Someone who creates and distributes copyrighted works should be aware of the steps needed if they receive a copyright infringement claim. Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses a copyrighted work without permission. This can happen in a variety of ways, such as when someone copies a work without giving the owner credit, sells copies of a work without the owner's permission, or displays a work publicly without the owner's permission. If someone receives a copyright infringement claim, there are a few steps to take in order to defend against the claim.
Step One: Determine if the Claim Is Valid
The first step to take if a copyright infringement claim is received is to determine whether or not the claim is actually valid. In order to do this, look at the work in question and compare it to the alleged copyrighted work. If it is found that there is no substantial similarity between the two works, then the claim is not valid and there need not be any further action taken. However, if it is found to be a substantial similarity between the two works, then the claim may be valid and there will need to be further action taken in order to defend against the claim.
Step Two: Decide Whether or Not to Respond to the Claim
Once determined that the copyright infringement claim is actually valid, decide whether or not to respond to it. If there is not a response to the claim, then the person who filed the claim will likely file a lawsuit against the infringer and will probably win. However, if a response to the claim is made, then there will need to be a draft in response which includes an explanation of why the claim is not valid. Once the response is drafted, send to the person who filed the claim and await their response. It is recommended to hire an attorney to assist with the draft.
Step Three: Decide Whether or Not To File A Counterclaim
If after sending the response to the person who filed the copyright infringement claim, they still believe that their claim is valid, then they may file a lawsuit against the alleged infringer. At this point, the alleged infringer will need to decide whether or not to file a counterclaim. A counterclaim is a legal argument that states why the alleged infringer believes that the copyright owner is actually infringing on the alleged infringer's copyright. If the alleged copyright holder chooses not to file a counterclaim, then they will lose the case and may owe damages. However, if the alleged infringer chooses to file a counterclaim, then there is a chance that they could win the case and recover damages from the copyright owner.
Receiving a copyright infringement claim can be scary and confusing. However, by following these three simple steps—determining whether or not the claim is valid; deciding whether or not to respond; deciding whether or not to file a counterclaim— can help ensure that rights are protected and that the alleged infringer has the best chance possible of winning any legal action that may result from the claim.
If you have copyright-related questions, feel free to contact Curington Law, LLC for more detailed information at (312) 766-6671 or online. We can help ensure that your copyrights are properly protected.