Intellectual property infringement – what do do?

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The internet contains masses of information such as text, images, photographs and so forth. All these objects are actually the intellectual property of an individual somewhere in the world and this person owns the exclusive rights to his or her work. The information available on the internet is unfortunately not all free and made available for anyone to copy or claim as their own. Just because the information is there, does not mean it is up for grabs.

Discovering that your intellectual property has been stolen or copied without your consent can be an extremely overwhelming experience that will probably leave you feeling somewhat violated and in most cases, very angry. So, what do you do if you suspect that your intellectual property has been stolen? The answer is simple. First calm down, gather your thoughts and think of a plan of action. In most cases many people do not even understand that they have made a mistake and done something unlawful and a simple email describing your predicament will suffice. Make sure that you are clear and concise with your words and give a reference to your own intellectual property or copyright in order for them to clearly see and understand what you are talking about. You can either ask them to remove the material with immediate effect, give direct credit to you as the rightful owner of the work, ask them to pay you for using your work or, in the worst case scenario and if the intellectual property violation is extreme, sue them for damages.

Whatever you decide to do one must remember that prevention is better than cure. Make sure that you clearly state that your work is your intellectual property, and include the copyright symbol if you can. The same must be done with images, using the copyright symbol as a watermark over the image or photo with your name on will clearly show others that the work is your intellectual property that may not be used without your permission.

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