How to Protect Your Brand from Copyright Infringement?
- Copyright Your Brand or Work
- Register Your Copyright
- Identify the Scope of Risks
- Publicly Establish Your Intellectual Property Clause
Copyright infringement has become one of the major concerns facing businesses today. Rapid technology advancements have opened broader avenues for businesses to market their brands to the world at large. On the flip side, it has become easier for threat actors to impersonate a brand, copy content, or produce counterfeit products.
This can be detrimental to a brand’s reputation and the economy. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, counterfeiting and piracy cost the global economy more than $500 billion a year. Copyright violations happen when one party unscrupulously uses a brand’s scientific work, design, idea, or creativity without the latter’s permission. It is a federal crime and the injured party can file a lawsuit against the violator to recover monetary damages.
Despite the risks, many businesses are still not aware of how infringements can affect their brand, and what precautions they should take to prevent the same. In this blog, we will discuss how you can protect your brand from copyright infringement.
Copyright in the U.S. extends legal protection to the creators or authors of “original works” against misuse of the same without permission. It covers artistic, musical, literary, and dramatic works like songs, movies, architectural design, poetry, or computer software. However, such a work of art must be expressed in a tangible form.
It is important to understand here that copyright does not provide protection to ideas, processes, systems, procedures, principles, concepts, discoveries, or methods of operation. It only protects the “expression” of your idea, not the idea.
Having a copyright and trademark gives you exclusive legal rights to distribute, reproduce, publicly perform, adapt, display, or authorize others to do the same. If another party uses your copyrighted property without your authorization and for their interests, it means a violation of your rights. In such cases, you can file a lawsuit against copyright infringement and protect your brand.
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to first copyright your original work and protect it against violations.
The U.S. Copyright law does not make it mandatory to register your work to claim a copyright. You automatically secure a copyright when you create the work, provided it is sufficiently original and is presented in a “copy or phonorecord for the first time.” However, registering your work comes with a number of benefits. These include:
- Establishing a public record that you own and claim the copyright
- Filing an infringement suit before the court
- Presenting prima facia evidence of the copyright’s validity and the facts mentioned in the registration certificate
- Getting covered for statutory damages or attorney fees in case a lawsuit is filed for copyright infringement
To register your claim to copyright, you must submit a duly completed application to the U.S. Copyright Office, pay a stipulated fee, and submit the number of copies of your ‘original’ work that you want to register.
To prevent infringements, it is first important to identify the most likely ways your brand or original work can be subject to violations. In the case of a work of art such as music or poetry, another party can simply use/misuse it on another platform without seeking your permission. It is purely done for their best interests and does not relate to your brand or monetary benefits.
Social media is one of the primary risk platforms for copyright violations. Most “original work of authorship” gets infringed on social media because they are used, reproduced, edited, or misused for interests other than that of the creator or author. So, to prevent copyright infringement, it is first important to identify the threat areas.
From a legal perspective, to protect your brand or work from copyright infringement, it is important to record your intellectual property clause in writing and publicly. You can do this by posting the same on your social media page, website, mobile app, or other locations where people can come to know about it. This disclosure will give you grounds to fight legally in case of copyright violations. It also deters other parties or threat actors to use your copyrighted properties without your authorization.
Finally, it is important to stay vigilant to identify scenarios of infringements. At the same time, you should work with an experienced intellectual property lawyer who can help you understand your rights and represent you legally in case of a lawsuit.
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