Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Remedies For Small Copyright Claims In United States

The costs and time of litigating a copyright or trademark violation case in a traditional court is deterrent sufficient enough to avoid the same. This is the reason that a majority of such copyright or trademark violation cases go unreported.

The Unites States Copyright office has started a public discussion and opinion gathering exercise regarding providing remedies for small copyright claims in US. The purpose of this exercise is to empower copyright holders of small claims to enforce their copyright rights effectively and adequately.

Of late, US based websites and companies are increasingly found in legal battles in US and other jurisdictions. For instance, Google and Facebook are already facing criminal trail in India. Similarly, a recent news report suggested that Wordpress should be blocked in India for not following Indian laws.

This is a clear sign that US policy towards foreign IP enforcement needs to be changed. If US websites and companies keep on ignoring Indian intellectual property (IP) laws and cyber law, draconian laws like SOPA and PIPA can be imposed upon them. Even trademark issues in the online environment are required to be tackled by US government. If these US websites and companies keep on ignoring Indian laws and if nothing works, Indian government can and should block such offending websites in India.

Many US websites and companies are not following the requirement of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 1998 (DMCA) that confers a “safe harbour” protection upon them. In the absence of meeting the DMCA requirements, these websites and companies cannot claim immunity from civil and criminal proceedings.

Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have provided their suggestions to the US Copyright Office regarding remedies for small copyright claims in US. These suggestions recommended adequate compliance with DMCA requirements by US websites and companies, sufficient compliance with DMCA notice conditions, appointment of DMCA agents, registration of DMCA agents with US Copyright Office, etc.

Further, Perry4Law and PTLB have also recommended scrutinizing the role of online advertisement companies that provide their advertisements upon copyright infringing materials. Another suggestion pertains to analysing the feasibility of demand of companies like Google to file a court case to continue to remove copyright offending materials by it upon its platforms and advertisement programs.

We hope the US Copyright Office would find these suggestions useful and would incorporate the same in any new policy, guideline, rules or legislations intending to protect then interests of small copyright and trademark claims makers and their owners.