As part of our Software & Copyrights practice, we provide copyright infringement defense services.
Copyright Infringement Defense
It is important to know the steps to take when a company receives a copyright infringement notice. Retaining a copyright litigation attorney can make the difference between moving past the infringement notice quickly and triggering a more serious dispute. Additionally, getting served with a copyright infringement lawsuit may require quick action. Our attorneys advise clients regarding copyright infringement defense as well as defending against copyright infringement lawsuits.
Copyright Infringement Notices
A copyright infringement notice typically informs the recipient that they are allegedly infringing on the sender’s copyright. Such cease and desist letters demand the recipient cease the infringing activity immediately. The request may also threaten further legal action, such as copyright litigation, if the recipient does not comply. Sometimes these copyright infringement cease and desist notices are legitimate. However, a sender may be threatening an overly broad interpretation of the copyright at question. Regardless, the recipient should not simply ignore the copyright infringement notice. One should take copyright infringement defense seriously and handle the claim expeditiously to avoid further legal action.
Our copyright attorneys review the facts and assist with determining the validity of copyright claims. We provide opinions on best actions to take as well as assist clients in copyright infringement defense through settlement negotiation or litigation.
Defenses to Copyright Infringement Claims
Our copyright attorneys can assist defending against copyright infringement claims. Some examples of copyright infringement defense arguments are:
Fair use doctrine
Proof the work was independently created and not copied
Innocence (proving there was no reason to believe the work was copyrighted)
The use is with a license agreement in place (this can shift liability to the licensor)
Abandonment (a claim that the owner failed to enforce it’s rights, thereby abandoning the right)
Misuse of copyright by the copyright owner
Statute of limitations (the owner must file a suit within 3 years of knowing/should have known of infringement)
Note a copyright claimant must prove the following three elements, to win an infringement claim:
A valid copyright exists (Registration provides a presumption of validity)
The defendant copied the work without authorization
The infringing work is substantially similar to the protected work
Digital Rights Management: Digital Rights Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
Copyright holders may also send service providers a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These DMCA notices typically describe the infringing content, and ask it be taken off of the service provider’s website. The DMCA helps protect intellectual property holders from copyright piracy. However, it also provides safe harbors for Internet service providers and website owners. The owners must appoint a DMCA Agent to review the takedown notices for legitimacy and expeditiously handle takedowns for the safe harbor protection. Our copyright lawyers assist with registering DMCA Agents with the U.S. Copyright Office. Additionally, we provide guidance in developing infringement review and takedown processes.
Even with these safe harbor protections in place, website owners and ISPs can still face copyright infringement defense issues. We defend clients against all forms of copyright infringement claims.
Local Counsel for Copyright Litigation
We also act as local counsel to out-of-state plaintiffs and defendants involved in copyright lawsuits filed in federal courts in Texas.
See our local counsel litigation page for more details, including pro hac vice admission requirements for Texas federal courts, the Texas Lawyer's Creed, and additional information about Texas copyright litigation.