To Claim Infringement;
To establish a claim of copyright
infringement in court, the party claiming that their copyright has
been infringed must prove:
- Ownership of a valid copyright. This requires that the
work being infringed be registered with the copyright
- Copying of constituent elements of the work that are original.
The law defines a “copyright infringer as someone who ‘violates
any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by
sections 106 through 118’ of the copyright law.”
A court with jurisdiction over copyright civil actions may grant
reasonable temporary and final injunctions, as appropriate, to
prevent or restrain infringement of a copyright.
While court actions are pending, the court may impound any copies
of the copyrighted work that have been claimed to have been made or
used in the infringement.
If infringement is proven, the court may order destruction of any
copies of the copyrighted work that have been claimed to have been
made or used in the infringement.
The copyright infringer is liable for
- the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional
profits of the infringer, or
- statutory damages.
Attorney's fees may be awarded by a court to whichever
Statutory damages and attorney's fees cannot be awarded
if, at the time of the infringement,
- the work is unpublished
- the work is published, but not
yet registered with the copyright office. (The only exception
to this is if the infringement occurs right after the work is
first published and the work is subsequently registered with
the copyright office within three months of first being
Infringement in some circumstances where the infringer makes a
profit may be a criminal offense. The copyright statute of
limitations is 5 years for criminal offenses and three years for