The Risk of Infringement

Maintaining the integrity of brands online has become a difficult task for many companies with limited resources and expertise of online copyright infringement. The internet offers an enormous platform for third-party websites to infringe upon privileged material for the purposes of financial gain. Isolating infringing material online and enforcing timely action to remove infringing items from Internet Service Provider’s websites can be tedious and inefficient. Brands with online presence are at risk of having their privileged material copied, recorded, or imported causing significant financial losses.

Bloombergi reported, in June 2013, that a man named Li Xiang plead guilty to copyright conspiracy in Wilmington, Delaware resulting in a sentence of 12 years. The government estimated that Xiang’s web-based business infringed upon a total retail value of over $100 million in software products from U.S. based companies, and sold to customers all over the globe.  Xiang operated out of Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan providence of Southwest China.

Case U.S. v. Li, 10-cr-112, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

In August, 2013, The New York Timesii published an article explaining the extensive copyright infringement of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The MTA is North America’s largest transportation network based in New York, and issues approximately “600 notices a year for copyright infringements to protect trademarks on trainline logos and other system imagery” (Flegenheimer, M.T.A.)iii. All of the MTA’s subway, rail, and maps are copyright protected, and violators range from desperate artists to the upper echelons of the online retail industry. The MTA’s licensing income is a heavily needed source of revenue for the New York transportation system’s bottom line, but the authority has not been able to place a precise value on its losses from copyright infringement.

Copyright infringement in the digital era poses a great risk for brands to protect their privileged material online from anonymous users around the world. Companies need the right resources, time, and expertise to protect themselves and their bottom lines.


iii Flegenheimer, Matt. “M.T.A. Guards Against Copyright Infringement.” The New York Times. 23 August

2013. Web. 4 November 2013.

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