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How to respond if you deny the claim of copyright infringement

This advice applies to Scotland

This page tells you what to do if you believe you have not committed a copyright infringement. We refer to copyright owner but claims for compensation may also come from an exclusive licensee or solicitor working on behalf of a copyright owner or exclusive licensee.

How to deny the claim

You will need to write to the copyright owner and set out your reasons in full when you respond to the warning letter from the copyright owner or the appropriate parties acting on their behalf. Include all the information you can to support why you deny you are responsible for the infringement. Don’t ignore the letter.

You may only be able to say that you did not commit the copyright infringement and did not authorise anyone else to do so. Remember, it is up to the copyright owner to prove the allegation.

However, it will strengthen your case considerably if you can include any evidence that will prove that you were not using the computer at the time when the complainant says the infringement happened. For example, you may have been at work, or on holiday, or the computer may have been broken. Send any copies of documents, such as travel tickets or a confirmation letter from your boss, with your letter to support your defence.

The copyright owner must carefully consider your response before taking any further action. If the copyright owner has reason to doubt your denial, they are expected to set out their reasons to you in writing before they take you to court. If they fail to consider your response and take court action against you prematurely, they may be penalised by the court.

The copyright owner is not required to tell you whether they accept your denial. It could be that you never again hear from the copyright owner or exclusive licensee as they do not have to tell you if they decide to discontinue the claim.

If you deny the claim of copyright infringement, but the copyright owner ignores your explanation, they still have a right to take you to court, where the copyright owner has to prove the claim. However, they do not have a right to pressurise you into paying sums of money.

If the copyright owner takes you to court you should get specialist advice as any company based outside Scotland may only be able to start court action in the relevant Scottish court. If the company attempts to raise a court action in an English court against someone living in Scotland it could be the view of the court that you have been disadvantaged when trying to defend yourself against the claim.

Even if you have committed the alleged infringement, you're under no obligation to accept the settlement sum proposed by the copyright owner if you believe it's disproportionate to the alleged infringement.

If the copyright owner ignores your denial or explanation of what’s happened, and just repeats demands for money, you may be being threatened or pressurised. If this happens you should report them to Trading Standards.

Next steps

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