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Enforcing your company's rights on the internet

What can I do if I discover abuse of my company's copyright on the internet? This may involve illegal sharing of copyright-protected music, images, film or similar material.

Are infringements of intellectual property rights on the internet prosecuted under criminal or civil law?

Offences against the Norwegian Copyright Act can, in principle, be prosecuted under both criminal and civil law.

If you want a criminal prosecution of the infringement, you must report the situation to the police.

However, the Copyright Act provides rights in civil law that can be enforced by those whose rights are infringed. Enforcement under civil law is the usual approach..

Saving IP addresses

A first step in enforcing copyright under civil law in the event of infringements in the form of uploading and downloading on the internet may be to register and save the IP address used in the infringement. IP addresses are freely available information in open networks, but saving such addresses represents processing of personal data under the Personal Data Act. Such activity therefore requires notification to the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, which can check how the processing of personal data is performed.

To be able to prosecute such infringements, it is not sufficient to have information about the actual IP address that has been used. There is also a need for information about which user may be linked to the IP address concerned. The Court may, after weighing up different interests, order the internet services provider to disclose this information. In order for the provider to be ordered to disclose this information, the Court must find that considerations in favour of disclosure outweigh consideration of the duty of confidentiality. In ruling on the case, the Court has to weigh consideration of the subscriber against the interests of the rights holder in obtaining access to the information taking account of the seriousness, extent and harmful effects of the infringement.

Contact the website

If you wish to have illegal content that has already been posted on the internet removed, a logical approach is to contact the website that publishes the illegal content with a demand to stop the infringements. In some cases, however, it will be difficult to bring such infringements to a halt by issuing a demand to the website. This may be the case in particular when the website is established abroad.

The Court may order the internet service provider to block or restrict access to websites that infringe copyright.

The Copyright Act gives copyright holders the right to request the Court to order internet service providers to block or restrict access to websites that, to a large extent, make available content that evidently infringes copyright. In ruling on a case, the Court has to weigh up the interests favouring access to the website being blocked or restricted against other interests that are affected by such an injunction. This includes the interests against which the order is targeted and the owner of the website, and consideration of freedom of information and expression. The provisions are reserved for the more serious cases of copyright infringements on the internet and, under the preparatory work to the Act, have to be used with caution.

 

Last update: 26. March 2015