Copyright Infringement Claims and Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Defense
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A copyright to a work is an “intellectual property.” Unlike real estate or your personal property, intellectual property is intangible (can not be physically touched).
In the most simple sense, this can be explained by comparing a “copy” of a work to the copyright of a work. When you buy a book on Amazon, you buy a copy of the book. Whether you buy the very first, handwritten copy – even if you buy the only copy – you merely own what is legally known as a copy of the book. On the other hand, the copyright is the ownership of a “basket” of other rights (explained below), the most obvious being the right to reproduce.
Under 17 U.S. Code § 102, copyright protects original works of authorship, fixed in any tangible medium of expression now known or later developed, from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
What Are Original Works of Authorship?
Original works of authorship are defined as something created by a human, with at least a minimal degree of creativity, known as at least “Di Minimus” creativity. Di Minimus creativity is nearly always satisfied, and the Office of Copyright will generally not judge the creative merit of the work.
Works of authorship include, but are not limited to:
- Literary works
- Musical works, whether the music is recorded or written in sheet music style, including any accompanying words
- Dramatic works, including any accompanying music, pantomimes and choreography
- Paintings or any type of graphic
- Any film, movie, motion picture, or other audiovisual work
- Sound recordings
- Certain architectural works
What does Fixed in a Tangible Medium Mean?
Fixed in a tangible medium means the work was recorded in some manner. This is most easily described by a physical recording such as: the work being committed to paper for literary works, digitally preserving or recording on tape for film, recording a song, or writing out sheet music. Paintings and sculptures are a fixed tangible meaning within themselves. Although not an entirely complete description due to the ever expanding world of digital and cloud based “recording” systems, you can generally think of “fixed in a tangible medium” as preservation that can physically be touched.
In simple terms, this means copyright protection is available on any original work saved in some way other than memory.
What Works can be Protected by a Copyright?
Copyright protection extends to obvious items such as recorded music, written sheet music, books (including comic books, graphic novels and E-Books), videos, films (including short films), paintings, drawings, graphic designs, sculptures and architectural drawings.
However, copyright protection can also extend to manuals, menus, brochures, logos, product labels, magazine articles, blog articles, websites and more.
Our Copyright lawyers in Broward County, Miami Dade County, and Palm Beach County can assist you with copyright registration, counseling, claims against your copyright, and copyright infringement lawsuits.
What is Copyright Infringement?
Copyright infringement is the use of the works of others. Those works qualify for copyright protection and are being used without permission, with the use infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder.
Under 17 U.S. Code § 106, copyright holders generally have six (6) exclusive rights in their work. These include:
- The right to reproduce the work
- The right to make derivatives of the work
- The right to distribute the work
- The right to display the work
- The right to perform the protected work
- In the case of digital recordings, the right to broadcast the work
When a copyright holder believes that one of his exclusive rights has been used without permission, the holder of a copyright may bring a claim for “copyright infringement.”
What are the Legal Penalties for Copyright Infringement?
There are numerous defenses to claims of copyright infringement including but not limited to:
- Fair use
- Challenging the validity of the copyright
- Express permission
- Implied permission
- Other strategies, depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case
However, being served with a copyright infringement claim or demand letter can create significant panic because Copyright law contains something called “statutory damages.” This means that in lieu of proving damages, the law provides for a “minimum penalty” when certain formalities in copyright registration have been meet.
The legal penalties for copyright infringement are:
- Statutory damages, which range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed; or
- Actual damages, the actual dollar amount of the injury (e.g. profits earned + other losses suffered)
In addition to the preceding penalties, the court may also order:
- Infringing party to pay the attorneys fees and court costs of the claim.
- An injunction to stop the infringing acts. Simply put, an injunction is a court order which if you fail to comply with, will place you in contempt of the court.
Did You Receive a Demand Letter for an Outrageous Amount of Money Claiming Copyright Infringement? We can help.
We search, register, and protect copyrights. We counsel and protect your copyrights against copyright infringement lawsuits in Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami Dade County and throughout Florida.
Copyrights can be lost if you are not proactive in your protections. We guide and counsel you on the steps necessary to protect and strengthen your copyright rights.
When an infringement or misappropriation occurs, our Florida copyright attorneys have the experience to act quickly and aggressively to enforce your rights, arrest the infringement, collect damages to your brands, and prevent further damage in the future.
We can take the worry out of copyright searches, copyright registrations, management, fulfillment, correspondence, and investigations.
Our Broward County, Miami Dade County and Broward County copyright lawyers handle all claims against copyright, and are copyright defense lawyers.
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