Sunday, January 18, 2009

Suing For Misappropriation of Copyrighted Work, How Long Should I Wait?

Waiting for an action has limitations. The injured party has three years to bring civil action and five years to bring criminal action. Why have the limitations? The limitations are there for a speedy process that does not drag on forever. The whole court system would get bogged down if people dug up claims from a long time back. Memories fade and so do the people.

The time on the statute of limitations start when a cause of action is discovered. The author becomes aware of the offense. But it is always better not to wait for the end of the term as the memory is great at the beginning and some facts may be lost in 3 years. The time of the offense has no bearing on the action. It could have occurred 5 years ago, but if you discover it now, then the three years begins now.

If you as a copyright holder knew a problem existed but did not do anything for 3 years, then that is all the defendant has to show to win the case. There is also a provision in the statute of limitations about reasonable discovery. Even if you did not know there was a violation but could have easily found out, then the courts tend to find for the defendant. Nobody can say what the final decision of the court will be, even the attorneys in the matter, but the attorneys are the only ones who can guide you the right way. Consulting an attorney gives you the best chance you have of winning.

Problems in copyright cases are easier to detect in the print media, an online infringement is harder to find and catch. The statute of limitations is designed to keep out people who procrastinate and wait till their funds run out before they think of suing. If you have a case do not wait and file it today after consulting a lawyer who has the knowledge and the experience to guide you in the right direction. Even though there are no guarantees that anyone can give you.

Binny Satin

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