Is this infringement of my copyright ?

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
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Is this infringement of my copyright ?

Post by Barry »

On my website I make some PDF files available free of charge to the public if they are used for " their private and personal use only". When PDF files are created, by right clicking on them and selecting properties it normally shows the author by virtue of the path on the computer it originaly was created on ( in this case it clearly shows my initial and surname ) and elsewhere it shows the date created. Last Sunday I received a phone call from someone else in the trade advising that my PDF files were being sold on Ebay IE they had been written to a CD which is then constantly advertised for sale at prices varying between £ 2 -
£ 3 plus P&P. My trade colleague advised that they had in fact purchased one of the CDs and had identified the files by this very method, hence why they were alerting me.

Firstly is this infringement of my copyright ?, secondly are the date and author details as detailed above sufficient to back my claim up ?

My plan is to buy one of these discs myself as proof and then issue a cease letter to the seller. If they do not then I am more than happy to take the matter further as it looks like they have sold hundreds of these CDs over the past months. Its not about the money, just the principle although can I request they release details of all monies they have made?

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Post by CopyrightAid »

From your description, this person is using your work for commercial gain so absolutely yes this is an infringement of copyright.

The date on your computer does not really prove anything (I could fake that in 2 minutes flat, but it's better than nothing), but if your site has been archived by the way-back machine you have independent proof if needed. Failing that your ISP should be able to help establish the date the files were available from your site.

But don't get to concerned as yet, you only need to prove it if they claim they wrote it first, it may not come to that.

Certainly a cease and desist letter would be a sensible first step if you are not worried about recovering lost revenue.

You MUST also report this seller to Ebay - use the Vero program and they should stop this material being sold.

If you believe that this person has made a significant amount of money from your work, I would also be tempted to go after them for financial damages. I don't know if Ebay would tell you how any copies have been sold (probably not but worth a try).

If you want to go for financial damages, it is definitely time to see a solicitor. The trick hear is to phone up your local business advice and citizens advice centers and ask if they can give you the contact detail of local solicitors that deal in Intellectual Property claims and disputes. Then phone these up, saying the advice center gave you their details and do they offer a free first 1/2 hour. One or two will probably oblige and this at least gets you a free assessment of the situation and your options.
Once solicitors are involved it will cost 100's of pounds just to get off the starting blocks so you need to be pragmatic (life's too short and principals are expensive) - There is a real gap in the market for 'no win no fee' type companies for IP cases but I have never found a solicitor that offers this - solicitors take note!
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