In the era of digital media, copyright litigation has become substantially more complicated than in the past. Businesses can understandably become lost in the hazy definitions of fair use and copyright protection, sometimes leading to unsuccessful lawsuits or inaction when a suit would actually be justified. Copyrights protect some of the most important and valuable parts of your business, and as such, understanding when and how to take legal action against copyright infringement is crucial to the continued success of your business.
When can I litigate copyright infringement?
First, you’ll need to ensure that your business holds legitimate copyright to the media that is being infringed upon. Your copyright should be over an original work that is unique, and ideally, has received protection from the United States Copyright Office. Businesses should note that registration with the copyright office is not mandatory to receive copyright protection, as unique works inherently receive some level of protection; however, registering your copyright is required before you’re able to engage in litigation over its infringement. As such, businesses should always be sure to file their registration for works they’d like to protect.
The statute of limitations on copyright infringement is three years, so your business should be sure to take action promptly after noticing it. Three years may seem like plenty of time to take action, but the preparation for litigation can take time, and allowing copyright infringement to continue in the meantime can be detrimental. If necessary, your business could file for a preliminary injunction, which orders the discontinuation of the infringing party’s actions until the conclusion of the suit.
You’ll also need to establish that the defendant infringed on your copyright and the manner in which they did so. This can become a troublesome area for many businesses, as fair use law leaves some potential infringement up for interpretation. In order to establish that there was a clear case of infringement, you must demonstrate that the defendant used material that was substantially similar to your copyrighted material and that they did so purposefully in order to gain some sort of financial gain.
If you’re able to effectively demonstrate these conditions, then you likely have a case for copyright infringement. Your next step should be to hire a legal counsel that will be effective in litigating your case, and Trembly Law is here to help. Call our team today at (305) 985-4571 for further assistance in your case.