How to Defend Against Copyright Infringement Claims by Copyright Trolls?

BlogCopyrightIntellectual Property Rights    January 8, 2020
Copyright Infringement Posted On

Under Copyright Law, all those who participate in displaying or distributing the unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work is liable to infringement. With this rule, and the ease to copy things online, and increasingly, the ease of finding such copies, the vulnerabilities to get hit by copyright trolls have increased manifold.

Copyright Troll

It is a term used to represent copyright owners who threaten litigation over the use of their copyrighted content to extract extreme license fees. The tactic, in common, is based on provisions for awards of Intellectual Property (IP) Attorneys‘ fees and statutory damages to successful plaintiffs in the copyright infringement lawsuit, which can result in damages many times higher than the typical license fees. In general, the step-wise process of copyright trolling includes finding the copyrighted content online, sending license fee demands, and then processing payments. Note that although the allegations of infringement and demands for fees by copyright trolls are invalid in many cases, still ignoring them isn’t safe at all. As many reports show that almost every business with a website is vulnerable to copyright trolling, it is crucial to deal with the demands from copyright trolls promptly and appropriately.

More important, website owners and internet surfers should take measures to keep themselves away from Copyright Infringement claims in the first place. Here’re the steps that can help them in doing so.

Steps to Avoid Being Hit by Copyright Trolls

  1. Never Assume That Any Content Online Is Free to Use

A commonly held but false assumption is that the content found online is available for everyone to use. Nonetheless, the reality is a bit different. In reality, almost all content online is protected under copyright rights, and therefore, one who wants to use it always need permission to do so. It is true for all users, whether they are using the content for commercial business or as a non-profit entity. Although the copyright owners charge comparatively lesser license fees to non-profits than commercial businesses, they are entitled to demand compensation for their work’s unauthorized use from all users.

  1. Don’t Assume That Your Unauthorized Use Would Qualify As Fair Use

The concept of Fair Use doesn’t correlate to the normal concept of what is fair. Moreover, the rules for what will qualify are not easy. While the fair use concept can apply to certain educational, editorial, and non-commercial use, it doesn’t mean that any non-profit or educational entity is free to use copyrighted works without the owners’ consent. Nor does it mean that giving credit to the owners will excuse the unauthorized use.  Fair use, in actual, is one of the difficult legal doctrines that demands looking at several factors to stay safe. Hence, if you are planning to go for Fair Use, be meticulous and proceed only after having precise information and under the supervision of deft IP lawyers.

  1. Get Permission from the Copyright Owner

If you want to use any photo available online, then it is better to utilize the information provided with the search results to find and contact the copyright owner who can grant permission to use that photo. Generally, it is the safest way to use a preferred image without facing issues. Adobe Stock, Getty Images, and Shutterstock are some of the reputable stock agencies that allow you to obtain creative content for various levels of licensing.

  1. Ensure Having Appropriate Contracts With Your Designer

If you are looking to get your site designed by a designer, don’t forget to have written contracts with him/her. The contract should include info that he/she has obtained permission for the use of any third-party content. It must also include a provision that you are not liable to any claim if the content used by the designer infringes upon anyone’s IP.

  1. Do not Ignore A Copyright Troll Demand

People often ignore the copyright troll demand, but it is not at all a good idea. Doing so can be dangerous. Hence, rather than ignoring the notice from copyright troll, you should take it seriously. On the other side, it would not be wise to pay the asserted fee without making efforts to know whether the claim is valid. Actually, in most cases, the claims are invalid, and even if they are valid, then the demanded fee may not be reasonable.

Therefore, before stepping ahead, you are recommended to evaluate the situation and determine the best strategy to respond to the demand you received from the copyright troll. As per many reports, finding an experienced lawyer who deals in Copyright Registration Processes, Copyright Infringement lawsuits, etc., is an excellent way to handle such situations. With a prompt rebuttal under the supervision of an adept copyright solicitor, you can get the claim removed or the monetary demand reduced. For more visit: 

Don’t forget to follow us on social media:

Facebook –

Twitter –

Linkedin –

Pinterest –

Tumblr –

leave a Comment