In today's online world we often have clients contacting us asking what they can do when their webpage, images or online content has been copied and re-used by someone.
This article discusses the law and your options.
What is copyright?
Copyright is the right held by a creator – the copyright owner – to control how their material is used or to prevent others from copying it. Copyright can be in relation to original literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other works (such as a computer program and architectural plans).
Can what I write on my website and the images I upload be subject to copyright?
Yes, if they are original.
What is original has been considered by the Courts and seeking legal advice is the best way to know if copyright exists in your work.
Do I have to register my copyright?
No, not in Australia.
Copyright is different to Trade Marks (which are brands, logos, product names and business names etc) which should be registered.
What do I do if someone has copied aspects of my webpage?
Contact a lawyer to see if your copyright has been infringed.
If so, the first step is to send a letter of demand requiring the person to remove the copyright content, provide undertakings not to do it again and in some cases seeking damages.
If you do not get a result from a letter of demand, Court proceedings can then be filed.
If your work residing online has been copied without your permission, there are usually legal options available to you.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. Madgwicks is a member of Meritas, one of the world's largest law firm alliances.