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Copyright Arbitration: When Words and Ideas are Stolen

Sunday, November, 25, 2012


In a world where information is shared and exchanged almost instantly via the Internet and various digital devices, ownership of words and ideas can be seriously threatened in the blink of an eye.  This is why copyright arbitration is so important.  As a form of alternative dispute resolution, copyright arbitration is a process in which a neutral, third-party arbitrator, who is skilled in matters of copyright law, hears from all parties involved in a conflict.  After giving each party the opportunity to state his or her case and information related to the copyright dispute, the arbitrator then makes a legally informed decision that can be either binding or non-binding, depending on the preferences of the parties entering into the arbitration process. 

In non-binding copyright arbitration, the arbitrator will make a recommendation based on hearing all sides of the conflict and his or her legal expertise in copyright law.  The parties involved in the copyright dispute will then have the opportunity to accept the recommendation based on their understanding of the arbitrator’s expertise, or take further action by bringing the copyright case before the courts.  However, since the arbitrator is skilled in matters pertaining to copyright law, it is highly likely that the court will arrive at the same conclusion that the arbitrator arrived at, but will only cost the contesting parties more money to arrive there. 

However, in binding copyright arbitration, after hearing testimony and obtaining evidence from both parties involved in the copyright dispute, the arbitrator will make an informed decision that is legally binding for both parties.  After this decision has been made, neither party can take the case to the courts for litigation and must accept the arbitrator’s decision or file an appeal against it. 

Both binding and non-binding arbitration are cheaper and more private than taking the matter to the courts for litigation.  When a case is litigated, it is a matter of public record, which can cause embarrassment for all parties involved.  However, arbitration is handled quickly, privately and effectively, and often has more preferable outcomes for less money than what can be determined through the courts.