The availability of material from the Internet is effectively limitless. However, not everything that is available is always legal. The ability to rapidly digitise and share content has led to the explosion in piracy. Piracy is not a victimless crime, failing to pay for commercial content means robbing the provider of revenue which makes it harder for them to stay in business and provide or improve what they do. Most businesses create their own unique intellectual property (IP). Imagine if this was made available on the Internet for free. Most businesses would not tolerate that no matter what their size.
The loss of revenue from online piracy has now reached a stage where the government has begun implementing laws and enforcing these to overcome the abuse. The government has been working with Internet Service Providers, Telcos and copyright holders to develop framework to target those that steal commercial content.
At this stage it seems that once an infringement has been detected the information will be sent to the Internet Service Provider who will notify the account holder of the potential infringement.
There will then be three notices: an Education Notice; a Warning Notice and a Final Notice.
Each notice is designed to give the account holder information about what has happened on their account, what steps they can take to stop the unauthorised activity and where to source licensed content. Failure to take action after the final notice will most likely lead to formal prosecution.
These issues may affect your business in many different ways. Firstly, you may have staff that are consuming or downloading copyrighted content using your Internet connection. You may also be using digital assets, such as images, without an appropriate license. Issues such as these make your business liable for copyright infringement and the penalties can be severe.
The first step you need to undertake is appreciate that copyright infringement is against the law and breaches liable for prosecution. You should then develop a public policy and make all employees aware of the fact that violating copyright while using business equipment is not acceptable and will result in discipline since it can impact the business negatively.
It is also recommended that you put in place some form of monitoring and auditing to ensure your business maintains compliance. Much of this monitoring can be done automatically using technologies such as firewall appliances that can not only monitor but also block inappropriate material.
The onus to comply with copyright legislation now falls to the business to ensure their employees are not doing the wrong thing. Failing to do so will now more likely result in some form of prosecution against the business. So, as these new laws and greater surveillance come into place now is the time to ensure you have the right compliance procedures and monitoring in place.
Of course, for help with maintaining compliance and avoiding copyright beeches please contact us here at Correct on (02) 8831 8200.
Image courtesy of Mister GC picture at FreeDigitalPhotos.net