Received a Copyright Infringement Notice? Now What?

Are you one of those who just received a TCYK LLC letter? In order for such a letter of claim not to become a TCYK LLC lawsuit eventually, it is a must to know some what-to-do guidelines when receiving notices for copyright infringement. So, read on; this article might help.

Let’s start with some FAQs:

Who sends a letter of claim?

Only 3 sources are authorized to send you a letter of demand for copyright infringement, and these are:

  • An exclusive licensee or someone who has an exclusive copyright license of a certain creative material
  • The owner of the copyright
  • The solicitor/s and anti-piracy entities who have been hired by copyright owners to chase infringers

In some territories and selected cases, the ISP may also have the right to send a copyright infringement notice to warn subscribers of their illegal downloading and/or file-sharing activities.

What to do next?

You need to respond to the letter of claim within the period specified on the letter. In England, it is a general rule to reply to a letter of demand or copyright infringement notice within 14 days after receiving the letter, whether you are guilty of the allegation or you are not directly responsible for the infringement. This is why proper understanding of the letter’s content is a must before even thinking of responding through email or phone call. Take your time knowing the details of the allegation, and consider seeking professional legal assistance if there are things you want to be clarified. Aside from asking legal advice from a solicitor, you may also get in touch with the letter sender directly through the hotline provided on the letter. This way you can easily get more information regarding the allegation against you as well as prevent any more serious consequences like litigation. Responding to a letter of claim immediately also lets you clear your name if ever you did not really commit the infringement.

So what should you do to stop receiving another copyright infringement notice?

  1. Stop downloading copyrighted materials. Yes, it is as simple as that. Most things you see online are owned by someone, and it is better off not to take something that’s not yours, unless you have already acquired permission from the rightful owner. However, there are also copyrighted materials that are made available by the copyright holders themselves through a Creative Commons License, which means you are actually free to make use of certain music and other creative materials online. Although there is this exception, it is still important to note that most free films you see online should not be really free and are still owned by people or entities, therefore you are most likely required to pay for downloading and/or sharing them.
  2. Check your internet connection usage. It is also important to know everyone who has access to your Wi-Fi connection to easily track the person/s responsible for any infringement, especially if you are very much aware that you haven’t really tried downloading or sharing copyrighted materials through your PC and other devices at home. You can check who accessing your wireless router by looking into its logs of connections, which most routers do have. You may also acquire assistance from your ISP in order to make sure that only you and your family or anyone in your household are the only ones accessing your internet connection, therefore not putting you at risk of any illegal downloading and other copyright infringement allegations.

These are just some of the basic precautionary measures you can do to stay away from letting a letter of claim turn into a TCYK LLC lawsuit.

Of Film Festivals, Creativity, and Copyrights

Movies with poor reviews do not necessarily give anyone the excuse to pirate them. Art is subjective and stealing is wrong. These are two truths that should be recalled when dealing with piracy. It is not wrong to share content as long as it doesn’t cross any copyright. Copyrighted materials are certified and protected, and owners have grounds for copyright infringement claim if necessary.

Film Festivals

The world constantly asks for innovation; that’s almost a rule. In film festivals, exploration and development meet. Storytellers who take risks with fresh ideas get to display their original work. It is where indie or independent artists show off their stories without political and commercial pressures, and restrictions.

Film festivals connect artists and audiences in several countries. It is a place where both established and emerging artists show documentary and dramatic films, innovative short films, cutting-edge media and art installations, and live music performances. It brings together the modern day’s most original storytellers and supports engaging programs for students and the community.

Every film festival welcomes distinguished artists and opens great opportunities for students and newcomers. Some movies are even directed by celebrities. For example, “The Company You Keep” was directed and starred by an American actor. This political thriller was well-crafted, and the creator skilfully directed a cast of talented actors. When this TCYK LLC film was pirated, copyright holders tracked the infringers to protect their rights.

Media Copyright Literacy

While you play other people’s intellectual property, it is essential to have a basic understanding of what is legal and ethical. Everyone should learn how to be a good digital citizen and get familiar with the copyright law and respect content creators and their original work.

