Copyright Violation: What Legal Steps Should I Take?

Bloggers, writers, and photographers, sometimes get their content unlawfully copied without any permission. With the use of internet allowing access to billions of people around the world, it has become easier for some to present some else’s creative work as their own.

Intellectual property is a valuable asset so one should take immediate actions to make sure that one’s rights are protected. No one wants their content to be used without their consent which is why there are serious repercussions for violating copyrights.

What steps should you take in case of copyright violation?

Here are the initial steps that one should take if any violation is noticed.

  1. Find out the content being used

Is it a part of one of your posts or an entire post? Notice the specific URLs involved: The links containing the plagiarized material as well as the links containing your original content, if available.

  1. Make sure that the use of your material is not fair use

The law permits a certain use of content without express permission. Make sure that the copied material is copied unlawfully before taking any action.

For example, if a website posts commentary on your writing, more like a book review, then you are not supposed to submit a DMCA notice. You must consider whether the use of your content is fair before submitting a takedown notification.

  1. Try contacting the site’s owner to request the takedown of your content

It doesn’t always work. The owner of the website copying your content might not display his or her contact information. Also, they may simply ignore your requests.

  1. Find out if the web site is hosted at WordPress.com

If you spot a URL that reads “Blog at WordPress.com” in the footer of the first web page, it usually signifies that it is hosted here and it can be easier for you to get the person’s contact information.

  1. Produce a formal notice and send it to the host.

Once you file a DMCA notice to a web host, the individual who published the content that you reported has the right to review the notice in its entirety.

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Know that when you file a DMCA notice to a web host, it is forwarded to the owner of that specific site publishing the reported content, including any information that you provided.

It might be that you are not comfortable with showcasing your contact information to the individual you’re filing against. In this situation, an agent can be appointed to submit the DMCA takedown notice on your behalf.

Any lawyer, consulting firm, or family member can play the role of your agent on your behalf. But, ensure that they provide valid contact information and consider you as the copyright holder who they are to represent.

If the owner of the site copying your content believes that he or she has the legal right to copy your reported content and it has been wrongly removed, they are eligible to file a DMCA counter notice. If you don’t bring a lawsuit within 10 business days, the host will restore the content on the site you reported.

If the reported material is posted at WordPress.com, the site’s DMCA takedown notice form can provide you with all of the information you require.