What should you know about intellectual property theft?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2021 | White Collar Crime, white collar crimes

Business owners may need large amounts of content to help advertise their business or generate interest in a product. If people are not careful about where they get some of this content, they may find themselves facing allegations of intellectual property theft.

Intellectual property theft can take many different forms. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says that this offense includes taking inventions or ideas from other people. Additionally, people may face charges if they use song lyrics, images and quotations without permission. Using another company’s trade secrets is also a form of intellectual property theft.

When do people need permission?

If people want to use portions of someone else’s work, they usually need permission. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, business owners have to speak to the copyright owner before they can legally use copyrighted material. If people do not know who holds the copyright, they can generally search the records of the Copyright Office. Sometimes, the owner of copyrighted material may refuse to allow people to use certain pieces of content. In this case, people may face legal consequences if they use this material without permission.

The U.S. copyright statute does recognize the fair use of some materials. This means that people can use small portions of another person’s material without official permission. There are few guidelines determining how much material people can use without permission. If people want to use extensive amounts of another person’s work, they typically should not rely on fair use doctrines.

What happens if people do not have permission to use material?

Business owners may face legal consequences if they use content without permission. The copyright holder may sometimes file a lawsuit against the company for infringement. If there is evidence that people infringed on the copyright, they may sometimes have to pay damages. The amount of damages may increase if a court rules that the infringement was willful.

Allegations of intellectual property theft may have long-term consequences for business owners. People may find that these charges harm their company’s reputation.