Upon creation, any work is automatically copyright-protected. When your work is capable of copyright protection, it is likely that you own the copyright. However, copyright might belong to someone else if you have assigned or transferred your copyright in writing. Also, ideas cannot be protected unless it is made into its material expression like a painting, novel, or film. So it is important to transform your ideas in its material form.

Copyright protection applies to all formats whether it’s in print, online, or digital media. While there are organizations that protect freedom of expression and help people understand their rights and responsibilities around copyright law, there are also entities like the owners of the TCYK LLC film that are dedicated to protecting the rights of creators and content owners.

Only the original content holders have the exclusive right to the use of their work. It isn’t fair that other people commoditize from other people’s work without their consent. Copying and distributing others’ work without permission is copyright infringement, which means illegal distributors could be charged with a huge sum for damages.

Creativity is unique, and artists deserve all credits due to them. Some are too passionate about their craft that they don’t mind how their work is being used. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to all. Most creators need financial support to make and produce their work. Pirating does not help them in any way.

Ways to Overcome Copyright Problems

In this age of instant communication, more and more ideas are being born and products created than ever before. With the current entrepreneurial trend, new business owners are creating never-before-seen content and services in order to better the world. With so much going on, it can be easy to create something that copies another person a little too closely. Luckily, there are several steps that can be taken to overcome copyright issues.

1. Get permission from the original owner.

When it comes to using copyrighted content, the only legal way to make use of the content is to contact the original owner and ask for permission. In the event this is impossible, there are websites like Creative Commons that offer royalty-free image and audio files that are free for commercial use.

2. Trademark and copyright your own content.

If you create something you intend to turn into a business or revenue stream, it is important to obtain legal rights to it. While it may be your intellectual property, you cannot prevent someone from creating a similar idea and starting a business based on it. It’s important to trademark and copyright your ideas in order to protect them.

3. Obtain a legal copyright.

Intellectual property can be copyrighted by simply putting the copyright symbol in front of it with your name. However, the Copyright Act covers certain topics that are not so easy to claim ownership of, including architectural and choreographic works. Speaking to a copyright lawyer is the way to go to properly claim ownership of your own work and prevent illegal copying of it.

4. Trademark your property.

A trademark differs from a copyright primarily in the things it protects. While a copyright is usually used to cover a creative work, trademarks are used to protect names, logos, symbols, and other corporate IPs. The process of trademarking a property is lengthy and complicated, so it’s best to consult professional help. You must first search to ensure no similar trademarks exist to the one you want to file; even if an existing trademark isn’t identical, one that is too similar can make it impossible for you file.

5. Remember: registration isn’t absolutely required.

Since 1978, there has been no formal requirement in the United States for copyrighted work to bear the copyright symbol. A novel, for instance, is protected as soon as it is ‘saved’ in a word document. That said, registering the work offers certain protections that proprietary copyrighting does not. A person can only sue over copyright issue if their copyright is registered. The restitution a person may receive for damages will only count after the content is registered, not before.

While it may be an extra step, taking the time to copyright and trademark your property, whether intellectual or physical, can protect it in ways that claiming ownership cannot. Copyright issues can pose a number of problems for content creators or those who want to use content, but knowing how to overcome this problems before they arise can prevent a lot of headaches.

Copyright Infringement in the Digital World

Downloading files from the internet is not a crime, but if you download files for free which you usually have to pay for, then there’s a problem. The piracy issue occurs when the copyright owners do not get the amount that they are due.

Piracy is the illegal copying and selling of copyrighted materials, but the common misconception is that people don’t think it matters because no one gets hurt. In reality, the evolution of piracy from burning CDs and DVDs to digital copying has affected the global economy. Pirating a physical copy or streaming illegally affects the livelihood of artists too.

Pirated copies are not always great

Most of the time, illegal copies do not have the same quality as the legal content. A pirated movie may have been recorded on a camcorder at the back of a cinema, so the quality is poor. Its content may be grainy or black and white at some parts. Copies downloaded from the internet on the other hand may suddenly stop at some parts and the sound quality can be very quiet and muffled.

