How do I Report Copyright Infringement?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 January 2019
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If you wish to report copyright infringement, then you will typically need to contact a lawyer who specializes in copyright law and hire him or her to help you. While government and private agencies may register copyrights for people, these agencies do not typically handle copyright infringement investigations or claims. A lawyer can help you determine if you have a case, by establishing what your copyright ownership entails, looking at the possible infringement, and then moving forward if warranted. Depending on the situation, you may simply wish to notify an individual or group to cease infringing upon your copyright, or you may want to report copyright infringement by bringing a lawsuit against the infringer.

You establish ownership of a copyright the moment you create an artistic work, and you may want to register that copyright with an appropriate agency in your country to better protect your work. Once you have a copyright on a work that you have created, you may wish to report copyright infringement regarding something someone else has done. Copyright infringement typically involves someone using your work without permission, through public display or the creation of derivative work. In such a situation, you should consider how you can best report copyright infringement and see your concerns properly addressed.


Generally, you will need to work with a lawyer or legal authority that specializes in copyright law to report copyright infringement. There is not usually a governmental authority that enforces copyrights, and so you will need to pursue private action against someone who has infringed upon your copyright. This typically begins with contacting the infringer to report copyright infringement directly to him or her. A lawyer can help you create this notification, which typically consists of a cease and desist order regarding the copyrighted material.

This order will instruct the infringer to stop the infringement immediately, undo any potential harm, and remove usages of the copyrighted material from public display at once. A cease and desist order is quite common as a way to report copyright infringement to the infringer, and serves to show that you have started legal action regarding the infringement. Should the infringer not halt the use of the copyrighted image or materials, you can then work with the lawyer to file a civil lawsuit against the infringer. Such a suit typically functions like any other civil case; you will need to prove that your copyright precedes any usage of the materials by the infringer, and you can typically request a court order demanding the infringer stops using the copyrighted material and ask for monetary compensation.


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