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Online intellectual property rights: Copyright infringement

As the digital world continues to grow, so do the risks of having your intellectual property rights infringed upon online. The internet has made it easier than ever for copyright infringement to take place. Read on for information about online copyright infringement.

What is intellectual property? 

Intellectual property is an idea or product that belongs to an individual and is legally protected from unauthorized use by others. Whether it’s a new invention, a book, a logo or a song, intellectual property refers to many different types of creations. In the United States, intellectual property rights are established by patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets laws. This means that inventors, authors, entrepreneurs and businesses all have exclusive rights to certain products of the human intellect. Disputes involving intellectual property have become more and more complex in recent years as our society shifts to a more digital landscape.  

What is copyright infringement? 

Copyright is an exclusive right granted by the United States Copyright Office to authors and artists to protect their original works. This right gives creators control over how their work is used and disseminated. Copyright infringement occurs when someone other than the copyright holder violates these exclusive rights. For instance, if a graphic designer creates a logo for a company, it is copyrighted. If another company then uses this logo without the designer’s permission or authorization, it would be infringing on the designer’s intellectual property rights.  

Copyright infringement can take many forms, but all involve using someone else’s work without their permission or legal authorization. For example, if a software engineer is hired to create a new program, they own the copyright until they sell the rights to the company. If the company does not pay them for their work and uses the program without proper compensation to the creator, they are violating copyright and exclusive rights.

Digital copyright disputes can also arise when a third party makes unauthorized changes to a protected work. For example, if a website designer creates a website and a third party modifies it without permission, they would be violating United States copyright laws and infringing on the designer’s exclusive rights.

What are the consequences of copyright infringement?  

The United States is one of the countries with the most stringent laws when it comes to protecting intellectual property rights. Those who violate intellectual property laws can face civil and criminal penalties. Therefore, if you are found to be infringing upon someone else’s copyright, you could be liable for significant damages. Even if you illegally possess copyrighted work on your phone or laptop, you could even have your technology confiscated.