As we discussed in last week’s post, modern technology has muddled copyright laws so much that some people commit it without even realizing it. So, what do you do if your business receives a copyright infringement notice in the mail?
First off, don’t panic! While serious, you can handle a copyright infringement notice with relative ease and often without the need for legal counsel.
In this article, we’ll discuss the smart way to respond to a copyright infringement notice so you can get back to the business of doing business.
Don’t ignore it
Ignoring a notice in the hopes that it will go away on its own is the worst thing you could do. Not only is this bad business practice, ignoring it could escalate the situation. As we mentioned above, copyright infringement notices are usually harmless. In most cases, the copyright holder will simply ask your business to “cease and desist.” If you’re guilty, remove the copyrighted material from whatever platform it’s on. In other cases, the copyright holder will ask for a minimal fee to use the material legally–like in the case of stock photos which are legal to use if purchased.
Read it carefully
It’s possible you were wrongly accused of copyright infringement. That’s why it’s important to read the notice carefully. If your business has a license, receipt, or can prove that the work in question is regarded as fair use or is in the public domain, make your case to the copyright holder. If you can’t prove any of the above, cease and desist.
Don’t rush to contact the copyright holder
It’s human nature to want to explain yourself in a situation like this but resist the urge! Like any legal dispute, anything you say can and will be used against you. So, before you reach for the phone or send that email, make sure you fully understand the notice. Contact your lawyers if the copyright holder is asking for more than a cease and desist or minimal fee.
Receiving a copyright infringement notice can happen to the best of us. And while it may be uncomfortable, it’s not the end of the world. So, don’t panic. Be professional and address it promptly.
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