In today’s era of sharing memes on Facebook and reposting inspirational quotes on Instagram, it can feel like our society has lost sight of the importance of paying attribution to the original content creator. This habit is especially problematic for entrepreneurs, since copyright infringement is one of the most common breaches affecting small businesses — making it all the more important to know what to do if you suspect copyright infringement.
For starters, it's helpful to know what exactly qualifies as copyrighted work. The United States Trademark & Patent Office defines a copyright as "original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture." In order for your work to be protect by copyright, you must follow the process laid out at the U.S. Copyright Offices to register your copyright for your work. As far as actual copyright infringement goes, the U.S. Copyright Offices explains that it "occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner."
All of this is to say that once your work is registered with the U.S. Copyright Offices, it's possible for you to copyright infringement chargers against anyone who uses your work without your permission. If you suspect this may be the case, here's what you need to do: