Understanding What You Can and Can’t Do To Avoid Copyright Infringement: Intellectual Property Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA Explains
Holders of intellectual property rights have many powers and rights given to them by the law. One of the most important powers is the right to exclude others from using their invention, trademark, slogan, or copyrighted materials. When another person or business violates that right, they are infringing on the holder’s intellectual property rights. Our intellectual property attorneys in Philadelphia, PA, know that one of the most common forms of infringement is copyright infringement. This involves one’s ability to use another person’s writing, drawing, photograph, painting, sketch, or other literary work without their permission.
Here at Paul & Paul, we know that being accused of copyright infringement is a very serious claim facing individuals, businesses, and government agencies. We also know that copyright infringement is becoming a bigger issue with electronic or digital works, particularly involving photographs, blogs, artwork, and other digital-only creations. Copyright violation claims are often unfair, usually done by an unscrupulous individual trying to harass or shakedown an individual or business for money. Other times a copyright violation may be an unintentional mistake or misunderstanding, including due to a poorly drafted license or contract. This is why our experienced intellectual property attorneys in Philadelphia, PA, offer competent and aggressive copyright infringement defense to protect our clients from frivolous lawsuits or unintentional errors.
How To Avoid Copyright Infringement Claims Against You
Although the nature of the copyright has not changed much over the decades, the nature of the pieces which may be copyrighted has materially changed. More and more copyright claims involve digital creations which do not exist in tangible form. This requires individuals and businesses to remain vigilant and be careful to not infringe on another’s work.
Some of the best ways to avoid copyright infringement claims against you include the following:
If You Did Not Make It, Do Not Use It
The most obvious way to avoid a copyright infringement claim is only to use the work you create. This includes writing, photos, videos, and music. If you only use your own materials, you cannot violate another’s rights. Of course, this may not always be practicable, but it is the best practice.
If You Need Certain Materials Like Photographs, Use Reputable Vendors
If you need to use photographs or videos for a project, only use reputable vendors and businesses which offer these products with a specific license. They will state what their license allows and the scope of consent to use their products. If you have questions, contact them and get specific answers to what you can and cannot do. Keep the responses you get and file them to protect your rights should an issue arise in the future.
Ask For Permission and Get It In Writing
When you want to use an excerpt from a book, movie, song, or other copyrighted material, ask the author and publisher for permission. Get it in writing. Even though there are some instances where you may be able to use something through “fair use,” the best practice is to always ask for permission, get it in writing, and then use an exception as backup.
Do Periodic Research On Copyright Law
Any individual that owns a website or business and uses materials produced by another party with permission should periodically check copyright law news online. This is particularly true if you are using videos or photographs online. New changes in the law and how copyright law is being interpreted can help protect you from inadvertently violating a copyright. When in doubt, consult with an experienced intellectual property lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, for help.
If You Face a Copyright Infringement Claim, We Can Help
Here at Paul & Paul, we know that most copyright infringement allegations are explainable. Many copyright holders are reasonable and understand that, particularly when a claim arises from a misunderstanding as to the scope of a license, from a poorly-worded contract, or due to a ministerial mistake after you already paid for rights. Other times a copyright infringement claim may be nothing more than a criminal trying to blackmail you when there really is no meritorious claim.
Whether you believe you may have actually committed a copyright infringement or whether you are facing frivolous litigation, you have options under the law. Call our experienced intellectual property attorneys in Philadelphia, PA at Paul & Paul to learn how we can help you today by dialing (866) 201-8191 or by sending us a secured message with our easy-to-use contact us box available here.