Internet Copyright Laws And Why They Don't Always Work

Laws and regulations are an integral part of modern society, and they have been with us for a very long time, many centuries to be exact, giving us a guide to follow and conventions to respect. Well, the Internet has also become an integral part of modern society, and it’s no wonder that many countries all around the world are trying to create Internet or Cyber laws that will govern everything we do online. One of the most important Internet laws is in fact the Internet Copyright Law, and here will be discussed how it works in some detail.

The US Internet Copyright Law

Everything created on the Internet after the date of April 1 1989 is protected under the American Internet Copyright Law. This can in many cases probably be difficult to understand, but the fact is that if you come from the USA, and you have created something and uploaded it on the World Wide Web is the last 20 years or so, this work of your is protected, and it cannot be stolen by anybody. However, this is true only in theory.

The Problems with the Internet Copyright Law

Yes, it is true that you hold all rights to your work as the original author ever since your work has seen the light of the Internet day. Yes, it is also true that you have the right to take action if someone happens to steal your original work from the Web. However, the problem arises when there is more than one country involved in this process. Namely, if you are an American, and your work has been illegally downloaded by a person from let’s say Albania, there’s probably nothing you’ll be able to do about it. The reason for this is the fact that most countries don’t have any rules or regulations regarding the Internet, so even though you might know exactly who stole your work, in many cases you will not be able to act on this fact.

Another important issue related to the Internet Copyright Law is the fact that you often cannot know who violated the law, meaning that there are ways to steal your work from the Internet without you knowing who was actually responsible. For example, modern technology can, by tracing IP addresses, tell you where the person who stole your work was, but can never tell you exactly who this person is.

The Internet Copyright Law and Plagiarism

Plagiarism is another interesting subject related to the Internet Copyright Law, as in many cases it cannot be proven. For example, if you have taken a photograph and uploaded it to the Web, and if someone took this photo without crediting you as the original author, then you can make this person remove the photo, or even sue the person. However, if you have written an original article, for instance, and uploaded it on the Internet, you cannot do anything if someone read your article and steals the idea, even though plagiarism is actually defined as using someone else’s words, quotes or even ideas as their own.

Attorney General Declares War on Cyber Criminals

As criminal attorneys focused on white collar investigations and jury trials, we have seen a noticeable increase in the prosecution of computer related crimes. This is no surprise as United States Attorney Eric Holder has made the prosecution of “cyber crime” a priority for his administration. It is the Attorney General’s responsibility to assist legislators in drafting laws that address crimes involving rapidly changing technologies. In addition, his office must develop investigative techniques to solve cyber crimes – crimes which are typically committed by more sophisticated and savvy individuals with no eye witnesses.

There has been a noticeable increase in recent years in prosecutions for computer crimes such as identity theft, unauthorized access to computer databases, wire fraud related to illegal use of the internet, child pornography, internet child enticement, and the like.

There seems to also have been more international cooperation with the Attorney General in the prosecution of alleged cyber criminals abroad. For several years, Nigerian check scams, eBay fraud and the like were rampant, but difficult for prosecutors to stop due to the fact they were being committed by faceless computers from thousands of miles away. With more focus on capturing those responsible for these international schemes, there have been more extraditions and prosecutions in the United States such as the prosecution of Emmanuel Ekhator who is accused of stealing over $32 million dollars from 80 United States law firms from over seas in a fraudulent counterfeit check scheme initiated over the internet.

With this zealous focus on cyber crimes, the technology used by cyber criminals evolves at a faster pace than the technology of law enforcement. It is believed that cyber criminals have developed technology in some cases that allow them to remotely access the computers of unknowing persons and commit crimes from their computers without the owners’ knowledge or involvement. This is dangerous for those charged with computer crimes, and it must be determined if they are the actual perpetrator, or an innocent patsy whose computer was hijacked.

With our day to day lives being conducted on the internet through social media, email, and even online banking, cyber crime is not going anywhere, and we expect more innocent computer owners will find their computers being utilized by remote criminals. If you find yourself charged with a computer related crime, it is important for you to contact a knowledgeable criminal attorney who has experience in representing those accused of technological crime.