The copyright infringement cases involving big name movies, music and pornographic films usually get all the attention because they involve famous artists and big money or salacious material.
However, music and motion pictures are not the only types of online copyright infringement cases. You might be surprised to learn that any type of copyrightable material that can be transferred digitally can be the subject of an online copyright infringement lawsuit.
A recent case involving academic research papers
In a case that has been ongoing since 2017, as reported by TorrentFreak, a German court recently granted an injunction (but refused a damage award) in a case involving the online sharing of academic research papers.
ResearchGate, a social networking site for academics, faced accusations involving 50 academic papers allegedly shared online without the authors’ permission.
The lawsuit was brought by the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM) against ResearchGate.
The TorrentFreak article frames the issues well: “The publishers believed that since they own the rights to the articles (50 were presented in the case), they should not be available without permission on ResearchGate. On the other hand, ResearchGate said that it could not be held liable for making the articles available, since any papers were uploaded by users of the site.”
The recent decision by the court concludes that they are both a little right and a little wrong. The court determined that ResearchGate was indeed responsible for protecting the copyright protected material on its site, and it ordered an injunction against the content being reposted (the content had already been taken down years ago when the lawsuit first started).
On the other hand, the court denied the damage award sought by STM. ResearchGate simply must not put up the content again and take further actions to prevent copyright infringement on its site.
The importance of sound counsel
Without the help of experienced, skillful legal counsel, there is little chance ResearchGate could have gotten out of a lawsuit like that without having to pay some kind of damage award.
It is critical to work with experienced counsel who knows the laws and the technology and can protect your interests when facing any type of online copyright infringement lawsuit. Unfavorable results could be disastrous for any business or individual defending against this kind of lawsuit.