Whether it is the .gifs used to personalize websites, or software used to create website statistics, the vast majority of content posted on, and used to run, the internet is copyrighted material. Copyrighted material is generally protected by law regardless of whether the owner of the copyrighted material has filed for a copyright. Indeed, it is not always necessary to publish the material in order to have it protected by copyright law.
Because on-line businesses depend on the legal theories defining copyright law, entities doing business on-line must bring themselves up-to-speed on copyright law in general, and take steps to minimize their liability for inadvertent infringement of copyrighted material. Most on-line businesses overlook two critical areas: