Imagine that you are hustling trying to get your name out there to get a big break. You see your favorite show and you hear your song play in the background. This would be ecstatic if you were getting paid, however if your work is being stolen then your joyous day may be filled with angst and frustration. A company much larger than your own independent brand swoops in and takes your work for themselves. What are you to do? Dealing with such a situation is difficult. Here are four things that you should keep in mind when dealing with plagiarism that’s carried out by a larger entity than your own.
The Plagiarism Could Be a Violation of Intellectual Property Law
If you compose and publish an original piece, it’s protected under intellectual property law. Specifically, your content is protected under copyright, which lasts for the author’s entire life plus an additional 70 years. If a big brand steals your content and you notice it, which obviously means you’re alive, that’s a violation of copyright law.
Seek Out a Consultation from a Legal Professional
In the world of intellectual property law, attorneys are often willing to represent you on an contingent basis. In other words, you won’t be required to pay for legal help up front. If, and only if, your attorney manages to win a settlement for your cause will you be required to pay a portion of the settlement to your defense.
Whether you seek help from an experienced attorney in and be informed during the consultation whether their pursuit of your case is worth their time. Keep in mind that not all attorneys will be open to defending you in a court of law. That’s okay, however—shop around if you’re interested in defending your intellectual property rights.
Determine Whether Pursuing a Lawsuit Is Worth the Money
You’ve just been told by an attorney that they’re willing to assume the pursuit of your case. If the potential payout of the case is high enough, your defense will likely be willing to work on a contingent basis. However, if the payout isn’t great enough, such as if you’re just interested in pursuing the case for the principal of the matter—punishing plagiarizers—you’ll be required to pay your defense up front. Determine whether you can afford the defense or not, as well as whether it’s worth it to you.
Name and Shame the Thief
Compose a write-up of your allegations. Provide proof of your allegations in the accusation—plenty of proof, mind you—or else you could be targeted for libel. Share your composition wherever possible on the Internet. You should do this immediately if you don’t plan on pursuing the thief legally. Ask your attorney of it’s a good idea to publish it immediately if you do, in fact, decide to pursue the case. They will probably ignore you until it affects their PR. That branding will motivate them to repair their damage.
If a major brand steals your work as an underpaid independent publisher, you’re certain to be nothing short of angry. Make sure to compose yourself before taking any actions, as acting out of anger could make you look bad. Following these steps is a good place to start in the event that a major brand steals your original work.