Infringement Online and copyright protection
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Jon Fischer, a retired lawyer and the owner of ‘Legal and Business Sites’ narrates a personal experience of infringement. As a lawyer, he had dealt with many cases of plagiarism and violations, but this is what he faced personally. This is a lesson for those who sell printable material online as well as those who are more than often tempted to copy, reproduce and make money out of unlawfully using another author’s material.
His company had been selling very well written legal documents that he prepared personally, spending hours and hours on the research and then writing each document to make it a unique piece. And then the price was never too high so people could afford it easily. He designed more than 250 such compositions for web designers, software programmers and IT related people. He later also started covering many topics as bylaws, real estate leasing, corporate kits, trust and wills, corporate resolutions, incorporation and confidentiality forms. As his work expanded, his market became stronger and his documents started doing very good business. As he was searching on the internet one day, he came across some very familiar works. As he read more intently, it was his documents copied and put on the net for resale. Individual documents as well as the whole package were for sale and no changes had been made. Every thing was exactly the same except that his footnote, which displayed his registered copyright, was removed. Approximately 100 of such works of his were displayed here. Surprisingly, it was no individual or a growing company that had done such a thing, it was a big name that called themselves The Internet Leader in Download able Legal Documents.
As a retired lawyer he knew that the company was in deep trouble which could take down the whole of their business. As Jon was the copyright owner of his documents, he could easily claim for damages in the court. Any author has the copyright laws of his work as soon as he puts it in a tangible form. Registering it can give further benefits but the authority of copyright exists both with and without registration.
The infringe, Jon states, would be liable of paying him at least $750- $15,000 per item if the reproduction of his work without his consent was unintentional but as this work shows the intentional display of documents and the removal of copyright notes of the author, the defendant might have to pay $150,000 per item. Apart from these statutory charges, the Copyright Law also allows him to collect his attorney fees.
Sometimes licenses issued come with certain limitations. If these are crossed, the copyright has been infringed again.
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