A copyright infringement lawyer specialises in advising clients whose work has been exploited by a third party without permission. Sometimes, this involves litigation. However, a skilled copyright infringement lawyer can often resolve the issue without recourse to Court proceedings, through negotiation or a form of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation.
What Is Copyright?
Copyright is a form of intellectual property. It protects several types of original work, including:
- Literary works, such as books, song lyrics, computer programs and business marketing materials.
- Dramatic works, such as plays.
- Musical works, such as the musical score.
- Artistic works, such as paintings, business logos, sculptures and photographs.
- Typographical arrangements, such as the layout of magazines.
- Sound recordings, such as the recording of a song.
- Films, including broadcasts.
How Does Copyright Arise?
Unlike other intellectual property rights, such as trade marks and patents, copyright does not need to be registered in the UK. It arises automatically, as soon as the work is expressed in a tangible form. However, there are various steps which you can take to strengthen your position and ensure your rights can be effectively enforced should you need to do so. They include signing and dating the work and keeping a comprehensive paper trail. Your copyright infringement lawyer will advise on the evidence required to prove your ownership of the work in question and assist you in collating it.
How Long Does Copyright Subsist?
Copyright does not last indefinitely, and your work is only protected for as long as the right subsists. The extent of protection differs depending on the work involved. For example, literary works are protected for 70 years from the end of the year in which the creator dies, whereas sound recordings are protected for 70 years from the date on which it is first published. Your copyright infringement lawyer will consider the period of protection relevant to your work and advise accordingly.
What Does A Copyright Infringement Lawyer Do?
If a third-party uses your copyright work without permission, you should seek help from a copyright infringement lawyer. Copyright infringement lawyers have vast experience in helping clients to enforce their rights and obtain the recourse to which they are entitled.
Generally speaking, copyright infringement cases involve the following steps:
1. Your copyright infringement lawyer will begin by sending a detailed letter to the third party using your work without permission. This letter, referred to as the ‘letter of claim’, will set out the nature of your rights and the infringement together with the action required from the third party to settle the matter. Often, a letter of claim suffices to bring an end to the issue or at least opens discussions between the parties which lead to a resolution.
2. If the issue cannot be resolved through discussions, your copyright infringement lawyer may advise you to issue proceedings against the infringer at Court. The proceedings will usually seek the following relief:
a. An injunction to force the infringer to stop using your work and refrain from doing so in the future.
b. Damages. There are various methods through which the level of damages may be calculated, and your copyright infringement lawyer will advise on which is most appropriate in your circumstances.
c. Costs. As a general rule, the losing party must pay the successful party’s legal fees. This rarely means the entire amount, however, and your copyright infringement lawyer will advise on the likely level of recovery.
3. Even after proceedings have been issued, the parties are expected to try and settle the case before trial. This often involves engaging in alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. If any party unreasonably refuses to do so, the trial Judge may penalise them on costs. Mediation is quicker, cheaper and less stressful than litigation and often produces excellent results.
How Much Does A Copyright Infringement Lawyer Charge?
A copyright infringement lawyer usually charges an hourly rate, so the costs you can expect to incur will depend on the lawyer you choose and the time it takes them to resolve your issue. Whilst intellectual property litigation is notoriously expensive, few copyright infringement cases reach trial, with most being settled through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution. Copyright infringement lawyers are under a duty to be open and transparent about costs and should ensure you fully understand the basis upon which you will be charged from the outset. They should keep you fully updated on the level of fees being incurred by providing regular fee estimates and breakdowns and answering any queries you have comprehensively. Given the intrinsic value of many copyright works, most copyright owners view the legal fees incurred in protecting them to be money well spent.
Copyright Infringement Solicitors Near Me