Easy digital access

Downloading directly from the computer has become popular among internet users primarily because of the ease of access. Even with the number of sites that offer legal downloads, there are still file-sharing networks that offer free access to copyrighted materials. And it’s sad that many are active in some form of piracy, either through streaming, downloading, or the old school style of buying counterfeit DVDs.

In any case, piracy costs the entertainment industry. It is stealing from the businesses involved in the art. People must remember that nothing is free. Pirate sites make money through subscription costs or advertising when a consumer streams illegal content. The operators of these sites earn from sharing copyrighted materials that they do not own and have no permission to distribute.

How to minimize the problem?

Having internet service providers get on board in helping fight piracy and detect copyright infringements has always been a struggle. It would require content holders to educate people and private entities to be responsible, make them understand the importance of copyright, and encourage them to support different ways to consume content legally like going to the cinema or subscribing to Netflix and other video-on-demand sites.

Piracy may not be easy to kill but it can be reduced. Besides, with all the latest technology coming out, we only need to keep up. Also, there are entities that help fight piracy with the use of software to detect copyright infringements.

How to Come Up With Your Best Legal Move for Copyright Cases

Whether you’re the alleged infringer or the copyright owner, calculating damages for a copyright infringement case is critical in determining your potential legal strategy. To analyse, the first thing to consider is if the pirated work has been registered with the copyright office. Registered works are afforded greater protection and these registration records can be found in a free online database. To access the copyright registration records, you need to go to the Copyright Office website.

Statutory and Actual Damages

Your best legal strategy is not only determined by the best copyright infringement software. Read on to know more about the types of calculated damages that could just help determine what works well for your case.

Statutory damages are often higher than actual damages and they are easier to calculate. So the majority of plaintiffs or content owners usually choose to pursue for statutory damages. For illegal filesharing cases for example, actual damages per pirated song may be around $1; however, statutory damages could go up to $20,000 or more.

Regardless of the actual damages suffered by the content owner, the amount of statutory damages is set by law. Each infringement usually range from $750 to $30,000, but damages for “innocent infringers” can go as low as $200 and up to $150,000 if the court determines that the defendant acted “wilfully”. The courts do not award damages outside this range and they consider the purpose of the infringing use, the value of the infringed work, and the infringer’s intent or state.

Aside from statutory damages, plaintiffs can also ask for attorney’s fees and if awarded, the infringer will owe them the total sum or part of the legal fees plus the fees of their own lawyer. Although attorney’s fees are awarded through the discretion of the court, unregistered copyright is never allowed to ask for attorney’s fees.

Plaintiffs pursue actual damages when their infringed work was not registered prior to the infringement. This type of damage is the calculable profit the infringer has gained from infringing the copyrights or monetary loss that the content owner has suffered.

Proper Analysis

Aside from getting a better understanding of the strength of your copyright infringement case, proper analysis of the potential damages plays an important role in determining a legal strategy. Calculating damages for copyright infringement is just one of the things involved in determining a person’s rights under the copyright law.

Most copyright cases do not go to trial and some defendants even choose to settle as the cost of a court case is already high, and added legal fees could possibly grow larger too. So, if you feel like your work has been infringed, talk to a copyright entity. They can help you identify the individual specifics that you will need to determine to come up with the best legal actions. Also, they use high-quality copyright infringement software to track pirates.

How Digital Technologies Improve Filmmaking

Breaking into the current film industry holds a greater challenge compared to classic filmmaking. The digital era has certainly catered to the universal passion of moviemakers for making motion pictures. Today, digital technology changed the way how movies are made. Digital filmmaking opened new opportunities and possibilities to filmmakers of both small indie films and big budget blockbuster films. This also includes the same way that copyright infringement software protects these films. Therefore, if you’re a filmmaker, whatever outcome or type of film you want to accomplish, you can play around using the latest technological advances.

Digital Vs. Traditional

In general, films are extremely flammable yet they are quite expensive. Directors have to look for major studios that could invest a big amount needed to produce a movie. As for digital filmmaking, the digital motion picture cameras may be expensive, but it is a significant investment.

Digital filmmaking is a type of filmmaking where you use digital cameras or a computer to create characters, environments and other extensive features. Digital storage has reduced and simplified the costs of making movies. Compared to films, storage in digital cameras cost less, lasts longer and is safer. Over a long period of time, films degrade and will actually decompose. Improper storage and protection may destroy the print of the film which ultimately results to losing classic movies forever.

