In the era of digital technology, the Internet use remains the most comfortable, efficient and fastest way to transfer information, including the purposes of business development and communication arrangements. Intellectual property includes a fairly extensive list of rights that need to be protected. Such items include copyrights, digital content, patents and trademarks, trade (commercial) secrets. In the modern world, intellectual property is considered to be the most valuable intangible asset that allows to increase the real value of companies, create new development mechanisms and increase the competitiveness of the offered goods and/or services.
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List of Intellectual Property Items on the Internet that Require Protection
At the moment the existing methods of data protection remain incomplete and imperfect, which allows fraudsters and malefactors to use other people’s inventions, works and developments. Why do we touch upon the topic of the Internet? The easiest way to promote a service or a content is via the network. The same refers to infringing copyright and other IP rights. In order to avoid misuse of the intellectual property items on the Internet, it is necessary to take timely measures to protect them, as well as to develop the methods to combat violators.
The main types of IP items on the Internet include the following:
- audio materials, including audio books and phonograms, as well as individual elements of songs, albums and books;
- video content: clips, commercials, studio video recordings, concerts, works of cinema;
- research, development, surveys;
- prototypes, models, blueprints and full-fledges inventions;
- digital and text content (including articles, texts, instructions, encyclopedias, manuals, etc.);
- results of efforts of designers and artists: paintings, photos, images;
- corporate logos and other attributes: corporate identity, slogans, mottos;
- software and derivatives: source codes of sites, applications, software development and games (computer/mobile).
Contemporary environment implies the possibility to convert virtually any intellectual property rights into digital format with subsequent use on the Internet, so the issue of protection is particularly acute for large companies and corporations. Today we will consider the proper protection of your own IP items from misuse, and what rules should be followed to prevent fraudulent and illegal actions with your IP items on the Internet.
Copyright items include original works with exclusive rights of the author to distribute, reproduce, transmit them, including tangible fixed media. In order to protect such an IP item, the work of authorship must be creative, but it must not contain exclusively publicly available information. It is also particularly important to take into account that author’s content is often linked to websites where articles and books, photos and illustrations, blogs, video clips and videos, music are published and/or posted. In any case, the author remains the creator of content using the Internet as a mass medium.
With regard to disputes and ways of protecting such intellectual property items, it is important to know the following:
- You can avoid responsibility for such a violation by immediately deleting or promptly blocking access to such materials (this can be done by the website operator, owner or the Internet services provider);
- The copyright holder must submit a notice of removal with a reasonable request to remove such content;
- The reason for this situation is a full identification of the violation, submitted by an authorized person or the copyright holder;
- in controversial cases, the content owner may use several legal mechanisms such as monetary compensation as compensation for damages to the IP item author, special compensation in case of intentional violation of rights and/or injunctive relief issued by court.
However, protection of the intellectual property items often involves fair use. This is the most important part of copyright protection for digitized publications on the Internet, which may take the form of citations, publication of a reference to the original source, any other formats of using the item in a reasonable and limited measure.
Here it is important to note that the more commercial goals the author’s work has, the less chance the content has for fair use. In order to determine the ways of protecting such an IP item, it is necessary to study its purpose and nature, as well as the volume of the author’s work applied, the economic effect of such actions.
As for technical methods of protection, access to copyright, software and other intellectual property items can be restricted. For example, one can install applications that give access only to a specific user or device.
Along with publications, books and other items of copyright, software is most often subjected to serious illegal actions and can create complicated issues with commercial items. Another question, if the buyer of such a product uses a copy of it, in this case the rights are not violated, and the number of copies may be unlimited (for example, albums recorded on CDs). But in this case, the software and applications will not be a copy, but an implied copyright license agreement. At the moment it is quite common to download software from the Internet, so the licensing model has consolidated its position.
As for protection of such IP items, the following measures will be helpful:
- assigning responsibility for such rights to online service providers;
- development of rules for publication and protection when managing the IP item;
- prohibition to bypass technological measures used to protect the items.
