How to Avoid Copyright Infringement

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If you are wondering how to avoid copyright infringement, you are not alone.  The vast majority of people, including those who are business professionals, are understandably unaware of how to avoid copyright infringement.  At one point or another, business professionals in all different economic sectors find themselves wondering how to avoid copyright infringement. Let’s see how to avoid copyright infringement and costly legal penalty that puts your bottom line in jeopardy.


What is Copyright Infringement?  Clarifying a Commonly Misunderstood Area of the Law

Copyright infringement is often misunderstood as this section of the law is quite complicated.  Furthermore, thanks to the rise of the internet, we live in an era in which data is distributed with incredible ease at a remarkably high frequency.  If you do not understand how to avoid infringing on the copyrights of another person or institution, there is a good chance you will make a significant mistake that makes you legally liable for an array of costly damages.  However, obtaining a thorough understanding of copyright law is easier said than done.  

When in doubt, abide by the mantra of assuming there is a copyright until you are proven otherwise.  This approach is akin to being safe as opposed to sorry.  At one point in time, copyright protection was only applicable if the work included an official Copyright Notice.  However, this is no longer the case.

It is more prudent to assume the work in question is protected through federal copyright.  The only reason to assume otherwise is if you can reliably confirm no such federal copyright protection exists.  In particular, this stance is especially helpful when dealing with information available on the Internet.  The bottom line is if you are capable of finding the information in question on the web, there is a good chance another person or institution owns the rights to that information and will take the legal action necessary to prevent its use by another party. 


An Explanation of Copyright Exemptions

You should be aware of the exemptions to copyrights.  As detailed below, there are some instances when it is legal and acceptable to use protected work.  Such circumstances are fairly uncommon.  This is known as “fair use.” This type of use is applicable to situations where there are non-commercial purposes, be it teaching, providing commentary or levying criticism of the information in question.  Even in such an instance, you must consider the specific purpose, extent, significance, and the impact the use would have. 

It is always best to assume it is unacceptable and illegal to use the copyrighted work in question.  If your copyright lawyer has analyzed the situation and it is still unclear as to whether the work in question can be used, it is prudent to directly ask the copyright holder for permission to use the work.


How to Avoid Copyright Infringement: A Brief Look at the Limitations of Copyrights

You must understand that copyright infringement simply does not apply in certain cases to truly  comprehend copyright infringement.  For the most part, ideas and facts are viewed as a component of the public domain.  In other words, one can write his or her own version of history in a history book in accordance with real life historical events.  This is a stark contrast to writing a history book based on another individual’s writings.  Such a book is deemed infringement as the ideas and facts generated by the original writer constitute original though that is fully protected by the law.  However, if the copyright of the work in question has expired, the work enters the public domain.  Once the work is a part of the public domain, it is no longer protected.  

The best copyright lawyers advise clients to be overly-cautious instead of taking risks with copyright matters.  Take a deep look into the copyright status of the works in question prior to using any of their components for your own purposes.  In general, the law states that works from 1923 and earlier are a component of the public domain.  However, certain publications made available after this date might still be protected in accordance with federal copyright law. 


Invaluable Legal Assistance From an Experienced Copyright Lawyer is a Call Away

Do not attempt to navigate the complicated legal maze of copyright law on your own.  Intellectual property law is dynamic as opposed to static, meaning it is rapidly changing.  If the letter of the law pertaining to your copyright matter seems crystal clear, it is still quite risky to move forward.  A subtlety of the implementation of the law has the potential to create quite the lengthy, costly and frustrating legal conflict.  

Lean on one of our copyright attorneys to handle your copyright matter.  Whether you have an incredibly complicated intellectual property issue or simply have a few questions or concerns you would like to pose to our copyright lawyer, we are here for you.  Reach out to us today to schedule an initial consultation.