In an ideal world, everyone’s work would be respected and rewarded. However, we are as far away as possible from the ideal, which is why we need to take additional measures to protect work that can be easily copied or used without permission.
Understanding Intellectual Property
Intellectual property is any content or concept shielded by copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secret regulations. Client lists, poetry, mechanical creations, and logos use this form of property. Intellectual Property Theft takes place when an individual knowingly makes, uses, misappropriates, or otherwise steals property protected under the laws of intellectual property.
There are several variations of intellectual property infringement, as there are several different types of intellectual property. An example of infringement of intellectual property is when a person intentionally steals the trademark of a corporation and uses it on their own goods without the permission of the company.
Businesses are vigilant in recognizing and defending intellectual property since in today’s ever more knowledge-based culture they have such high importance. It is an essential duty of an organization to derive value from intellectual property and prohibit others from deriving value from it.
Much can be said of intellectual property. Although it is an immaterial commodity, intellectual property can be even more precious than the tangible properties of a corporation.
The economic value in intellectual property can be and thus is actively secured by the businesses that own the property.
What to do if your Intellectual Property is used without consent
Before you may pursue court action in the case of infringement of copyright, your work must be licensed. If this is not the case, do it as soon as possible, because you cannot recover damages for the duration the job is unauthorized.
Similarly, you cannot submit a patent infringement claim before the patent has been granted the authority. And you will be entitled to recover any penalties from the time until the patent has been granted.
You will be eligible to file a legal lawsuit, a police charge, or both, depending on the type of violation. Based on the specifics of the situation and the harm you have sustained and other considerations.
In fact, this happens a lot online, where it’s easy to use images, videos, and all sorts of other resources without permission from the creator. If this happens and your work is registered for copyright, you (as the owner) can ask for compensation. If the situation isn’t solved peacefully, there is legal action you can take, such as suing for infringement (see more on how to sue for copyright infringement).
However, an infringement lawsuit can be costly and messy, which is why it should be the last course of action. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should forfeit your right of receiving compensation, but there are some other steps to take first.
So, if you discovered your work is being used on a website without your permission, here are the steps you can take:
#1: Send a Message
Let’s say you worked hard to create an educational guide that you’ve registered and provided the right to sell to a specific platform. However, you find the same guide, on a different site, one that didn’t ask your permission to publish the guide and is using it for their own gain.
In this case, the first approach is to send them a message, asking them to remove the guide from their page and never use it again. You’re also within your right to ask for compensation for the time the resource has been on their site.
You would be surprised at just how many infringers don’t know they are in violation of intellectual property laws! As such, in many cases, this first step should also be the last one.
#2: Send a Cease-and-Desist Letter
If your first approach doesn’t get a reply or the infringer refuses to take down your guide, it’s time to talk with an intellectual property lawyer. They will guide you through the process and teach you how to send a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter with follow-up (if necessary).
This is still not a legal action against the infringer (only the threat of a lawsuit) but it is a more formal approach that can be enough to bring the matter to an end.
#3: Infringement Lawsuit
If the first two approaches don’t work, the next natural step is to file a complaint against the infringer and start legal action.
However, you need to first calculate the costs and decide if the accused has the possibility to support them. Otherwise, if the site is small, you may end up paying the legal fees, which are not low.
If the cost is too high, you can take a detour and file a complaint with their ISP (Internet Service Provider). Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), you can ask the ISP to remove the website from the Internet based on the fact that they are wrongly using copyrighted materials without permission.
Intellectual property is still a very sensitive issue, but you have to stand up for your rights, whenever the situation arises. Of course, it’s also important to know your rights and whether or not you have a real claim.