Copyright Infringement

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When an individual or entity obtains a copyright concerning a creative work, or any piece of copyrightable intellectual property, these copyright holders are afforded exclusive rights and protection by law.  The protection provided by the federal government, through the United States Patent Offices, offers creators of original works the ability to exclusively do a number of distinct items.  According to The Copyright Act, authors of published or unpublished original works can legally retain the exclusive rights of:

  • Public displays of copyrighted works
  • Public performance of copyrighted works
  • Reproductions of the copyrighted work
  • Production of derivative works from the copyright work
  • Distribution or dissemination of reproduced, derivative, or any other aspects of the copyrighted work

Within the scope of these copyright laws, however, original authors are granted full rights regarding the sale, transfer, or licensing of copyrighted works in one or all of the aforementioned fashions.  During these copyright law agreements, individuals or entities will agree to specific terms of copyright licensing or assignation including date, use, compensation, and virtually any other applicable consideration from either party.  In the event that these terms are not followed by the licensee, or in fewer instances, the assignee, a copyright holder can file suit for copyright infringement.  Likewise, individuals or entities that have their works reproduced, displayed, distributed, or produced in the form of a derivative work without the express permission of the copyright holder may also pursue legal recourse through a copyright infringement suit.

Copyright Infringement Civil Actions

Proving copyright infringement in the civil courts is contingent on several important encompassing factors.  The first of these is that the plaintiff individual or party indeed actually does hold copyright over an allegedly infringed upon work.  Establishing copyrights is done through the United States Copyright Office in strictest legal sense in most instances.  Once a right of copyright is established in favor of plaintiff parties, the burden of the proof is on the plaintiff’s attorneys to prove the alleged infringement consisted of three crucial elements, which are:

  • Plaintiff’s ownership of a valid copyright, which includes that of an original work of authorship in a fixed, tangible, and material state
  • Actual copying of the work in contention was done by defendant individuals or parties, which can be proven via direct or indirect evidence, including distribution, eyewitness accounts, striking similarity, or even admission by the defendants themselves
  • Defendants then utilized, or misappropriated, infringed upon copyrighted works within the public domain

Generally, in the case of copyright infringement cases, plaintiffs will demand an injunction against any future reproduction, distribution, performance, or production of copyrighted works or plaintiff’s can work out a licensing agreement for future use.  Likewise, past use of a copyrighted works may also be subject to compensation damages in some instances as well.  Additionally, in grievous violations or wanton infringement cases, the courts may also award punitive damages to ensure the judgment awards meet the level of harm done to plaintiffs.

  • If you have more questions or may need legal assistance regarding a Copyright matter, Consult Your Case for Free with a local experienced Intellectual Property Lawyer.