Copyright infringement refers to the act of using copyrighted works without the authority of the owner thus infringing their rights to reproduce or distribute the material (Campbell and Cotter 24). The intellectual owner of any material has a right to reproduce the work, distribute it, display it publicly, and to perform the work publicly.
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According to the law, any person who violates any of these rights is an infringer and is liable for infringement. Copyright infringement is a criminal act that attracts severe punishment under the law (Campbell and Cotter 24).
Several ways could be used to pursue legal action against an international business that has committed copyright infringement or stolen a patent. These include pursuing legal action in a federal court or filing a case with the department of justice (Achilles 45).
The first thing to do after copyright infringement or after a patent has been stolen is to seek assistance from a copyright attorney for available legal options. A victim should then contact law enforcement agencies in order for them to investigate the case. For example, in America, two divisions of FBI investigate all cases linked to intellectual property crimes.
These are the Cyber Division, and the Financial Institution Fraud Unit. After investigations, a victim then files a case in a court of law after referral from a law enforcement agency (Achilles 46). The court then assesses the evidence presented by law enforcement agencies and makes a ruling.
In most cases, federal courts give the infringer and the victim an opportunity to settle the case out of court. Such cases last for a period of up to one year and cost a lot of money to conclude. Most victims prefer an out-of-court settlement because it does not involve any litigation costs.
A second option is to contact the department of justice (Achilles 46). For Example, the United States Department of Justice runs the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), which deals with cases of intellectual property infringement (Achilles 47).
The department provides guidelines as to what constitutes criminal copyright violations, and defines crimes as either felony or a misdemeanor. In addition, the department determines when to charge infringers and the degree of punishment to be awarded. The department conducts its own investigations and prosecutes the infringer.
The process is stressful because a ruling is made only after the department has ascertained that copyright infringement occurred or a patent was stolen. This may take a couple of months or several years to conclude.
Copyright infringement and patent theft pose great risks to both businesses and individuals. In such cases, U.S businesses would shy away from conducting business in foreign countries that have cases of copyright infringement. Some countries lack stringent laws that protect individuals and businesses from copyright infringement.
Therefore, most businesses would stop their operations in such countries. In addition, it would force some businesses to change their business model in order to discourage such acts. This would lead to extra expenses that could affect the effectiveness and efficiency of a business’s operations.
Other business would withdraw completely and stop their operations from that country if the infringement causes serious damages such as collapse of the business or great losses in legal suits.
Copyright infringement lawsuits are usually expensive and time consuming (Fishman 53). Many businesses would try as much as possible to avoid such lawsuits because of their negative effects on business operations.
Achilles, Sabine. Law Enforcement in Copyright Infringement Cases. New York: GRIN Verlag, 2003. Print.
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Campbell, Dennis, and Cotter Susan. Copyright Infringement. New York: Kluwer Law International, 1998. Print.
Fishman, Stephen. The Copyright Handbook. New York: Nolo, 2011. Print.