Posting information on the Internet can have great benefits, but unfortunately, it also comes with some drawbacks. One disadvantage is having your website content copied by another website. This can be particularly problematic if the one responsible is not in the United States. You have limited remedies if your site is copied by a non-citizen or a foreign corporation.
What Can I Do If My Website Is Copied by a Non-Citizen?
Unfortunately, there may be very few remedies if this occurs. U.S. copyright law does not extend outside of the U.S., and so the website owner cannot rely on U.S. copyright law to protect themselves from copyright infringement in a foreign country. However, there are a few steps someone who has had their intellectual property stolen by a non-citizen can take to protect their ideas.
1) Determine If the ISP Hosting the Site Is a U.S. Corporation.
If this is the case, then contacting the ISP with proof that copyrighted material is being hosted on a site without your permission will likely lead to the content being removed. ISPs tend to remove the copyrighted materials from their servers to avoid possible liability.
2) Send a Cease and Desist letter to the Infringer.
If it is possible to find the infringer, sending a cease and desist letter that states the potential for legal action with a deadline may cause the infringing party to remove copyrighted material from their site.
3) Be Prepared to Start Legal Action in the Country Where the infringer Resides.
The infringing use of copyrighted material may adversely affect one's income or search engine rankings. It may be worth the expense to do as much as possible to stop the wrongful, infringing use of those materials. In this case, stopping the infringement may need to travel to the country where the infringer resides and hiring an attorney from that country.
Do I Need a Copyright or Internet Attorney?
Copyright laws in the United States are quite complex, and the laws of other countries creates an entirely new dilemma. An experienced intellectual property lawyer will be able to advise you on how you can most effectively deal with a copyright infringer from a foreign country. Your cease and desist letter, as well as any communication with an ISP, may also be more effective if sent by an attorney. An experienced copyright or internet attorney will be able to educate you about your rights and determine your best options for resolving your copyright infringement issues.