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Walters Develops Weapon Against Infringement

Walters Develops Weapon Against Infringement
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Jun 2, 2004 2:42 PM PDT    Text size: 
ALTAMONTE, Fla. - The age of digital copyright infringement is big business for those who defend and prosecute alleged infringers. But First Amendment lawyer Lawrence G. Walters has come up with a more efficient and inexpensive way for clients to fire the first warning shot against companies that heist copyrighted material and call it their own.

Walters, of the firm Weston, Garrou & DeWitt, told XBiz that his firm has tapped into the rules and regulations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and automated a process that puts copyright protection in the hands of clients, dramatically reducing the time, cost, and level of human involvement previously required.

Called the DMCANotice, Walters has streamlined a process that involves a simple electronic form and aspects of the E-Sign Act and the Unsworn Declarations Act so that companies can generate and serve their own valid DMCA Notices containing all of the required elements under federal law.

Separate from the DMCA, the E-Sign Act and the Unsworn Declarations Act allow clients to legally send their own electronic signatures under penalty of perjury. This, says Walters, is a built-in protection so that infringement allegations are made in good faith.

"Copyright infringement is out of control in the adult industry," Walters told XBiz. "Virtually every one of our clients see their content on other websites without permission and many don't pursue infringers because of cost and inconvenience."

In addition to pre-written language, the DMCANotice provides an automated email program that generates a formal DMCA notice. The program sends out the notice from DMCA.com and mails copies to the client and to Walters, in addition to the recipient.

"It's something that I invented after having done many DMCA notices for clients," Walters told XBiz. "We looked into ways to simplify the process and make it less time consuming and costly. We wanted to find a more effective means for clients to get these people knocked off the web."

Walters added that DMCANotice program is free to clients and in some cases takes only five minutes.

Typically notices are served to the hosts and billing companies of alleged infringers, rather than directly to the infringers themselves. This is due in part, Walters told XBiz, to the difficulty in pursuing infringers, who often times use multiple aliases and are located overseas where U.S. copyright law does not apply.

Those companies in receipt of the DMCANotice are then required to disable the services of the alleged infringer, or risk contributory infringement, says Walters.

The notice also includes a description of the copyrighted work or other intellectual property that the client claims has been infringed upon and a description of where the material is located on the client's website.

"What I expect," said Walters, "Is that clients will be much more protected and able to take action if this sort of thing should happen to them."

Walters has been defending the First Amendment rights of the adult entertainment industry since 1988, and he is credited with creating the Internet Freedom Association Inc., a trade group representing the interests of webmasters across the country.

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