What are the most common forms of copyright infringement?

The internet has been both a blessing and a curse for content creators and has set new challenges for copyright law in Australia.

Copyright infringement is a risk common to most businesses, whether they're using someone else's content or licencing their own. While some industries battle with intellectual property theft more than others, it should be a concern for any company or individual that depends on revenue from content to make a living. 

While the internet has made life easier in some regards businesses, it's also provided its own unique set of challenges – as well as putting copyright lawyers to the test

With that in mind, here are some common copyright issues that can affect your business, whether it's creating or using content. 

1. Republishing the work of others

Although this has always been one of the key concerns for content creators, modern distribution networks have challenged this even further, especially as user freedom has grown. 

Websites such as YouTube that allow anyone with an account to upload content have frequently been the target of infringement notices. With the financial incentives these platforms offer for high performing content, some users have been tempted into uploading content illegally, frequently resulting in banned accounts or legal action. 

2. Re-purposing existing content

There's no hard and fast rules with copyright law, with most disputes needing to be judged on a case-by-case basis. Again, YouTube was at the centre of this controversy after it became popular for people to upload footage of them playing games with their own commentary.

Most game companies were fine with the development, except for Nintendo, which ended up removing massive amounts of content under the pretence of copyright infringement.  

3. Distributing content that isn't yours

Possibly the most talked about development in copyright law, the effects of online piracy are still being felt throughout the industry. 

Early peer-to-peer filesharing networks like Napster soon gave way to Megaupload and The Pirate Bay, creating havoc for content creators as their hard work was spread around the internet for free.