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Copyright Infringement Laws

The copyright infringement laws consist of an illegal use of material that has already been copyrighted. Violating the copyright author’s rights can include making a copy, handing out, showing or even performing the copyrighted material, in a way to get the information copied. Copyright Infringement can also relate to “intellectual property” where there is no given permission from the copyright author. A copyright author can either be a publisher or even a business partner that has had a hand in the copyright material. Read below where Experts have answered many questions pertaining to the copyright infringement laws.

If an individual created software that allowed individuals to download videos from a video site that has encrypted content which is decrypted after download. Is this individual violating copyright laws? Will a user-agreement to not share content protect them from a lawsuit? Will the individual be personally liable for copyright infringement lawsuit is brought against their LLC?

It is important to understand that the LLC (Limited Liability Company) may not provide complete protection against a Copyright Infringement lawsuit. While an LLC limits liability of employees, officers and shareholders, it is still vulnerable to a "piercing a corporate veil" suit where the plaintiff may claim that the officers and the LLC are one and the same. If successful, the officers could be held responsible in criminal charges. Also, your assets could be at stake. There argument would be that the software you create may potentially steal copyrighted property.

The video website in many cases will have grounds to sue you as well as their subscribers for Breach of Contract depending on what the websites user agreement says about copying the streams. Simply putting up a user agreement in most situations will not prevent a lawsuit as the plaintiff may argue that you, who created the software, were aware that is likely to be used to commit copyright infringement.

Does a church need to purchase a copyright license in order to make transparencies of song lyrics?

Legally, you are required to procure a license in order to make transparencies. However, since this issue is rarely ever raised, there is a chance that a court might rule it is a "fair use" and allow the church to use the song lyrics for their use within the church.

If an individual is falsely accused of copyright infringement for a website that they did not own, the complaint against them has ruined their reputation, can the individual file for defamation?

In some situations, an individual may have a case for defamation as well as ‘false light and reckless infliction of emotional distress’. Here’s how:

When an individual claims ‘false light’, the individual may have to show that the defendant’s actions placed against them were in false light with the public. The court will then determine whether the allegation is strong enough to be extremely provoking to another person The plaintiff will also have to claim and show proof that the defendant had made these claims out of spite and hatred, also showing that that statements were untrue.

For defamation to be proven the defendants should have made a false statement; it was made to a third party; the defendant is guilty of at least negligence; and such statement damaged the plaintiff.

To prove reckless infliction of emotional distress, the individual may need to show three things: (1) the defendant’s actions were severe and offensive, (2) the defendant was aware that there could have been emotional distress because of their actions; and (3) the actions were deliberately caused to place emotional distress upon another individual.

What can an individual do if someone has a copyright infringement against them for using a photo that did not have a copyright notice?

In many cases, the individual will not have another choice, other than to respond to the suit that is filed against them. In this suit, you may demand proof of copyright for the image and that the plaintiff is really the owner. However, if the allegations are proved, you can negotiate for settlement as penalty could go up to $150,000 per violation.

It is also important to know what is not protected under Copyright Infringement Laws. For example, the laws do not protect the idea itself, but the expression of the idea as is the case with concepts, principles, and discoveries. Also, methods of operation, processes, systems, and procedures are not within the scope of copyright protection. Slogans, and short phrases; blank forms for recording information and works containing no original authorship like phone listings too are not protected. For information on Copyright Infringement Laws, contact the Experts.
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