Occasionally we invite expert guest bloggers to submit a post which are usually very well received by our readers. This week will be no exception I am sure: Liz Appleyard, Commercial Solicitor and Partner at renowned local solicitor firm Tollers, shares some valuable advice applicable to everyone who owns or runs a website.
Your Website Has Been Copied – What Are Your Rights?
Copyright is the legal protection given to literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Text, software, diagrams, photographs and other images are all protected. Copyright protection means that you cannot use copyright protected material belonging to someone else unless they have given you permission to do so or your use amounts to fair dealing. Under the fair dealing rules the quotation of minor parts of a copyright work is permitted provided that the portion of the work copied is not more than is required for the purpose for which it is being used and an appropriate acknowledgement is given to the author.
Trade mark protection will give you protection in relation to your logos, slogans and tag lines. Unregistered trademarks also offer a degree of protection but the burden of proof if alleging infringement is more difficult to satisfy than for a registered trademark.
To protect your material make sure that you identify the work as your copyright material. A simple statement such as “© [your name]” will suffice. Where possible register your trademarks. In addition make sure your website has terms and conditions of use which set out clearly the terms upon which users are permitted to copy or re-use any part of your material or to link to your website.
What should you do to protect this if someone copies your material?
Firstly it is important to take action as soon as possible to protect your investment, to ensure that your brand is protected and that you get credit for your own work.
Find out who the infringer and try to find some contact details for them. Make contact with them and request that your material is removed or withdrawn within a stated time period. If you material has appeared online, monitor the website to check if the owner does comply with your request. If they do not comply with your request then take advice from a solicitor specialising in the infringement of intellectual property. Your solicitor will advise on the most appropriate course of action to take but in the most extreme cases criminal sanctions are an option under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1998.
If you require specific advice about copyright, trademarks and protecting your digital property then we recommend having a chat with Liz and the commercial law team at Tollers. Call 01908 306950