What You Need in Order to Sue for Copyright Infringement
Filing a lawsuit for copyright infringement can be a long, complex process. Before jumping into a claim with both feet, it is important to understand exactly what you are getting into.
If you own the copyright to a work, whether it is a piece of music, a literary work, a film or any other copyrighted creation, you bear the sole right to reproduce or distribute that creation. Anyone who distributes or reproduces your copyrighted material without your expressed consent may be liable for civil or criminal charges. Civil copyright infringement can result in you being awarded statutory damages of anywhere between $750 and $30,000. Willful infringement can bring about an award of up to $150,000, fines amounting to $250,000 and up to five years in prison for the offender.
If you believe you have been the victim of copyright infringement, you should take a few steps, including:
- Consult with a legal professional. Some lawyers focus specifically on the intricacies of copyright law. This can be incredibly valuable it if you intend to follow through with your claim.
- Carefully review your claim. To hold a valid copyright, it is not absolutely necessary to have registered your material. If you have created a piece of music, literature, choreography, architecture, sculpture, graphics, a motion picture or an audio recording, you have a valid claim to ownership over the copyright.
- Investigate the infringement. It is often necessary to show that the infringer had access to your copyrighted material. This access could include physical access or remote access via a website. It is also important to have your copyright attorney investigate any possible legal arguments the infringer could use to defend damaging actions in court.
- Decide if litigation is the right way to go. Often, a copyright lawsuit is expensive and time-consuming. If you don’t stand to recoup your losses or the matter isn’t worth the investment of your time, you might want to reconsider taking your case to court.
If you need to explore your options for filing a civil claim for copyright infringement, speak with a commercial litigation attorney in Houston today.