The high profile litigation surrounding patents and copyright has been thrown back into the limelight recently as many of the tech companies such as Apple, Samsung and Blackberry battle it out over designs, applications and even icon images.

Intellectual Property, or IP, has become the most valuable asset to many companies, and protecting their IP in today’s fast-moving world has become a necessary evil.

But IP isn’t all about inventions and innovative products. One area of IP that is often abused is copyright. Copyright exists to protect any form of work, for example photography, literature and writing, music, art, video, databases and software are all protected under the UK Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 and the European Union 1996 Directive No. 96/9/EC.

In the last couple of years many companies in the window industry have been a victim of copyright infringement, where unscrupulous parties have illegally copied and used photography, images or text, often taking it from the owners website.

Often, the company who has produced the work has gone to significant time and cost, but at best any action taken has simply led to the removal of the copyright material from the offending party.

At Insight Data, we hold copyright protection over the data we research, verify and build into the Insight database; after all, data is our business, and we invest several hundred thousand pounds to build and maintain it. Sadly, though, some companies and individuals seem to think it is OK to copy and use this data without permission.

That is why we use some clever methods to imbed ‘planted’ phone numbers, fax, email addresses, named contacts or postal addresses within both real and artificial (‘seed’) companies. This way we can always monitor who is using the data and identify those that are using it illegally. 

Over the last year, we have taken action against no less than 7 companies who have tried to use, copy, or re-supply our data. Currently, we are taking Barristers council about legal action against several more offenders.

This may sound extreme, but protecting your business assets, your intellectual property and your copyright material is not just your legal right, without doing so you can undermine or damage your business. Sadly, failure to take action at an early stage has put some companies in the corporate graveyard.

Copyright infringement is illegal. So next time you spot someone using your photography, images, website copy, or other material that belongs to you, don’t let them get away with it. A cease and desist letter is the first step to having the material removed, but seeking damages and legal costs will ensure these culprits think twice about abusing your rights.

Andrew Scott

Managing Director

Insight Data Ltd