Copyright Gotcha by Google Search
By J. Nevin Shaffer, Jr.
I have been told that Google is now being used by copyright owners
to find authors of publications that are making unauthorized use of
their copyrighted materials. Presumably, the copyright owners send a
demand letter threatening a lawsuit for copyright infringement and
asking for substantial dollar damages to settle. Ouch!
Here’s what you need to know about copyrights:
- Copyright protection attaches the instant an original
work of art or authorship is reduced to a tangible form. No
protection results from copying someone else’s work even if it is
easy to do!
- Unless, the original work is registered at the US
copyright Office within three months of publication, the only
damages that can be obtained are the owner’s actual damages for the
infringement which are typically hard to prove and small.
- Unauthorized copying of a registered copyright work entitles the
owner to potentially substantial damages including court costs,
attorney’s fees and statutory damages for willful
infringement of up to $150,000.
- Fair Use is the primary defense against copyright
infringement. It is legal to cite other people’s work for many
reasons such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching,
scholarship, and research.
- When authoring a work of your own, the best practice if you are
using someone else’s work is to get their written permission
- The US Copyright Office website is loaded with information at:
About the Author
Nevin is a licensed patent attorney and has been practicing
Intellectual Property law for 25 years. You may contact Nevin at his
Gulf Breeze office in the Harbourtown complex, Suite 43, or by phone
or email at 850-934-4124 and
email@example.com. You can also get information about Nevin and his
practice at his website at
www.nevinshaffer.com. Nevin is a professional speaker as well.
If your organization would like to have him speak about these
topics, please contact him! Note: Nevin speaks in plain English and
not in unintelligible lawyer gibberish!
Copyright 2006 JNSJrPA. The material in this article is provided for
general informational purposes only and should not be considered a
legal opinion nor relied upon in lieu of specific legal advice.
Accordingly, readers who require legal services in connection with
their specific circumstances should consult an attorney competent in
the field of intellectual property.