Arts & Culture Law

What to Do in Case of Copyright Breach

August 3, 2020

If you are an artist, writer, designer, or you simply have an idea, you can spend months or years trying to create authentic material. If someone else took your work and used it for their benefit without your permission, without a doubt, you will feel violated. All of the hard work will go to waste if it gets published under another person’s name. 

The damage is not only financial, but some people become frustrated after being exposed to copyright infringement. They lose hope and succumb to the unfairness that they have been subjected to. However, we are here to tell you that there are ways to take back what was taken from you behind your back and without your consent. 

Study your Case

You should be well aware of the situation you are in before contacting anyone. If you are sure that you didn’t sell your copyrights to anyone, you should figure out your next step. 

First of all, you need to find the document that ties you to your work legally and if you didn’t register your product under your name, your case will be hard to hold up in a court of law. In that case, you should search for alternative ways to tackle the problem. 

Talk to the Infringer

Sometimes the breacher is someone you know and trust with your ideas. When we are unsure of our product, we send it to a close friend to get an honest opinion. That person may put out the product as if they own it. In that case, you can go to them and talk about it in a friendly way and understand their motives. 

If the issue can be settled in one setting without the interference of other parties, it will save you the money that you were going to spend to hire an attorney. Also, it will be in favor of the infringer as they will avoid a lawsuit that could’ve left them bankrupt. 

Seek Legal Assistance

Hiring a lawyer will help you understand your case better and will go with you to the violator. They will handle the negotiations and ensure that you get the amount of money you deserve. 

Also, they will try to prove your rights even if there is no legal connection between you and your work. 

Some legal companies don’t fully comprehend how devastating it is to watch someone else taking credit for your work. You should do your research to understand the steps and in the process, you may stumble upon and realize that you can open an online discussion and understand the circumstances of your case. The time that you will need to go down to every law firm will be saved as you can talk to various lawyers from the comfort of your couch. 

Send a Letter of Demand

If you have identified the breacher as someone who works for a specific company, you can send them a letter of demand. If there is no reply, you can take it up a notch and send the letter to the CEO. They may call you in and try to settle if your claim has solid proof to support it. You can either demand that they stop gaining money and popularity from your work or you can ask for money. They may agree to avoid bad publicity because the company will be known for committing infringement and fraud.

Go to Court

The court of jurisdiction accepts legal papers and witnesses only. So you have to be well-prepared before attempting to take your case to court. Your attorney will estimate the amount of damage and suffering that resulted from the copyright breach and present it to the judges. The court will do some investigations to figure out whether the violation was intentional or if the breacher didn’t know that they were committing a crime. 

Depending on the presented facts and the intentions of both sides, the court will reach a verdict. They put the mental and economical damages into consideration as well. So, they may terminate the project and give you back your rights along with the profit that the company has made because of you. You should learn that next time, you need to be careful especially while sending and posting things online. 

We understand that is not a short journey and your rights will not fall into your lap without any effort. But you shouldn’t despair nor give up on your work because the tunnel doesn’t look so bright. You will be glad that you pursued a lawsuit or that you stood up for yourself. If you give up on your rights, who will care enough to give them to you? 

About the author

Jamie Moses

Jamie Moses founded Artvoice in 1990

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