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Internet Law Attorney

Helping you protect your online reputation

In the last few years, Internet has become the most popular way of communicating among people. Internet has had a massive impact on many areas of life, both professional and personal. The reputation of people and businesses can be easily compromised by defamatory material posted on the Internet, such as Facebook comments, anonymous reviews on Google, or fake reviews on Yelp.

Internet cases

The majority of the Internet Law matters that we handle involve copyright infringement and defamation of character made by mean of:

  • Anonymous reviews on Google
  • Defamatory posts on Twitter
  • Fake Yelp reviews
  • Defamatory Facebook comments
  • Anonymous WordPress Blogs

Internet cases may also include:

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of original works of authorship including musical, literary, artistic, architectural, and other intellectual works (published and unpublished). The owners of a copyright have the exclusive right to make, sell, reproduce, distribute, license, or copy their works, the right to create derivative works, and the right to perform or display their works publicly. These exclusive rights generally expire 70 years after the author's death.

United States copyright law is governed by the Federal Copyright Act of 1976. According to the Copyright Act of 1976, registration of copyright is voluntary and may take place at any time during the term of protection.

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a U.S. copyright law that implements two 1996 of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. Among other things, the DMCA increases the penalties for copyright infringement on Internet and for circumventing an access control.

In 1998, DMCA amended Title 17 of the U.S. Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of on-line services for copyright infringement by their users. The U.S. Copyright Act, title 17 of the U.S. Code §§ 101 - 810, is a Federal legislation enacted by Congress under its Constitutional grant of authority, to protect and encourage the creation of art and culture by rewarding authors and artists with a set of exclusive rights.

Works of authorship published in a tangible medium of expression falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Copyright Act.

In 1989, the United States joined the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, an international agreement governing copyright, which was first accepted in Berne (Switzerland) in 1886. An infringement action may be initiated without registering the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, if the work is from a Berne Convention Country.

The U.S. Copyright Office was created by Congress in 1897 as a separate department of the Library of Congress, and examines and registers copyright claims. Anyway, registration of a work with the Copyright Office is not a pre-condition for protection. The Office's registration system is the world's largest database of copyrighted works and copyright ownership information.

In cases involving Internet copyright laws, the first step is generally to file a DMCA takedown notice with Google and the website owner, seeking immediate removal of the copyright-protected material. If this request is not complied with, a complaint in Federal Court should be filed, seeking a temporary as well as a permanent injunction, along with statutory damages and attorneys' fee.

What is defamation?

Defamation is any false, intentional, and unprivileged statement of fact, either written (libel) or spoken (slander), that harms someone's reputation. State laws often define defamation in specific ways. Sometimes, it is difficult to define what is and what is not a libel or a slander, because each State's definition is often different. Some States put slander and libel together into the same set of laws.

Within the libel meaning, there are three different types of defamatory statements:

  1. The statement that is defamatory on its face, and is obviously defamatory;
  2. The statement which contains a false innuendo, a defamatory statement that has an inferential meaning, which may vary depending on the geographic or cultural location of the "victim";
  3. The statement which contains a legal innuendo, which is not defamatory on their face, but when viewed together with extrinsic circumstances.

Statements are considered defamation if were made with malice, with knowledge that it was false, or with reckless disregard of whether or not it was false.

Some statements are protected by absolute privileges, a complete defense to a defamation claim (for example, statements made by witnesses in judicial proceedings). On the other side, public figures (such as celebrities and movie stars) have less protection from defamatory statements, and face a higher burden when attempting to win a defamation lawsuit.

Generally, if the statement was published, caused injury, was false, and was unprivileged, is considered defamation. The crux of a defamation claim is falsity. Truth is a defense in all defamation cases.

You should contact an internet lawyer as soon as possible if you have been victim of online defamation. Our firm, Bertollini & O'Reilly, with offices in New York and New Jersey, is one of the very few law firms that handle Internet defamation cases. Our Internet Law Attorneys have a deep understanding of the defamation, privacy and copyright laws. As a New York Litigation Law Firm, we have many years of experience in litigating civil cases in the New York and New Jersey Courts.

Contact a New York Internet Copyright Lawyer for a free initial consultation

(212) 566-3572