Safe Harbor Provisions for Copyright Infringement

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Copyright infringement is easy to accomplish in the age of the computer and electronics. However, finding a safe haven through various provisions and stipulations is necessary for many that are wading through the various copyright protections so that they are able to remain safe from violations, infringements and breaking Internet Service Provider contracts.

Protecting the transactions of a private citizen from possible violations due to user-based content is often difficult when the information downloaded or acquired is safeguarded through intellectual property protections such as copyrights and trademarks. If someone does obtain these items, he or she could be open to liability for damages or paying out monetary compensation to the owner of the intellectual property. If the individual has posted these items on his or her website, it is important to heed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and remove the content when the owner has specified. If the violation occurs or has not been resolved, the site owner or creator could face civil action.

There are other ways that may cause a violation for someone that has violated copyright laws, but most persons are provided a warning before they are affected by the consequences. This means that someone downloading, buying or flaunting material that has a copyright or trademark attached to it is given an opportunity to cease and desist the action before he or she may face infringement or violation actions by the owner. Additionally, there are safe-harbor provisions that may shield the person from litigation when facing infringements. This generally is available for those that do adhere to takedown procedures, have no prior knowledge of violations occurring due to content and follow other protocols.

DMCA and Violations

In order to know what safe harbor provisions are and why they are needed, a person should research how violations occur and what the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is. When someone has obtained copyright material, he or she could have done so legitimately. However, if he or she then shares this information with others, a violation occurs because the individual must obtain permission from the owner or license owner. This means if the data is online, his or her website could be shut down. If the violation is egregious, he or she could be facing civil court proceedings for fines or compensatory payouts to the copyright owner.

DMCA violations often happen through sharing files, video, pictures and books online. This could be through downloading them to the computer, copying them from a website or with a source that has proper copyright permission or similar events. It is usually only when the items are reproduced, sold or shared with others by not acquiring permission that the DMCA violation occurs. By complying with safe harbor provisions, it is possible to avoid liability for these infringements. Sometimes, this means asking the authority what is necessary to prevent complications. It is important to comply with the law so that these incidents do less harm than they could.

Safe Harbor Provisions Explained

Materials posted on a blog, through an article, on a website or in the content found in pages could be at the direction of someone specific. This means there could be a video clip, photo, audio file or similar item posted by a user in a comment section or in a forum. The safe harbor provision in this instance provides that the owner of the website is not held liable for monetary damages when infringements of copyright occur at the direction of such a user in this manner. However, the owner of the website cannot know of the infringement, have an understanding of the surrounding data that could make the violation obvious, was not provided funds for the activity and acted quickly to remove the content or disable any access to the information.

Another safe harbor provision explains that links that provide material to other locations may not constitute as infringement. This means that if the link is embedded in text, has an online location for elsewhere, refers to a link or directs someone through a directory are all permitted on a website. The same requirements apply as the first safe harbor provisions in dealing with the issue.

Safe Harbor Legal Help

If a violation does occur and the matter is taken to court, the person being accused should hire a lawyer immediately and explain the issue. This means that there should be all requirements met for safe harbor provisions to apply and prevent monetary damages being paid to the copyright owner.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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