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How does a Florida business prove Copyright Infringement?

As a business, registering all of your Copyrights is a vital step, and hopefully the only time you will ever have to worry about protecting your original work. But if another party ever steals your Intellectual Property, you may have to sue to stop this Copyright Infringement. Without the threat of legal action, your business could be at serious risk.

The 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, which includes all of Florida, reaffirmed the two-part test for determining if Copyright Infringement has occurred. They are:

1. The plaintiff owns a valid copyright over the disputed work, and

2. The defendant copied constituent elements of the work that are original.

To prove the second element, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had access to the plaintiff’s copyrighted work, and that the defendant’s work is so “substantially similar” to the plaintiff’s that an average layperson could tell the second work was appropriated from the first. Alternatively, if the plaintiff cannot prove the defendant had access to the plaintiff’s work, he or she must show the two works are “strikingly similar,” or so similar that there is no practical way the defendant could not have copied it.

Copyright law is complex, and even sophisticated businesspeople cannot protect their Intellectual Property on their own. Besides helping businesses protect their Copyrighted property from Infringement, an Intellectual Property attorney can make sure the business’ work has the proper legal protections in the first place.

Source: Singleton v. Dean, 611 Fed. Appx. 671 (11th Cir. 2015)(unpublished)

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