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A Copyright Infringement Lawyer’s Guide to Being Served

April 4, 2023

Copyright infringement has become a hot-button topic as artificial intelligence technology continues to advance. Many artists claim their work has been stolen and used to train these new technologies, but copyright lawsuits can affect anyone with copyrighted material.

Being served with a copyright lawsuit can quickly become an overwhelming and stressful experience, but the right copyright infringement lawyer can simplify the whole process. This guide explains the basics of copyright infringement and what you can expect if it happens to you.

The basics of copyright infringement lawsuits.

The Copyright Act of 1976 laid the groundwork for today’s current copyright laws, and essentially, it was designed to protect creators from having their work stolen. It protects the intellectual property rights of the original authors of creative work. If someone copyrights their work, they own the “exclusive rights” to that work. Copyright infringement occurs when another individual uses that work without the original author’s permission, such as using a drawing for their company logo or stealing copy from a written piece for an advertising campaign.

Tips for avoiding an infringement lawsuit.

If you want to avoid being sued for copyright infringement, which can eat up your time and money, then you can follow some easy-to-implement guidelines. First, try not to steal or copy anyone else’s artistic works. While that may seem simple enough, it can still happen with the best of intentions. So, if you’re working on or with an artistic property, never use a previous design from another individual. Always start with your own original work.

It's also helpful to document your right to use when working on a project. This piece of paperwork provides protection by putting in writing that you or your client have ownership of the property and can freely use, alter, or redesign it. Finally, always document your work so your copyright infringement lawyer can demonstrate with certainty you independently created your own property.

Helpful information for your copyright infringement lawyer.

If you do find yourself faced with a lawsuit, your copyright infringement lawyer will want to know some basic information to give your case the best chance possible to succeed. Before contacting a legal expert, you should know the following information.

Does copyright infringement exist?

The first thing your lawyer will need to know is whether or not you actually did steal someone else’s work without their permission. This could include using copyrighted images that you don’t own on a website, modifying images that aren’t yours, creating products with copyrighted words or images, or sharing music, movies, or television shows. This is not an exclusive list, but it covers many of the more common cases.

Does the plaintiff have a copyright registration?

A recent Supreme Court ruling from March 2019 set the precedent that a plaintiff must have a copyright registration before they file a lawsuit. So if you get served for infringement, your lawyer will want to determine whether or not the material has legal protection.

When did the alleged infringement occur?

The Copyright Act has a three-year statute of limitations, but how the court determines the start and end of that three years can vary. You need to be explicit about when any alleged infringement occurred, because this can have a significant impact on your case.

Have you been served for copyright infringement?

The best thing you can do is find yourself a copyright infringement lawyer like the team at Atlas Law Group. With degrees and credentials from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom’s most prestigious institutions and decades of collective experience, we have the insights you need to fight your case.

You can learn more about our firm online, or contact us to schedule an initial consultation.

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