Copyright Infringement

Southampton County Court this week gave judgment that Party Limos Limited infringed the copyright owned by Cars for Stars Limited. The Court’s decision in the case of Cars for Stars Limited v Party Limos Limited is a victory for the national limousine hire company.

The claim was issued in December 2004 alleging copyright infringement of website text owned by Cars for Stars. On or around September 2004, Stephen Hughes, Director of Cars for Stars Limited, instructed Lawdit Solicitors Limited to represent Cars For Stars.

The website www.partylimos.org contained identical text to that found on Cars for Stars’ Manchester website (www.carsforstars-manchester.co.uk).

The Law provides that Copyright is a property right which vests in the author of original literary, dramatic, artistic or musical works . The website text created and uploaded by Cars for Stars is protected by copyright as a literary work under section 3(1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (the ‘Act’).

Cars for Stars provided notice to Party Limos Limited of the copyright infringement and an offer was made to settle this matter swiftly and amicably. A legal letter, referred to as Cease and Desist Letter, was drafted by Lawdit Solicitors and served on the infringing party with digital evidence of the infringement. The letter explained that Cars for Stars was both the author and owner of all literary works contained on its website and therefore only it is entitled to perform the exclusive acts set out under section 16 of the Act. This section gives an exclusive right to the copyright owner to copy, lend and / or make adaptations of the work. This right was infringed and Cars for Stars was forced to issue a claim for copyright infringement and / or seek a court order for the removal of the infringing material.

District Judge Naylor of the Southampton County Court found in favour of Cars for Stars Limited and awarded over 2,000 in damages.

The ruling sends an important message to businesses that operate via the Internet. It is very easy to ‘CUT and PASTE’ words, images and sounds from others websites, for the use on websites. However, the law fortunately recognises that creators of work need protection against blatant infringement.

Copying without permission is unlawful; always seek permission from the owner.

Lawdit Solicitors is an independent commercial law firm comprising Solicitors expertly trained in the field of trademarks, designs, patents and copyright law. Lawdit has built up a considerable client base ranging from JOHNSON DIVERSEY, WHIRLPOOL, ANN SUMMERS and MFI.

Cars for Stars Limited is a limousine and chauffeur car hire operator based in the UK operating as franchisor to a network of individuals and companies operating as authorised Cars for Stars limousine and/or chauffeur driven car franchises. Cars for Stars is one of the largest limousine operators in the UK.