By the end of this post, you’re going to have a good idea of three steps to take after infringement happens. (Like the stages of grief, but different and a little more actionable.) There is life after infringement, so let’s talk about what happens.
Feel the feelings, and then, handle it.
First things first, when infringement happens, you have to handle it in whatever way makes the most sense for you. I have a separate post on your options when you’ve been infringed. And that can range from contacting them yourself or submitting a takedown request, it can mean getting a lawyer involved and sending a cease and desist letter or filing a lawsuit, and sometimes that can mean doing nothing. It’s usually worth talking through with a lawyer to see what the best option is for you. But whatever you choose to do when infringement happens, first, you have to handle it.
Next step to take after infringement? A gut check.
Once the actual infringement is behind you, you want to do a gut check or an internal audit. An audit in this context means asking these types of questions:
- How did this infringement happen?
- Was there a contract that should have been in place that wasn’t in place?
- Was there something that made you particularly vulnerable?
- Could you have registered something with the U.S. copyright or trademark office that would have made this process somehow easier or less stressful or less expensive?
- Would it have made a difference if something was registered with the copyright or trademark office?
Some of these things might be things to talk through with a lawyer. That internal audit is a good practice to see how this happened, what could have been done to lessen the effect on your business, and what can be done to prevent future incidents (if possible!).
And finally, don’t stop creating after infringement. Keep going.
Please don’t let infringement be a hindrance to your creative abilities. Don’t let it stop you from continuing to create that awesome content. Don’t let someone else’s infringement of the product of your blood, sweat and tears stop you. It can be frustrating or annoying to hear this sometimes, but mimicry is a form of flattery, right?
So remember, don’t let infringement stop you or slow you down, just: 1) Handle it. 2) Figure out what could have been done differently or what could have been in place to help or diminish the stress of the situation; and 3) keep on going.
I hope this helps you understand some steps to take after infringement happens. There is life after infringement!
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