Copyright is part of a parcel of intangible legal rights known as ‘intellectual property rights’. Copyright protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, including business assets such as logos, databases and jingles. Any use of those assets without your permission can significantly damage your brand’s goodwill, reputation and, ultimately, profitability. In certain circumstances, the unauthorised use can be circumvented by pursuing the third party for copyright infringement. Copyright is a specialist, complex area of law, so if you are considering such action, you should seek the assistance of a lawyer for copyright infringement.
What Is Copyright?
Simply put, copyright does exactly what it says on the tin; it affords the owner of the relevant work the sole right to copy it and to prevent others from doing so. A copyright owner enjoys the exclusive right to carry out a range of specific acts, including copying, distributing, adapting and displaying the work. If a third party does any such act without permission, they may be liable for copyright infringement.
Examples of the types of business assets that might be protected by copyright include the following:
- Customer databases.
- Company logos.
- Employee Manuals.
- Advertising material.
- Website design.
What Is Copyright Infringement?
Copyright infringement can arise when someone other than the copyright owner uses ‘the whole or a substantial part’ of a work without permission. Unfortunately, there is no legal definition of what might constitute a ‘substantial part’ of a work, and the test is a qualitative as opposed to a quantitative one. In some cases, a tiny percentage of a work – the hook of a song, for example – might suffice as a ‘substantial part’, whereas in others, a very large percentage might not be deemed ‘substantial’ enough. An experienced lawyer for copyright infringement will be adept at assessing whether a Judge will likely consider the third party’s use to amount to the ‘whole or substantial part’ of your work and, accordingly, whether you might be able to pursue them for infringement.
Various actions are reserved by law for a copyright owner. They include the following:
- Copying the work.
- Issuing copies of the work.
- Renting or lending the work.
- Performing the work.
- Communicating the work to the public.
- Adapting the work.
Examples of instances in which copyright infringement might arise in a business context include the following:
- A competitor copying your business logo.
- Playing music on your business premises without the relevant licence.
- A third party copying your software code.
- A competitor procuring and using your customer database.
What Does A Lawyer For Copyright Infringement Do?
A lawyer for copyright infringement specialises in acting for copyright owners whose work has been used without permission and, conversely, for those accused of doing so.
When acting for copyright owners, a lawyer for copyright infringement will aim to halt the third party’s use of the material, and claim damages for the infringement or an account of the profits resulting from it. When acting on the other side of the case, for those accused of copyright infringement, a lawyer for copyright infringement will seek to defeat the copyright owner’s allegations. How they do so will depend on the circumstances of the case. They might, for example, attack the alleged ownership of the work or its originality, or defend the claim on the basis that the work had been developed independently of the original.
Litigation is notoriously expensive and lengthy, and most lawyers for copyright infringement view it very much as a last resort. They will instead seek to settle the matter at an early stage, through negotiation or recognised alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. These methods are quicker and cheaper than Court proceedings and can produce excellent results.
Copyright Law Firms
Most lawyers for copyright infringement work in large, multi-disciplinary practices or in small, specialist, boutique ones. Copyright law firms often specialise in specific industries that rely heavily on intellectual property protection, such as music, fashion and tech.
To have the best chance of succeeding in your claim, or defending any allegations made against you, you must enjoy a strong working relationship with your lawyer for copyright infringement. When you feel comfortable speaking openly and honestly about your case and expectations, your lawyer for copyright infringement will be best placed to represent you effectively and secure the optimum outcome. The type of copyright law firm that is right for you will depend on various factors, including your location, budget and whether you prefer working with a heavyweight team or require a more personal approach. When choosing your lawyer for copyright infringement, the following steps can help ensure you make the right decision:
- Ask friends and family for recommendations of any lawyers for copyright infringement they have personally worked with.
- Take a look at several copyright law firms’ websites to get a feel for the type of firm you prefer and draw up a shortlist.
- Check how the copyright law firms on your shortlist charge. Most lawyers for copyright infringement charge on an hourly basis, so confirm that you are comfortable with the rate proposed.
- Speak to them! Many lawyers for copyright infringements are happy to have an initial chat to ascertain the nature of your case and its merits. During the initial chat you will learn more about the copyright law firm and how it works, and satisfy yourself that you are happy to instruct them.
Copyright Infringement Solicitors Near Me