Website Copyright Litigation Lawyer

Copyright Disputes

Website Copyright Litigation

    The firm specialises in website copyright litigation within the area of copyright disputes. Website copyright infringement falls within our specialisation in electronic, digital media, and copyright law. The area of website copyright infringement is one of the most exciting of all copyright infringement cases. It is constantly evolving through the growing number of IPEC cases, and the increasing importance of Internet business.
    Whilst it is trite law that literal copying of photographs (electronic images are included within the definition of photographs in s4(2) of the Act), text, design notes, graphics, databases, music files, audio/visual files, code are all copyright protected. When it comes to website copyright there are lots of “live” issues including those set out below.

    Website Design and layout
    1. The issue of whether there is a separate work in the design of the layout of the website is still “live”. The question arises as to whether the design of the layout of a website is a separate work or just part of the coding. There is some case law (not UK case law) on the subject to suggest that it might be a separate work.
    Non-literal copying
    2. Another “live” issue is non-literal copying. It is very straightforward when you can show an excerpt of the code from a website and compare it with the code from the website of another business and there are substantial amounts of the code that are identical. Naturally, lawyers prefer a straightforward situation of literal reproduction that can be easily proven but what if the business copying you has copied your code but built their own code on the top of it? Not all cases will come in a perfect package. There may be cases where some work has to be done to prove copyright infringement and it might mean creating or helping to evolve the law.
    S17(2) of the Act says that copying means reproduction in any material form. This goes beyond a straightforward literal copying and can include copying the structure. This type of non-literal copying focuses on whether there was copying of those elements of the original that were capable of copyright protection.

    An adaptation of the website
    3. There is also the adaptation of website coding. An adaptation with reference to software, database and computer code is found in:
    S21(3) (ab) as “an arrangement or altered version of the program or a translation of it”.
    S21(3) (ac) as “in relation to a database, means an arrangement or altered version of the database or a translation of it”
    S21(4) as “In relation to a computer program a “translation” includes a version of the program in which it is converted into or out of a computer language or code or into a different computer language or code”.
    It is not clear why these should not apply to website code in website copyright infringement cases. Software is nothing more than coding stored in a fixed form that runs on hardware. Website coding runs on the Web and, in my opinion, there is no material difference.
    Apart from website copyright litigation we also assist with copyright infringement cases relating to:

  • TV shows
  • Films
  • Screen plays
  • Online video
  • E-books
  • Digital music files
  • Theatre productions
  • Photographs
  • Buildings and architecture
  • Fashion designs (copyright & design rights)
  • Fine Art

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