, you can still sue, but only after you register it. Registering the copyright initially saves you time if you need to pursue litigation.

How copyright infringement can damage your business

Copyright infringement can negatively impact your business in several ways. Your reputation could be damaged if the infringer alters your work in a negative manner and people believe your business is putting out the modified work.

You could also lose profits. If someone steals your work and uses it to attract customers to their own business, those customers are potentially lost to you.

Infringing on someone else’s copyright yourself may lead to problems. Copyright infringement comes with financial penalties. Additionally, your customers may view you negatively because they see you as a copyright infringer.

Therefore, it is important to use due diligence when using information. Check to see if it is copyrighted and get the owner’s permission before using it. If it is copyrighted, you might still be able to use it under fair use laws.