Avoiding Copyright Issues May Bite You

Being in business means dealing with everything that comes up. That includes copyright issues.

“Copyright is almost a four letter word for many in the world of business these days. While it’s something they know they need to deal with, they would rather not. This is largely due to the fact that this particular area of the law is complex, complicated and ultimately, a royal pain to deal with without the help of an attorney with experience in this area,” commented David Alden Erikson, a Los Angeles business litigation attorney with extensive background in this area of the law.

“To sum it up, copyright protects authorship of original works and that includes artwork, music and the written word, not to mention intellectual property. But, for now, I’m only going to deal with copyright to try and simplify things,” added Erikson.

Copyright actually protects more than just published works – meaning things you may read, write, etc. – it is applicable to “things” put out there in the public domain, such as exhibited, performed or made accessible by the Internet. This is where any similarities between countries ends. Every country has its own copyright laws. “If you don’t know what laws apply in your country (area), make tracks to talk to a lawyer with experience in this area. Better to be safe than find yourself being sued for violation of copyright,” Erikson remarked.

“Think copyright doesn’t apply to you because you don’t dabble in the creative arts? Think again, and then go take a look at your website copy, brochure copy and your flyers. All of those materials are affected by copyright,” explained Erikson. “You hopefully wouldn’t ‘borrow’ someone else’s copy from their site and call it your own, and you sure wouldn’t want someone pinching copy off your website either. If someone did swipe your copy without your express permission or giving you credit, this breach may result in a lawsuit,” he added.

What if the website owner did not write the copy for the site, but had someone do it for them? In a case like that, the copyright would still vest in the business. This is due to the fact that the owner would hold the copyright under “work for hire.” Work for hire is a section in the copyright act that covers situations like this where the copy is written by another person.

“While you might not develop an appreciation for the finer points of copyright law and copyright infringement, you really should have a passing acquaintance with the general highlights. Put another way, you’d likely want to know what to do if someone stole your copy and vice versa, should you make the same mistake,” suggested Erikson, a Los Angeles business litigation attorney. “If you find that copyright is about as clear as mud, give me a call for a more in-depth explanation,” he offered.

To learn more about David Alden Erikson, Attorney at Law, visit http://www.daviderikson.com.

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