No one likes bullies. Who doesn’t remember the school bully picking on someone on the playground? Unfortunately, bullies can be found outside of the school playground. They exist everywhere, even when it comes to copyright laws. Copyright laws are set in place to protect others from infringing on an individual’s original work. However, what happens when an individual or company wrongfully accuses you or your business of infringing on their copyright? Sometimes competitors will purposefully accuse a business of infringing on their copyright in an attempt to steal the business’ work as their own or in an effort to sabotage their competition. How can they do this?
It all comes down to attacking first. Usually “bully businesses” target fledgling competitor companies. Small, start-up companies are easy prey. They are just starting out with limited funds. The last thing a start-up company wants to worry about is a copyright infringement lawsuit.
How can a business fight back against bully competitors? Well in the case that a business is slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit, the business has three options. The business can ignore lawsuit, let the court rule in favor of the bully competitor and award the plaintiff (bully competitor). This is the least favored business option. The two other options are the business can try to settle with the plaintiff or the business can fight the lawsuit in court. In either of these last two options it is best to hire a good copyright attorney.
Sometimes bully companies need not resort to lawsuits to successfully attack another competitor with infringement of copyrights. With today’s cyber world, bully companies need only to file a claim with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act against a business to successfully sabotage the business online. When a claim in filed with the DMCA, the DMCA will demand the online publisher of the content page to takedown the user-posted content. The online publisher usually promptly removes content to avoid being involved in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Section 512 of the DMCA provides immunity to online publishers as long as their enforcement steps are followed. Regardless of whether the business is innocent of infringement or not, the DMCA will require the content suspended for usually two weeks while investigating. Bully businesses will do this dirty trick in an effort to sabotage their competitors.
Unfortunately, bullies are still taking advantage of innocent parties. Bullies have now grown up from the playgrounds and are using copyright over enforcement tactics to harass their newest targets.