Don’t Ignore theft of your photos or blogs

Online Copyright Infringement can come in all types of shapes and sizes. While we tend to think of other companies stealing our trademarks entirely, like names, logos, and recipes.  However, more insidious types of infringement, such as plagiarism and blatant stealing, are just as common. 

Stealing = Copyright Infringement

When someone posts your photos, blogs, songs, or other original content without crediting you, it is a form of online copyright infringement. It is stealing.

That does not mean, however, that you will get rich if you sue the infringer.  Many copyright infringement cases,  while legally valid, end up not being logistically or financially viable.

Keep in mind: in order to make money off of a lawsuit, your infringer must be making money off of your content.

Is it Copyright Infringement?

The first thing to do is to identify what platform your content is being posted on. The most common form of Online Copyright Infringement is posting photos without credit on social media.

If someone posts your content without your permission, take a look at the license of whatever platform it was posted on. Most social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram list that you are giving away your rights when you use them. While there may still be ways to receive credit or get your content taken down, traditional rights do not apply to users of these platforms.

Send a Cease and Desist Notice

If you did not give up your rights to complain when you posted the image or blog post, you probably have a case of copyright infringement.  Send a cease and desist notice to the infringer.  Sometimes the infringer did not realize the use was theft.  In fact, many people believe web content is free to use and repost (it isn’t).

Send a DMCA Take-Down Notice

The cease and desist notice didn’t work?

Send a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) Take-Down Notice to the platform. Most websites post their “Terms of Use” in a link at the bottom of the home page.  The Terms of Use usually provide an e-mail or postal address where you can file a complaint.  Larger businesses have a specific DMCA Take-Down Notice procedure.  If so, be sure to follow their policy.

If you need sample language for a DMCA Take-Down Notice, check out my suggestion in the comments to my instagram post here and here

Should I Sue the Infringer?

Next, you need to determine is if your infringer is making money off of your content.

If someone is stealing your blogs, for instance, they are probably not making much (if any) money off of your content. In turn, that means that there is not much money you would stand to make from the case in a lawsuit. Having said that, there is still a lot of value in setting the record straight and making sure your content stays yours.

If someone is making money off of your content, then taking legal action might be in your best interest. For instance, if someone is selling a product that uses your photo in or on it, then you stand to be compensated for your contributions.

Keep in mind that you will be paid off of the profits of the product, not the full price it sells for. If someone is successfully selling your content, whether they are an entrepreneur or a major company, you can see a return on your unintentional contributions.

Concerto Law helps you stop theft of your photos or blog

Seeing someone else use your content online is always upsetting. It may not lead to a reversal or a payday as often as you would hope, but it is always worth taking a shot.

If someone is infringing on your content online, contact Concerto Law today. At Concerto Law, we believe in helping small businesses, freelancers, and nonprofits solve the pesky legal problems that arise during the day.