The move from celluloid to digital has opened up huge opportunities for special effects resulting to the growth of fantasy movies and science fiction. Film characters are not limited to explore only our world. Now, filmmakers have the tools to visually depict imaginary worlds with digital technology. Movies feature computer generated imagery (CGI) while some combine both CGI and live action using revolutionary new motion-capture techniques. As a result, movie creations are more out of this world than ever.

As we’ve gone digital, the public’s movie experience has become a lot different. In the past, everyone was used to watching films without color. Each motion picture was black and white. But at present, anyone can enjoy a movie in full color with surround sound. They can even have a 3D experience if they choose to. The number of options given to every movie goer is just one of the things that prove that filmmaking has really improved.

Aside from the internet, the widespread use and application of digital technologies are shaping the future of film. At present, the way movies are consumed and distributed has also changed. People can stream or download the videos, and with video-on-demand services like Netflix, everyone can watch their favorite shows and movies whenever they like. Unfortunately, some people choose to share copyrighted materials without the owners’ permission, which is illegal. When you download a movie, you are stealing from the content owner’s compensation. So, content owners and their partners use copyright infringement software to detect any digital piracy.

What Are the Most Common Forms of Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to innovations of the mind, such as inventions, scholarly and creative works, patterns and marks, names and likenesses used in trade and business. All IP is protected by the various laws in existence locally, regionally nationally, and internationally. Laws exist for patents, trademarks, copyright, service marks, trade secrets and more.

What is a Patent?

A patent is an absolute right granted for an invention, which is a product or a method that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or proposes a new specialized solution to a problem. To obtain a patent, methodological information about the invention must be revealed to the public in a patent application. The process for obtaining a patent is complex. If you are interested in obtaining a patent, you should first visit this website: The US Patent and Trademark Office. Once you have begun to understand this process and the associated laws you can apply for a patent. However, keep in mind this is a complex process and using an attorney specializing in patents would be the best avenue to use.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal term used to illustrate the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Creations covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, films, computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, technical drawings, and more. Copyright is not a complex IP to apply for and most people can easily complete a form and submit their work. Be sure to visit the Copyright Office online to learn everything you need to apply for a copyright, including fees, what to submit, etc: US Copyright Office.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a sign which distinguishes between goods or services of one company from those of other companies. Trademarks are safeguarded by intellectual property rights. Trademark protection can be obtained through registration, by completing an application for registration via the trademark office and paying the required fees. The website is the same as for patents.

What is a Service Mark?

A service mark is a mark that distinguishes between services. Businesses use service marks to connect their services and differentiate them from other services in the same field. Service marks consist of letters, words, symbols, and other devices that help notify consumers about the origin or source of a particular service. Registration can be completed at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

What is a Trade Secret?

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) classifies a trade secret as: information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that produces independent economic value. These secrets are either tangible or impending, and generally are not known or easily discovered by other persons who might receive monetary value from its revelation or use; and is the focus of efforts that are logical under the conditions to preserve its secrecy. There are two basic situations in which acquiring the use of a trade secret is illegal. If a trade secret is acquired through illegal means or if through a breach of confidence then there is a legal standing for suit. Trade secrets may be obtained by lawful means such as private discovery, reverse engineering, and unintentional disclosure. The trade secret holder’s failure to take reasonable protective measures can allow this to occur. The misappropriation of trade secrets is considered a form of unfair competition. Reverse engineering is oftentimes restricted as found in computer programs.

What is Industrial Design?

An industrial design right is an intellectual property right that shields the visual design of objects that are not purely functional. An industrial design consists of the creation of a model, pattern or composition of a pattern or color, or permutation of a pattern and color in three-dimensional form containing aesthetic value. An industrial design can be a two- or three-dimensional prototype used to produce a product, industrial commodity or handicraft.

What is Trade Dress?

Trade dress is a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the illustration of a product or its packaging or the design of a building that signifies the origination of the product to consumers.

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a partial and that changes the purpose, such as to comment upon, disparage, or lampoon a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement.

