Copyright infringement is the unauthorised use of material that is covered by copyright law, violating one or more of the copyright owner's exclusive rights. The most common types of copyright infringement are copying, making an adaptation and giving a public performance. An example of copyright infringement is the unlawful downloading of copyright material and sharing of recorded music over the internet.
In order for infringement to be established, the copier must have had the opportunity to copy the work. If access is not established, there is no copying, even if there is a striking similarity between the two works. There are two types of infringement; primary and secondary. Primary infringement is done by the actual author and secondary copyright infringement is where the author is only liable if they knew or had reason to believe they are dealing with an infringing copy.
There are defences to copyright infringement, for example if it can be shown that there was no copying, but rather the work is an independent creation. It is possible for an author to create a work independently which bears similarities to another piece of work. Another defense is that the new item does not deserve protection, and therefore the right in question does not deserve protection. There are also other uses of copyright which do not require the permission of the owner. These can include for the purpose of research or private study, for the purpose of criticism and review or for the purpose of reporting and current events.
However, it is often difficult to establish whether these defenses are available and legal advice should be sought before considering any use of someone else's copyright. Legal advice should also be sought if an action for copyright infringement has been brought against you as the punishments can be severe, ranging from damages for loss of sales to seizure of the offending items and even a criminal record.
If you would like to obtain legal advice on copyright infringement then Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist intellectual property solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local intellectual property solicitors please call us at 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.
- Last Updated on 25/01/2013