In today’s digital age, eCommerce is king. Intellectual Property (IP) sold online is more vulnerable to piracy than ever before. If you want to sell your IP online, then it is essential you know how to protect yourself. The first step should always include registering copyrights, trademarks, etc., but what happens when these rights get violated? Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to large-scale piracy like in the case of MacMillan Learning vs. Shopify, Inc.
The case of Macmillan Learning vs. Shopify Inc.
Reuters reported eCommerce company Shopify was accused in the Federal Court of enabling rampant piracy. The accusers were major educational publishers Macmillan Learning, Cengage Learning Inc, Elsevier Inc, McGraw Hill LLC, and Pearson Education Inc.
They claim that by turning a blind eye to repeat notices, its users sold pirated digital textbooks and other material online through their platform allowing for copyright and trademark infringement “on a massive scale.”
The report added that the publishers asked the court for statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringed copyright and $2 million for each counterfeited trademark. More than 3,400 copyrights that users allegedly violated were listed.
As a retort, a Shopify spokesperson said in a statement that the company’s policies prohibit merchants from infringing on IP rights and that it doesn’t hesitate to punish infringers. The spokesperson of the platform had reviewed over 90% of copyright and trademark reports from this year within one business day. The complainant said Shopify gives “lip service” to IP protection while profiting from infringement.
The Bottom Line
Counterfeiting and pirated goods continue to distort the virtual marketplace. E-commerce sites are being used as common platforms for the sale of counterfeit goods. Whether it is online or offline, the dangers are legitimate. The occupation of economic space by these modern pirates causes a loss of revenue and jobs. It is a huge threat to consumer safety and contributes to the growth of organized crime. I don’t want to see your property stolen from you without recourse. There are some ways to protect it on your own. But when we work together, you are working with someone who has been practicing Intellectual Property Law exclusively since 1996. The government’s draft e-commerce policy provides clear guidelines on the expectations from brand owners and e-commerce players. I can help you navigate these policies and ensure that you are protected. This means I am actively working to help you identify, register, and police your inventions, brands, and creations online.
Contact me today and let’s get to work together.
I look forward to hearing from you.