Commentary and Criticism

If you are commenting upon or criticizing a copyrighted work a book review or any valid review, fair use principles allow you to replicate some of the work to accomplish your purposes.

These are the most common forms of intellectual property. If you decide that something you have created falls under one of the categories stated in this article, then you should look into registering the work or product. Be certain that what you are registering is not the same as what someone else has already registered.

How To Respond To Settlement Letters In Copyright Infringement Cases

Settlement letters are sent to particular internet subscribers who are identified to have infringed a copyrighted material. Also known as letter of demand (LOD), the letter is usually composed of the name of the infringer, IP address, and all the details about copyright infringement. First of all, getting a demand letter such as a TCYK letter more likely means that you did violate the law and the copyright enforcers have evidence to prove that you have infringed a copyrighted content. Second, it is not advisable to just ignore the letter as it could result to serious legal consequences. So, when you get a demand letter, respond to it. In every illegal download case, ask about the situation or what the letter means. If you ever find yourself as a “John Doe” defendant, here are a few practical tips that can help you in your defense in the lawsuit:

– Settlement amounts are usually negotiable. If you get a TCYK letter or any settlement letter, chances are you will be offered a settlement amount. The figure may be changed depending on your approach or how you attempt to negotiate. So, it would not hurt to try especially if you really did it.

– Among the copyrighted materials that you can possibly pirate, porn bears the most embarrassment and it involves more risks so find a way to settle quickly. Don’t waste your time delaying the case. It is best to make it go away the minute it’s presented to you.

– Do not fight a subpoena. Doing so could only expose your identity. Copyright infringement is not something that you could just take for granted. You need to protect your own identification and avoid a potential scandal that will not help you in any way in your life.

– Fighting a case could lead to more expensive costs compared to every negotiated settlement. Besides the hassle that can be expected in a lawsuit, there are legal fees that you need to consider should you decide to fight a case. You may get a total that could have been avoided if you just settle.

As provided by copyright law, a copyright grants a creator exclusive rights to the distribution or reproduction of his original work. There may be exceptions but initially, the creator owns the copyright of their created work. It would be good if people have a better understanding of how creators such as those in the entertainment industry come up with works of art. But in the meantime, they should focus on how to respond to a letter of demand.

Basics of Navigating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”)

Due to the proliferation of the Internet, social media platforms, and hosting websites, online service providers have often become unwitting hosts to materials that may potentially infringe on the copyrights of another. Likewise, original content creators have also increasingly found themselves to be targets of unjustified DMCA takedown requests. Sometimes these takedown requests are made for anti-competitive or harassing purposes by competitors of the website operator.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a safe harbor in certain circumstances for website operators, who host materials submitted by third parties that may infringe the copyrights of others. If the copyright owner provides a take down notice in compliance with the requirements of the DMCA and the website operator timely complies with its obligations under the DMCA, it may be shielded from liability for copyright infringement. The website operator can adopt and post a copyright policy to facilitate DMCA compliance. A sample copyright policy is below, which requests that a takedown notice including at least the following information:

  • A detailed description of the copyrighted work you believe is being infringed upon description of the location of where the alleged infringing content appears;
  • Your contact information (including name, address, telephone number, and email address);
  • A statement that you have a good faith belief that the alleged infringing use is not authorized by you as the copyright owner, your agent, or by law;
  • A statement affirming that, under penalty of perjury, the information in the notice is accurate and that you are indeed authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner; and
  • An original signature of the copyright owner or someone authorized on the owner’s behalf to assert infringement of the copyright as well as to submit the claim.

In addition to the policy, the website operator should register an agent with the United States Copyright Office.

While the above identifies a number of eCommerce and internet law issues affecting compliance with the DMCA, an in-depth analysis may be required. For example, the timeliness requirement for the take down has been a hot litigation topic lately. Additionally, the DMCA applies to copyrights only, and does not currently provide a safe harbor for trademark infringement or patent infringement claims. These type of claims stemming from users of the website can be addressed in the Terms of Use or other website agreement between the website operator and its users.

