Received a letter about infringement of copyright?
If you have received a letter regarding infringement of copyright, please read on for advice.
What is Copyright Infringement?
Copyright is infringed when someone carries out any of the acts restricted by copyright without permission of the rights holder, whether in respect of the whole or a substantial part of the work. The Copyright Designs and Patents Act of 1988 outlines copyright law in the UK.
The rights holder of copyright-protected work has the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the following acts (also known as economic rights):
Reproduction, distribution, rental and lending, public performance, communication to the public by electronic transmission including broadcasting, and adaptation.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation provides more information on intellectual property.
What is the IPEC?
The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) handles cases relating to intellectual property disputes, including copyright and other intellectual property rights.
The IPEC supports individuals as well as small and medium sized enterprises involved in intellectual property disputes. Visit the Courts and Tribunals webpage for more information.
Detailed information can be found in the IPEC Court Guide and the guide to Small Claims.
Distributing copyright protected work over the internet via BitTorrent networks is a crime. Where loss has been suffered by the owner of the work, the rights holder may seek to gain compensation.
What to do if you have received a letter regarding alleged copyright infringement
You should immediately contact your legal counsel or a solicitor who will be able to advise on civil procedure and timeframes in which you are to respond to any claim for damages.
You may also contact the Citizens Advice Bureau by visiting their website or calling 03454 04 05 06, or 03454 04 05 05 for the Welsh-speaking service.
To avoid a summary default judgment being awarded against you it is advisable not to ignore these notices.
If you believe someone is using your internet connection to commit a crime
In the first instance you should contact your local police service or Trading Standards.
You can also report crime anonymously by visiting the Crimestoppers website or by calling 0800 555 111.