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NYC Litigation Blog

Monday, August 19, 2019

Elements of a Copyright Infringement Case

A copyright provides legal protection which grants creators the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and create derivative work of a copyrighted entity. If someone other than the copyright holder uses copyrighted material without the owner’s permission, copyright infringement has occurred. It can be a costly legal mistake to infringe upon the copyright of another. The party responsible for the infringement may be held liable for damages including $750 to $150,000 per work, or the actual damages and profits that were earned because of the infringement. Additional penalties may include court costs and attorney’s fees and, in some instances, even jail time.

What Are the Elements of a Copyright Infringement Case?

To bring a copyright infringement claim, you must first show that you are the registered owner of the copyright. The copyright must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office by completing the requisite form, submitting a copy of the work to be copyrighted, and paying the registration fee. You must also be able to show that your exclusive rights relating to the copyrighted material have been violated.

There are two types of copyright infringements that can occur. A primary or direct violation involves direct infringement of the copyright. A secondary violation occurs when a person helps someone else infringe upon a copyright. With a direct violation, you need to demonstrate that two works are similar or that one is actually a copy of your work. You will need to be prepared to prove that the defendant had access to your work and misappropriated it in direct violation of your copyright protection. With a secondary violation, it will need to be determined whether the third party contributed to the copyright infringement by either providing the means for the infringement or whether the third party had the right and ability to supervise the infringement activity and had a financial stake in the infringement. 

To enforce your copyright, you may first wish to send a cease and desist letter informing the third party that the copyright violation is occurring and that it should stop immediately. Sometimes, cease and desist letters, even if multiple were sent, are not effective. If this is the case, a copyright holder may bring suit in federal district court in order to enforce his or her legal rights pertaining to the copyright. The repercussions for being found guilty of copyright infringement can be quite costly and will require the immediate end to the infringing activity.

Copyright Infringement Attorney

If you suspect that your copyright is being violated, contact trusted copyright infringement attorney Thomas M. Lancia. The creation of copyrighted material can be intense and deeply personal. A violation of your copyright protections can feel like a personal attack. Attorney Lancia will help see that the infringing activity is stopped and that you are properly compensated.  Contact Attorney Lancia today with any of your copyright questions or concerns.

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