Ensuring That You Own Your Content’s Copyright

You have been a prolific writer for your business for a long time and, of course, just like all other writers, you use sources to back up the facts that you write in your content. Of course, there is no reason for you to assume anything other than the fact that you own the copyright of all of the content that you are writing.

Sometimes the line is obscured

If you own the copyright on specific content (including graphics, videos, etc), that means that you can do anything that you wish with that content. After all, it belongs to you. On the other hand, if someone else owns the copyright on the content, you are severely limited from doing what you want with that content. That means that you can’t recycle the content and use it over and over again, you can allow other people to post the content on their websites (for increased exposure and a wider reach), and you can’t touch the images (making them smaller, larger, wider, narrower). Your hands are tied in that case. However, you may not always understand when it is appropriate (legally and ethically) to alter the content in any way and when you really need to be hands off.

You probably have an accurate sense that you can’t just find a graphic image online, copy it, and embed it in your content. That is just common sense. If you use any portion of someone else’s content (words), you probably realize that you must give the author credit for what he or she has written. However, the copyright goes far beyond that. It is extremely important for you to understand the basics of copyright and how that applies to you and to your business. If you don’t pay attention to what you are allowed and not allowed to do, you may get yourself into trouble (legally and financially speaking). There are some concepts that will benefit you if you at least have a working knowledge of them. Hopefully, they will not actually apply to you at any time but being aware is very important for you.

  • Have a licensing agreement, including an invoice: That is an invoice from the person who owns the copyright. If you plan to use material of which someone else owns the copyright, you will probably need to pay that person (or that entity) some money. There may be rare occasions in which the person or entity will not charge you money but you need to have a written agreement between you so that you don’t get into trouble.
  • Lawsuit as a result of copyright infringement: This is a lawsuit that occurs in a federal court. The person or entity doing the suing is the owner of the copyright. The lawsuit will make demands, such as your eliminating all of the copyrighted material from wherever you have posted it online. You will also (most likely) be expected to pay some amount of money (damages) and there is also the potential that you will be asked to pay the lawyers’ fees.
  • Cease-and-desist communication: This is a communication (usually in the form of a letter) from the person who owns the copyright telling you that you must delete their content from wherever you have posted it.
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice: This is a notice that refers to the act on behalf of the copyright owner. It is sent to your web hosting service. It will insist that your web hosting service disables any access to wherever the copyrighted content appears.

The disturbing thing about this situation is that, depending on the whim of the copyright owner, you may end up paying in any number of ways. It might be minor but it might be major as well. You may be notified of the copyright violation in stages. If you respond immediately after you receive the first notice, you may get lucky and after doing whatever is demanded of you, that will be the end of it, as long as you never do it again. However, if you continue, the consequences will probably get more and more severe. You will need to tread lightly in this situation and do whatever you need to do quickly if you want to escape relatively unscathed.

Educate yourself about your rights

When you first write a piece of content, you need to make sure that you take all measures to ensure that you never run into these types of problems that are described above. If you don’t happen to be the one creating the content, you need to make sure that you get the other person to assign copyright ownership to you. It is critical that you have it in writing. The best thing to do is to have a written contract between you and the other person. Hopefully, in that case, there will be no question about anything. If you want the creator to be able to benefit from the content, it is safest to put that into the contract as well. The sorts of things that you will want to put into the contract are: exactly what is being created, how revisions are handled, deadlines and consequences if those deadlines are not met, the payment schedule, who will own the copyright, and who will be responsible for the consequences if the copyright is violated. If you have a long-term relationship with that person, you will probably find that you will need to revise your contract over time.

Conclusion

Copyright ownership may not have been something that you thought about very often (or at all); however, you need to have it in mind all of the time and be cognizant of doing the right thing. If you don’t, the consequences will probably not be pleasant. You need to protect your reputation and your bank account at all times. Copyright laws are very complicated and you may not even realize that you are violating any of those laws. However, you need to be aware of what you are doing and make sure that you don’t continue to violate any copyright laws. Interestingly, there are a few situations in which you don’t need to get permission from the copyright owner of the content. You should do the research and determine when those rules apply, which will ease the burden a little bit. Undoubtedly, you were not aware that you were doing anything wrong. However, once you are aware, you need to make sure that you do everything by the book.