It is utmost important to take a prior approval of the copyright/patent holder before you start using his/her Copyrighted/patented. You are entitled for legal action if you are using other’s product for your benefit and profit making without a consent.
In legal terms, using somebody’s patent, trade mark, and copyright without seeking their permission is an ‘IP infringement’ and subject to fine, imprisonment or both. Breach of trademarks, patent, or copyrights is termed as criminal offences, and is highly actionable in the court of law. Anybody involved in infringement is subjected to wide range of criminal proceedings set out by law as well offences under the Fraud Act 2006.
If you are caught using the trademark already registered by someone then it also leads to infringement. So, what you can do is contact the owner of the registered trade mark by searching in the list of the trademarks database.
Why is it important to Take Consent from the Copyright Holder?
Some copyright holders are too lenient with their product and want others to use and distribute his work, and give leniency in permission in the copyright statement itself. In that case, it is advisable to print a hard copy of the holder’s copyright statement. Verbal Permission doesn’t work in real time. A consent from the copyright holder in writing before you start using the person’s copyrighted work will save you from any unforeseen legal hassles latter.
How to Take the Consent?
You can directly approach the copyright holder asking for permission of his product through a written letter. He will give his consent by replying you back on a customized copyright statement. In some situations, copyright holder ask for a fee in lieu of using copyrighted work, which you need to pay accordingly. But whatever the case may be, the copyright holder has the complete right to know your intended use prior to granting permission. He definitely wants to make sure that his product is used for wrong reasons.
What is Fair Use Doctrine?
The concept of ‘Fair Use Doctrine’ allows any person an exception from the copyright protection rules. Here anyone is allowed to use somebody’s copyrighted work without prior permission for definite purposes. The exception explains that you are permitted to use someone else’s work without permission for the purpose of criticism, research, comment, new reporting, scholarship and teaching.
However if you are not using for any of this purposes, then certainly you need to seek permission from the copyright holder before initiating the work. Therefore, it is for your best interest to always notify the copyright holder of your intended use, even it fall under the laws of Fair Use Doctrine.
Thus, you can certainly use copyrighted work even without a prior permission provided it is used lawfully. So, if you are thinking to use somebody else’s copyrighted material but not sure if it is lawful or not, then consult an intellectual property attorney.