Intellectual property rights are important. Any copyright infringement can have a detrimental impact on the benefits you reap from your hard work. If you have written or created something that is copied or otherwise heavily used without your permission, you are a victim of copyright infringement, also known as a copyright violation, and you have the right to take action against the person unfairly using your work. An intellectual property lawyer from the Priori network will be able to work with you to take down the work infringing on your copyright and pursue other remedies for copyright infringement.
What Is A Copyright?
A copyright is an intellectual property right that protects a wide range of creative, intellectual, and artistic works. These traditionally include books, short stories, poems, theses, plays, literary works, movies and motion pictures, choreography, song lyrics, musical compositions, sound recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, computer software, radio and television broadcasts, and television shows. Any time you create such a work, it is automatically afforded copyright protection without any action on your part. However, registering your work provides a number of benefits: it creates a public record of the copyright, provides you with a certificate of registration, and may allow you to collect statutory damages and attorney’s fees stemming from successful litigation.
What Is Copyright Infringement?
A copyright owner owns a bundle of rights associated with their work. When one of these rights is used without the express consent of the copyright owner, it is considered copyright infringement or a copyright violation. The following are the rights generally associated with copyrights and some common associated copyright infringements:
- Right of Reproduction. You have the right to reproduce your work in any fixed form. An example of copyright infringement is if someone paints a copy of your painting and sells it.
- Right of Distribution. You have the right to distribute your work by selling it, leasing it, displaying it in public, or lending it. An example of copyright infringement is if someone sells unlicensed copies of your poetry.
- Right to Derivative Works. You have the right to modify your work or create a new work based on the work. An example of copyright infringement is if someone films a movie based on your book without your permission.
- Right of Public Display. You have the right to show your work (or a copy of your work) directly to the public. This includes putting copyrighted work on the internet. An example of copyright infringement is if someone uploads your photography to a website without your permission.
- Right of Public Performance. You have the right to recite, play, dance, or act out your work. An example of copyright infringement is if you write a play and another person produces that play without permission.
There are, of course, limitations and exceptions to these rights. Generally, people can use your works within the fair use exceptions of copyright protections, and they may use your work if it is in public domain, that is, no longer under copyright protection.
If your material is used without your permission online, also known as internet piracy or digital piracy, you can simply request a DMCA takedown of infringing material under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act if you only wish to have the content removed. All you must do is issue a DMCA Takedown Notice in the proper format to the website host publishing content in violation of copyright protection act or not in accordance with content owner’s wishes. A formal copyright is not necessary to take advantage of DMCA takedown protections.
Remedies for Copyright Infringement
Most people who experience copyright infringement simply want the infringing work removed or destroyed, but you are entitled to seek damages as well. If you are a victim of copyright infringement, you have the right to seek the following penalties against the person violating your exclusive copyrights through copyright courts or within the jurisdiction where the infringement occurred:
- Monetary damages for the infringement between $200 and $150,000;
- Transfer of all profits the infringing party made off your work;
- Reimbursement of all attorneys fees and court costs associated with pursuing your copyright claim;
- Injunction against the creation and use of the infringing works;
- Impoundment of infringing works; and
- Jail time in the most extreme copyright infringement cases.
You can discuss which specific penalties you wish to pursue with an intellectual property lawyer. In some cases, you may also be able to simply issue a cease and desist letter if you only want infringing material taken down.
Depending on your needs, the cost of hiring a lawyer to address copyright infringement can vary. Priori lawyers offer transparent flat fee packages for copyright infringement demand letters and DMCA takedown letters, ranging from $400 to $750. Hourly rates for these sorts of lawyers typically start around $185 per hour and range upwards from there. In order to get a better sense of cost for your particular situation, put in a request to schedule a complimentary consultation and receive a free price quote from one of our lawyers.
What are fair use exemptions to copyright protections?
It is considered fair use of copyrighted material to teach, critique, review, reference, satire, or otherwise use copyrighted material in a way that either gives credit to the copyright holder or significantly repurposes the content within limits. Whether or not a particular use of an author’s work falls within these categories of fair use is determined on a case-by-case basis based on the exact manner of use.
Do I have to register a copyright for my work to be protected against copyright infringement?
No. Copyrights are automatically granted the moment an original work is created.