So, you have been sued for copyright infringement, because you downloaded content from a website, blog, google scholar, or another source for your creative Work Product. Whether, you are talking about written articles, e-books, blog posts, videos, photographs, website architecture and content (Collectively “Works”), many of the issues from a copyright infringement perspective are the same. Many individuals make the mistake of thinking that because something is published on the internet that it is part of the Public Domain, and can be used by anyone. Quite simply, this is incorrect. Just because a Work is available or publicly accessible does not mean that it is not subject to a valid Copyright. You must still review it to determine if, the Work is copyrighted and if, you are using it in violation of the owner or author’s Copyrights.
First, you should look for a Copyright notice. Second, you should check the U.S. Copyright Office’s records. Third, you should determine how much of the Copyrighted Work you are actually using in creating your own Work. If the amount that you have appropriated is covered by the Copyright Registration, then you may very well still be liable for Copyright Infringement. If the material is covered by a Copyright you should review your own Work to see if, it is substantially similar to the original Work covered by the Copyright Registration. If your Work is substantially similar or uses the heart of the original Work, then you should check to see if, your Work qualifies for a defense or exception from infringement.
To determine if, your Work qualifies for an exception or defenses from infringement you need to compare your Work to the Original Work and see if, there is an applicable Fair Use, Parody, Innocent Infringer, or DMCA Safe Harbor defense. If not, then you may be liable for Copyright Infringement, which can be substantial and ongoing source of liability. Damages in a Copyright Infringement case can include statutory fees, attorneys’ fees, lost profits and/or reasonable royalties for the life of the Copyright or the author’s life plus seventy years. So, before you go to a website and copy a Work and expose yourself to a Copyright Infringement, Inducing Infringement, Contributory Infringement, Vicarious Infringement, or a Digital Millennium Copyright Infringement claim, consider investigating whether the Work is Copyrighted.
If you have any concerns or questions about enforcing your copyrights or defending against copyright infringement claims, then please feel free to contact our Copyright Attorneys or see our website at: http://www.vrplawgroup.com