Copyright Infringement Claim: Protect your IP

Copyright infringement is a serious issue in today’s digital age, affecting both creators and users of creative works. It refers to the unauthorised use of copyrighted material without the owner’s permission, whether it be in the form of copying, distributing, performing, or displaying the work.

With the rise of technology, it has become easier than ever for people to infringe on copyrights, leading to significant financial losses for creators and businesses.

For commercial law solicitors, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of copyright law and the legal implications of infringement, both for those who create and those who use copyrighted materials. Expert Commercial Law explore the basics of copyright infringement in the UK, its consequences, and how to protect your rights and prevent infringement.

Protecting your intellectual property

There are several steps you can take to have your intellectual property protected by copyright in the UK:

  • Register your work: Although copyright protection arises automatically when you create an original work, registering your work with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) can provide additional legal protection and evidence of ownership.
  • Use copyright notices: Displaying a copyright notice on your work (e.g. © [year] [name]) can act as a deterrent to potential infringers and remind others that your work is protected by copyright.
  • Licensing: Consider licensing your work to others under specific terms and conditions. This can help control how your work is used and provide additional legal protection.
  • Keep evidence: Keep records of when and where your work was created, as well as any evidence of prior ownership or licensing agreements.
  • Enforce your rights: If you discover that your work has been infringed, take action to enforce your rights. This may involve sending a cease and desist letter or pursuing legal action.

Overall, protecting your intellectual property from copyright infringement in the UK requires a combination of legal knowledge, proactive measures, and prompt action when necessary. Seeking the advice of a qualified solicitor can also be beneficial in developing a tailored strategy for protecting your intellectual property.

Grounds for making a copyright infringement claim

To establish copyright infringement and make a copyright claim under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988), the following three elements must be proven:

  • Ownership of copyright: The claimant must establish that they are the owner of the copyright in the work alleged to have been infringed.
  • Substantial copying: The claimant must prove that the defendant has copied a substantial part of the protected work. This involves comparing the original work with the allegedly infringing work to identify similarities in form and expression.
  • Copyright infringement: The claimant must show that the defendant’s actions have infringed one or more of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner, such as copying, distributing, performing, or adapting the work without permission.

In addition to these three elements, certain defences may be available to the defendant, such as fair dealing, which allows limited use of copyrighted material for certain purposes such as criticism, review, or reporting.

It is important to note that establishing copyright infringement under the CDPA 1988 can be a complex and fact-specific process. Seeking the advice of a qualified commercial law solicitor with experience in copyright law can be beneficial in assessing the strength of your case and developing a strategy for pursuing a copyright infringement claim.

Secondary copyright infringement

Secondary infringement under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) refers to the act of facilitating or enabling copyright infringement by another person, rather than directly infringing the copyright oneself. There are two types of secondary infringement under the CDPA 1988:

  • Authorising infringement: This occurs when a person authorises someone else to infringe copyright. To establish authorisation, it must be shown that the person knew or had reason to believe that the activity in question would amount to copyright infringement.
  • Inducing infringement: This occurs when a person induces someone else to infringe copyright, such as by encouraging or promoting the infringement. To establish inducement, it must be shown that the person intended to cause the infringement and took deliberate steps to do so.

Examples of secondary infringement could include knowingly providing software or tools that enable others to infringe copyright, or allowing the sale or distribution of infringing copies of a work through a website or other platform.

Copyright infringement claim remedies

If you have successfully established copyright infringement under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988), there are several remedies that may be available to you, including:

  • Injunctions: An injunction is a court order that prohibits the defendant from engaging in further infringing activities, such as copying or distributing the copyrighted work.
  • Damages: You may be entitled to monetary damages for any losses you have suffered as a result of the infringement, such as lost profits or licensing fees.
  • Account of profits: Alternatively, you may be entitled to an account of profits, which requires the defendant to account for any profits they have made as a result of the infringement.
  • Delivery up or destruction of infringing copies: You may be entitled to a court order requiring the defendant to deliver up or destroy any infringing copies of your work.
  • Criminal sanctions: In certain circumstances, copyright infringement may also be a criminal offence, which can result in fines and even imprisonment.

How can Expert Commercial Law assist?

  • Expert Commercial Law have a panel of experienced intellectual property solicitors with a track record of success in these types of cases. A solicitor from our panel can be invaluable in helping with a copyright infringement claim.

Our solicitors also help with commercial claims, such as breach of contract and CCJ removal

Please note, we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated high profile legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case onto a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm. 

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Please note, we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case onto a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm. 

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