Although copyright is established when a creative idea takes form, it is very important to protect your intellectual property with clear phrasing and definitive terms.
Your intent must be easy to understand and every possible copyright issue addressed regarding the circumstances in which you permit your intellectual property to be displayed, reproduced or distributed.
It is important to note that nothing you write within your website offers you the protection that a registered copyright can provide. Within the USA, you can apply for copyright through the U.S. Copyright Office.
Outside of the U.S.A., consult your area directory for the copyright office for your country of residence.
ADVISORY TO READERS:: : : : : : : : : :
The examples provided herein are presented as a courtesy of R.I.G.H.T.S.
The examples are not meant to substitute for direct legal advice or counsel. We encourage you to seek the advice of a copyright, patent, or trademark attorney for assistance with these issues.
These suggested Terms may be modified to meet your own criteria.
CEASE AND DESIST LETTER - This is an example letter that may be sent to the site owner that is infringing upon your copyright.: : : : : : : : : :
It is important to keep a copy of the letter for future reference and in all the ensuing correspondence, always maintain a professional demeanor providing only the relevant details in a succinct and organized manner.
LETTER TO A SITE HOST - If the site owner that is infringing on your copyright does not comply with your initial contact, your next option is to contact the site host (the server which holds the directory that all the files are stored and made available online).
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The letter to the ISP or site host is called a Notice of Claimed Infringement. The ISP or site host may have a Interim Designation of Agent who accepts the Notice of Claimed Infringement.
Most domain hosts will act upon a Notice of Claimed Infringement in a timely manner because they want to honor copyright law in addition to protecting themselves from possible litigation.
For an ISP or host to qualify for safe harbor from litigation, they must "expeditiously" remove the infringing copyrighted material (per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act).
Hosts offering free web space are slower to act and have very specific requirements regarding proof of original copyright; please consult each host's own "terms of service" for their specific requirements to prove copyright ownership.
Be advised that hosts may require you to fax a statement of ownership (subject to perjury) bearing your signature in an effort to protect themselves from legal recourse resulting from the erroneous removal graphics or websites that may not be in copyright breach.
LETTER TO A COLLECTION SITE - Many artists, photographers, writers, musicians, and programmers find their work in an unauthorized collection or compilation site. These sites are created without the expressed permission of the copyright owners.
This example letter will explain why the use of your intellectual property within their site is illegal and will also act as a Cease and Desist notification.
The data contained within this site has been reviewed and edited by a copyright attorney. However, the information provided within the pages of R.I.G.H.T.S is not implied or direct legal advice. For all matters involving copyright, please consult an attorney.