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Is Copyright Infringement a Civil or Criminal Case?

suing for copyright infringement

When you copyright your work, there is a sense of protection in knowing that you have ownership of your intellectual property. However, this does not always deter thieves from taking your work regardless. While this is unfortunate, you can take solace in the fact that those who commit copyright infringement will be held responsible in the eyes of the law. If you’re unsure of how this case is handled, you’ll want to continue reading to learn whether or not this is a civil or criminal case and discover how copyright infringement lawyers can help you get the justice you deserve.

What Is Copyright Infringement?

Copyright infringement occurs when a work that is protected under copyright laws is reproduced, published, or create a secondary work without the express permission of the copyright owner. Similarly, using this work for financial gain is especially prohibited.

For example, if a company makes a commercial with music from a popular artist without obtaining express permission from the individual, they will face a copyright infringement case. However, if the work is in the public domain, it may be used without explicit permission from the estate of the creator.

Is This a Civil or Criminal Matter?

Generally, if the violator committed the copyright infringement for monetary gain, it is a criminal case as it directly violates federal and state laws put in place to protect copyrighted work. In these instances, the copyright owner can sue the offender for monetary losses caused by their use of the work. For example, if someone republishes an author’s book and they make $1,000 as a result, the author can sue for financial compensation.

However, some copyright cases are civil, and they typically occur as the result of a dispute between companies or individuals. Civil copyright is generally remedied with fines ranging from $750 to $30,000 per infringed work.

What Should I Do if Someone Is Unlawfully Using My Work?

If you discover that someone is using your work for financial gain, you should retain the help of a competent copyright infringement attorney. The violator can face up to one year in jail minimum for their participation in republishing your work with disregard for your copyright protections. However, if the work was distributed on a public network, they can face up to three years or five if they received any sort of financial gain.

When your livelihood is at risk because of thieves, you don’t have to settle. Instead, ensuring you have a competent legal team on your side is crucial. At CopyCat Legal, we will do everything possible to hold those who steal and violate copyright laws responsible. Contact us today to get started to learn how we can help you.

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