The issue of infringing trademarks and copyrights in cyberspace has become increasingly important explains William D King. Companies rely on their trademarks to distinguish their goods and services from those of others. Copyright owners rely on their copyrights to protect the economic value of their works. These rights are enforced by laws that can be violated in cyberspace just as they can be violated elsewhere.
The Legal Framework
- The most basic principle underlying the law of trademarks is that a trademark owner has an exclusive right to use its mark if consumers come to associate it with the goods or services of one particular sponsor. A copyright protects original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. This protection gives copyright owners significant control over how their works are use and distributed However, copyright’s exclusive rights do not extend to any idea, procedure, process, slogan, principle, or discovery. In the context of cyberspace, this means that a copyright owner is not allowed to stop someone from copying its work in order to make fair use of it.
- Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduce without permission from the copyright owner explains William D King. If a person violates even one of the copyright holder’s exclusive rights—for example by republishing content on another Web site without permission—copyright law may have been violate. A finding of copyright infringement can result in seizure of allegedly infringing materials and could lead to criminal penalties against individuals as well as civil remedies including damages and injunctions against further violations
- In contrast trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a mark in a way that is likely to confuse consumers as to the source of a product. In cyberspace as in the real world, trademark rights do not depend on registering a trademark with any authority. Trademark rights exist from the moment a mark first appears and are based on actual use of the mark in commerce, rather than merely on filing an application or posting a sign.
- To establish a claim for trademark infringement, a plaintiff must first show that it owns a valid mark which is being use by another party without permission. This is most commonly through the presentation of certain documents such as business records showing ownership of previous registrations or applications to register trademarks. Second, there must be evidence that the defendant’s conduct will consumer confusion about. Who is actually affiliate with or sponsored by the trademark holder. This analysis falls into two parts.
First, to determine whether consumers are likely to be confused about the source of goods or services, courts consider numerous factors including:
1) The similarity between the owner’s mark and an allegedly infringing sign;
2) The relatedness of the goods/services bearing the marks;
3) The sophistication of consumers in your market area;
4) Evidence that Internet users will consult multiple sources before making purchases online.
If it is more likely than not that a consumer would be mislead, there may be infringement. Second, even if confusion appears unlikely, there may be an infringement. If the use dilutes the quality of a famous mark.
If you feel that your copyright or trademark rights have been violate. That an infringement has occurred, you must act quickly – the legal time limits are short. If there is reason to believe that one of your copyrights might have been infringe. You should immediately consult an attorney experienced in copyright law and follow her advice says William D King. While waiting for the attorney’s office to call back; DO NOT DO ANYTHING TO ALTER THE STATE OF THE ORIGINAL WORK! An author does not need to register a work with any governmental agency before bringing suit for copyright infringement; however, registration will confer certain benefits if an infringement occurs. Registration may also be necessary as a prerequisite for receiving statutory damages and attorneys’ fees.
Only a notable, original work can be copyright.
Copyright infringement occurs when someone violates one of an owner’s exclusive rights. Granted by the Copyright Act without permission from the owner.
Trademarks are use to distinguish the source of goods or services. You must demonstrate that you own a valid mark. And that there is a likelihood for confusion before your mark is infringe.