Here we note that the responsibility of network service providers is regulated by the most important obligation, to notify the copyright holder and remove the item. That is, the supplier must identify the IP item owner and send a notification of possible violations to another service provider. In this case, informing the infringing party includes the following data:
- contacts of the copyright holder filing the claim;
- a description of the item the rights to which were violated by third parties;
- a claim of rights violation in the form of publication of protected material without any notification sent to the owner;
- signature of the agent filing the complaint;
- a statement about the illegality of the infringer actions or about the absence of fair use of the material;
- confirmation of the complaining party rights to represent the interests of the author.
In addition to that, extra operational requirements should be monitored, that the service provider must meet to protect the intellectual property item. Also, suppliers may not interfere with the development of technical restrictions or undermine the effectiveness of protective measures.
If we talk about large-scale violations that are known to the world as “piracy”, here the main form of protection is control of access to information. The standard measures look like this. The user side requests access, the IP item owner allows or rejects it. The system tracks the identity of the user, data objects and privileges, and then approves or rejects the service request.
Our consulting assistance will allow you to protect your own intellectual property and develop the mechanisms to combat violations in cases of its illegal use.
Other Ways to Protect IP Items on the Internet
There should be a clear distinction between two key methods of protecting IP rights, i.e. technical and legal, which provides for legal proceedings against infringers at the legal level. Earlier we mentioned certain technical methods, but depending on the type of your intellectual property item you can use additional means. For example:
- for software, audio, video content, applications and projects: demo versions with limited access;
- for audio and video files, cut-back versions are also a means of protection to prevent theft;
- presence of a physical key will not allow the use of the product, including in a limited version;
- DRM protection makes it much more difficult to copy different developments and content;
- watermarks are a good way to avoid misuse of your intellectual property by third parties (the mark indicates the owner or author of the work).
While technical methods of IP protection on the Internet can be bypassed by special programs and tools, not every infringer can overcome legal mechanisms. It should also be taken into account that measures of technical nature are not always comfortable for legal users and target audience, so it is important to gain support at the level of laws. Together, these tools will allow you to avoid actions of malefactors and stealing of author’s works.
The list of legal means of the intellectual property items protection includes:
- user agreement that provides for the prohibition to use materials without the consent and/or notification of the copyright holder;
- a special warning that copyrights are officially protected, and any redistribution, copying or publication is considered “piracy”;
- registration of intellectual property rights with obtaining patents, licenses and other official documents;
- introduction of provisions considering certain parts of the web-site (or the entire web resource) into the user agreement as IP items.
In many countries of Europe, the U.S. and Asia, owners of large corporations prefer to establish intellectual property holdings to protect their most valuable intangible assets. For more information on IP holdings, their basis for IP rights protection, please see our articles on the portal.
How Should I Deal with Copyright Infringement of the IP Items on the Internet?
Each copyright holder has two ways they can start using separately or together: the independent filing of a complaint against the infringer and the trial that begins with filing of a claim. Before filing a claim of copyright infringement with the court, you can try to enter into agreement, i.e. to contact the infringer, provide information confirming the illegal actions and make a request to remove or block the content and/or file, etc.
When filing a complaint, the IP rights holder is obliged to prove that the item is in their ownership and can not be sold, transferred, published by third parties. If the infringer is a client of the service provider, the complaint should also be sent to them. Let’s say frankly that such methods are seldom effective, because here the emphasis is solely on honesty and decency.
As legal practice shows, such qualities are little inherent in standard “pirates,” especially when there is an economic interest (to benefit from such violations). Therefore, a more effective way to protect your intellectual property items on the Internet remains legal settlement of the issue, i.e. in court. In this case, the owner or author must provide detailed information about the infringer, the domain, the circumstances of finding out such a fact, as well as prove their rights to the IP item. In addition, the claimant presents their demands and claims in writing, and the amount of compensation, if necessary.
Should you need expert assistance in protecting your IP items, please email us at email@example.com. Our qualified lawyers fully support the legal process related to the infringement of IP rights of any kind, from patents and trademarks to software, models, slogans, copyright content.