As mentioned elsewhere on this website copyright exists in everything from a music recording to a piece of software to a photograph. It is a vital part of the glue of any modern business and would include things such as the copyright in your website to a written manual and brochure that you produce.
If you create games software, phone apps, photographs or databases, then your business exists because of your copyright creation, and someone infringing your copyright can cause real damage and loss to your business. The most common types of copyright infringement or copyright theft as it is often called are as follows:
- Copying the website text and format to gain SEO for a particular product or service.
- Theft of a database or confidential copyright information in a business. Such examples would include an employee taking customers information, technical drawings and test results. This kind of information is often of great value to another company and if copied and used elsewhere gives a spring board effect to another company. In other words a competitor can use this material without having to spend any money on it or make any investment in creating it. It is wrong and it can be very damaging to the business that lost it.
- Software copying. This is an interesting one. Whilst it is almost impossible to copy some software, in certain circumstances where the source code has been accessed and used, a duplicate software program may be created. It is not an infringement of copyright to copy a concept. So for example, there is no copyright format in a simple app or indeed in the functionality of some software. However, it IS copyright infringement if the software coding is taken on a line by line basis without permission.
- Photographs, text and music are copyright materials which often taken by other businesses and used without permission.
So in summary, whilst some copyright infringements may be annoying such as accidental use of a photograph, the commercial damage may be very limited. However, other copyright infringements such as taking a database or removal of test results or extensively catalogued information then the damage to your business can be catastrophic and result in major problems for you and your business.
If that occurs then you need to speak to an expert about it.
We can then advise you on any letters before action or cease and desist letters. We can also help you identify key issues such as ownership of copyright, where the lines are between design rights and copyrights and deal with all and any infringements of your intellectual property.
If you would like to have a chat to a solicitor about copyright infringement or anything contained on this page please don’t hesitate to Contact Us. Our initial chats are always free.