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Website Copyright Infringement

By Eric Misterovich

Website copyright infringement is pervasive on the Internet. You do not, however, have to accept website copyright infringement as a pain of doing business on the Internet. Even if you have not filed for copyright registration, you can still claim common law copyright rights, which are created at the moment your website content is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression,” e.g., when it is saved to a hard drive or server.

Though common law copyright rights are helpful, it is important to register for copyright registration of your website. Copyright registration provides you with several benefits, including statutory damages and the ability to file a lawsuit in federal court for copyright infringement. Consequently, we typically recommend that clients register their website content with the United States Copyright Office on a regular basis. Since website content is constantly changing, and because a copyright registration only applies to the content deposited with the Library of Congress during the copyright application process, it is important to reregister your website copyright on a regular basis.

When infringement has been identified, the US Copyright Act provides several remedies. One such remedy is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). Under the DMCA, copyright owners may issue a DMCA takedown notice to the host of the infringing content. If the content is not expeditiously removed by the host upon receipt of the DMCA notice, the website host can be held secondarily liable under the theories of vicarious liability and contributory copyright infringement. If the host removes the content, but it appears elsewhere, it may be time to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against the infringing party.

Copyright infringement lawsuits can be costly, but, provided your website copyright was registered correctly, you can often claim up to $150,000 in statutory damages for website copyright infringement (per work infringed) plus costs and attorneys’ fees if you are the prevailing party in a copyright infringement lawsuit. These harsh penalties provide website copyright infringers with a large incentive to cease their infringing activities.

If you have a website copyright infringement matter and need to speak with an attorney, contact Revision Legal today at 855-473-8474 or complete the contact form on the right of this page.

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