Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's the Most Infringing Time of Year!


It is hard to believe that the season most of us in the industry work all year for is coming again. Our firm has been reviewing agreements for Christmas 2009 recently...talking about planning ahead.

This time of year tends to be an busy one in regards to copyright infringement. Giftware and Decorations can be found in almost any type of store and handpainted items are popular at the holidays. With the increase in merchandise, comes the increased potential for copyright infringement. Our firm has already received 2 cases of infringement based on the 2007 Christmas lines from various retailers.

Honestly, there is no way to truly stop copyright infringement. Watermarks, passwords, etc. are great ways to slow infringers down, but not stop them! An active copyright registration program and a keen eye are your best defenses (or offense!) in the copyright infringement arena.

If you do see a case of infringement - on the internet, in a catalog, in a store, etc. We recommend a few steps to help you in the process:

1) Before you confront anyone - secure a copy of the item with a receipt.
2) Do not make matters worse with an immediate confrontation. It is better to pull all of your documentation (which will be asked for), consult legal counsel, and determine a "plan of attack."
3) Note what other items are being sold with the infringing item - is it part of a special launch, a coordinating line.....
4) Document, document, document - who, what, when, where, how
5) Seek Legal Advice - it may not be as costly as you would think

Many artists and inventors try to handle the infringement by himself or herself to save money. Please know that is VERY understandable. However, many cases have been seriously compromised with self help. Remember, even if the infringing item is removed from a shelf, you may still be able to seek compensation.

An attorney's job is to keep her client OUT of court. That is what our firm believes. With a copyright registration in hand along with your evidence, there are many opportunities for settlement or even licensing arrangement. Even if you did not register your copyright according to the law, you still have options.

It is very important to point out that not all copyright infringement is willful. However, liability may still exist.

The best ways that artists and inventors are going to stop infringement is by registering their works appropriately and being willing to hold the infringer responsible. Our firm sees the legal community's responsibility as providing artists and inventors with all the tools necessary to help them win the battle.

Is this a controversial subject - ABSOLUTELY!? However, that's what the comments section of this blog is for. Also, our next few blogs will be discussing copyrights and their registration in greater detail. Something was started and I'm on a roll. If you can't tell, when it comes to copyrights - I'm pretty darn passionate.

The weekend is almost here and so is Christmas! It's hard to believe!
Create with your heart and your head!

1 comment:

Robin Beam said...

A you freakin' kidding me? Wasn't it just summer a few days ago...hey, where am I? :-)


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