Did you hear that Katy Perry allegedly stole parts of her hit song “Dark Horse”?
According to the original writer, she stole a section of her song from his. The copyright claim ended with Perry paying over $2.7 million to the LA rapper.
Top stars like Katy Perry and Lizzo aren’t immune to these types of lawsuits, and neither are you. It’s necessary to learn about the defenses to copyright infringement claims.
And, you need to do so before you’re hit with a lawsuit.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to survive the 21st century unscathed.
1. Fair Use Doctrine
Copyright laws are strict, but there are times creators can use copyrighted work. Here’s when the fair use doctrine applies to your work:
- The purpose of your work is for criticizing the original work
- Your purpose is to comment on the original work
- You are a journalist who is reporting the news
- The work is an educational resource
- The copyrighted work gets used as research
It’s lawful for the public to share portions of copyrighted material for some reasons. The fair use doctrine is the most common defense strategy.
2. Statute of Limitations Defense
The law is clear — you only have a limited time to pursue certain lawsuits.
Copyright infringement claims all have a statute of limitations. If the plaintiff waits too long to bring a claim against you, then they may not have a claim at all.
This type of defense won’t work if the time limit hasn’t expired yet. It also won’t be effective if the plaintiff claims on-going infringement.
3. Independent Creation
Are you creating all your material yourself? Do you believe your material is completely original? If you don’t have knowledge of the copyrighted work, then you may be able to use this defense.
Independent creation applies when you couldn’t have known about the copyrighted work. To prove this, you may need to submit some evidence. Here are a few examples:
- Dated journal entries with brainstormed ideas
- Proof the copyrighted work became public after you created your work
- Initial recordings or practice sections
Put each piece of evidence in a folder, and label it with exhibit stickers. This will come in handy if a lawsuit pops up in the future.
4. Innocent Infringement
Innocent infringement is like independent creation. This defense applies when you had no reason to know the work was copyright protected.
You likely used the work with the good faith belief that the use was legal and fair.
Often, you may think your work’s protected under fair use only to discover later that it’s not. If this happens, you’ll likely get charged with innocent infringement.
That means you did infringe on the copyright, but you didn’t do it on purpose. If your defense is successful, then you likely won’t have to pay damages.
Top Defenses to Copyright Infringement Claims
Being a young leader means taking charge of yourself and your business. Preparing for potential litigation is an important step in protecting your company.
Bookmark these defenses to copyright infringement claims because you may need them later!
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