The Basics About Copyright Infringement

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copyright infringement form on an office tableWhat You Need to Know About Copyright Infringement

The copyright law of the United States has a long and complicated history, dating back to colonial times. It was established as federal law with the Copyright Act of 1790. This act was updated many times, including a major revision in 1976. Over 150 years ago, Thomas Jefferson stated, “Copyright law should be stern enough to discourage the illegal use of a work while being flexible enough to ensure that people will not be afraid to share a point so that many can enjoy the work.” So what about copyright infringement?

Copyright law can be a confusing and complex matter to resolve. This is because there are so many rules, as well as exceptions to the rule. That is why our Des Plaines, IL attorneys with expertise in business law are always in-demand.

Copyright law is federal legislation that carries stiff penalties and even criminal penalties and jail time in certain instances. So, you have to be careful. Anthony J. Madonia & Associates — business attorneys in Des Plaines IL, can help you peer through the fog to understand the important points so you will know your rights.

Copyright Law Protection

The law protects the content creators and producers. This includes the following activities:

  • To allow the author full control of the use of a work;
  • To bar others from claiming the work is theirs;
  • To avoid others profiting from the work when they don’t own the copyright;
  • To allow some restitution when such activities occur to get compensated for the financial loss had the violation not occurred;
  • To decide the performance of a work, seen or published;
  • To have full control of the distribution of a work, etc.

Since it is so directly stated, copyright law also protects someone accused of copyright infringement. As long as you did not violate the law as it stands, and you have a good attorney, you should be ok.

Infringement and violation of intellectual property are serious offenses. Contact our Des Plaines IL copyright infringement attorney when you are first notified of the infringement.

Common Law of Copyright

man working on his laptopIn the court of common sense, when someone composes something, be it a book, a play, a poem, a letter, or anything done by themselves, they own the copyright. The common law doctrine backs this up. Some writers or composers will mail a copy to themselves to ensure that, should they get challenged, they can back up the date they composed the work by the mailing date on the mailer.

If a case goes to court, common law is rarely enough. You need tough business attorneys who know all the nuances of the law. Someone who knows how to properly advise you to either protect your rights as a content provider or to defend you in court against a copyright infringement claim.

Elements of a Claim for Copyright

For someone to file a claim for copyright infringement, you must have at least the following elements:

  • Proof that you wrote or fixated the work yourself (copyright notice present and documents);
  • Evidence that someone else claimed the work was theirs (profit not required);
  • Illegal use of your work either online or in the real world (documented);
  • The date you secured the copyright, the date you wrote the work, and when the unauthorized party used your work.

The “Fair Use” Defense

Fair use is often used as a defense against copyright infringement. Educators, for example, may use up to 10% of a work if it is for the purposes of education; shown to a limited number of people at a time.

The key is that people should still purchase the item because what you showed was not sufficient for them to have or record the entire work. If you make a profit from the work, the fair use defense cannot apply.

Contact a Copyright Infringement Attorney

Our business lawyers in Chicago can help you. If you need copyright protection, have had your work compromised, or got accused of copyright infringement — contact us Anthony J. Madonia & Associates and have your Des Plaines copyright attorney handle your case!