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Legal Side of the Web, Part 2– Defamation and Violation of Trademark, Copyright Laws

30
Jul

Posted by                                      Posted in Copyright and Leagal

As cited earlier, it also significant to note that laws of copyright also applicable to the use of text as well as scripts. Copying of content and scripts leads to copyright infringement.

2) Use of Text:

  • Original text must be used in the websites. Unique and interesting contents arrest the attention of the web visitors.
  • Unauthorized use of text from other source without prior permission of the concerned website is considered to be violation of the copyright laws. However, it is not copyright infringement provided the copied material is favorable towards finding a ‘fair use’.
  • In case of licensed agreement, it is essential that the copier must act according to the terms and conditions. The violations of the terms and conditions will invariably lead to copyright infringement.
  • It is important to have a detailed knowledge before copying the text. One must not be guided by the fact that the copied material is in the public domain.

3) Use of Scripts:

Copyright laws are also applicable to the use of scripts. While developing various scripts like Java, Java Applets etc., it is must to follow certain rules in order avoid from violating copyright laws.

  • Incase, the programming or scripting is copied from other sources without prior permission then it leads to copyright infringement.
  • Many applets and scripts have been designed for public usage. However, safe use of these scripts primarily depends on accepting the terms and conditions of the authorized programmer.

Trademark:

Trademark can be defined as the use of word, phrase, symbol, logo, design or the combination all these, which clearly distinguishes and identifies the goods of a party from those of others. Infringement of trademark lies in unauthorized use of trademark of one party by the other selling similar services or products. In such cases, consumers are easily misled and eventually harm the market of the authorized trademark owner.

With the growth of the World Wide Web there has been tremendous development in business communication. Today, almost all small and big business industries have set up websites to make their presence felt in the world of online business. Therefore, it is very much essential to adhere to certain rules while building websites in order to avoid from committing trademark infringement.

Trademark Infringement:

1) Selection of trademark:

While selecting trademark for the business company, it is very much essential that it does not violate the trademark laws. In this regard, it necessary to take note of the following things mentioned.

  1. Use original trademarks that clearly distinguishes the products or services of the business company from its contemporaries. It is wise to use fanciful marks because it is designed for use as a trademark. For instance, some fanciful marks that have become established trademarks are XEROX, EXXON and KODAK etc.
  2. Web masters may use arbitrary marks, which have no relation with the products or services of the company. For instance, APPLE (for computers), SUN (for computers) and LOTUS (for software).
  3. At times, heavily used descriptive marks start functioning as trademarks. This type of trademark is also widely used.
  4. It also mandatory to conduct trademark search. It helps to gauge that the selected trademark have not been used by anyone. Trademark infringement takes place if the company uses the trademark of its competitor.

2) Use of trademark:

  1. It is wise to use created trademark.
  2. In a web page, trademarks of other companies must be used carefully while identifying their products. However, it must be taken care that the use of trademark may lead to misinterpretation. In fact, there have been numerous allegations against third party for using trademarks due to misinterpretation.
  3. Web designers must do away with trademarks, which create confusion to the human eye. This may invariably end up with trademark infringement.
  4. Often, trademarks are used as links. This may sometimes lead to confusion. Again, use of another party’s trademark without the prior permission of the concerned company may lead to trademark infringement.

3) Protection of trademark:

  1. The selected trademark must be protected by domestic trademark registration.
  2. In case of international companies, the trademark registrations of the host countries of trade must be considered.

Defamation:

In law, the term defamation means to make a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual, group, business, product, government or nation. The cyber world is also subject to the laws of defamation.

In the recent times, libel or defamation is on high-rise in the Internet world. In real practice, the Internet has become a fertile ground for Internet libel. Emails, newsgroups, websites (blogs) are certain basic ways through which defamation against the person or any other things are conducted effectively.

To mention, the Poetry Society in UK published a defamatory remark against a publishing company in its website. The society was charged for publishing “preying on poets who could not otherwise get their poems published” in February 1996.

While writing content for the web pages, it is important to follow certain basic rules.

  1. Publish fair comment in favor of the other party as far as possible.
  2. It is essential that any statement made in a web page must not defame the reputation of any other party.

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