When you think of pirates, you may picture swashbuckling sailors with eye patches. However, pirates look much different today. They can be any age, residing anywhere in the world so long as they have computer access. Unfortunately, this digital piracy has only increased over the years, putting content creators at risk of their work being stolen. The following blog explores what you must know about digital pirates and how a copyright infringement lawyer can assist you by registering your work and filing a claim.
What Is Piracy?
Piracy is a slang term for copyright infringement. This refers to the days when pirates would board ships to steal the belongings of others. However, this modern-day piracy operates differently.
Generally, this means someone makes an exact duplicate or copy of another’s work, generally in terms of digital media. This means if you illegally download, make copies of, or share another person’s copyrighted content, you are committing piracy. Most commonly, movies, MP3s, and software are subject to piracy,
Unfortunately for content creators, piracy is a significant issue. Because technology is constantly evolving, it’s becoming easier for others to steal copyrighted content. As such, industry leaders are constantly looking for ways to stop the theft of copyrighted content.
What Are the Penalties for This Offense?
There are significant consequences for those who pirate the work of others. In a civil suit, the owner can recover actual damages, including lost profit and profit from the theft made off their work from the infringement. However, they may instead pursue statutory damages of up to $30,000. If the infringement was willful, the courts may award up to $150,000.
In some instances, a violation may be a federal crime, if done so willingly with intent to profit. In this case, the violator may face up to ten years in prison.
What Should I Do if I Believe Someone Pirated My Work?
If you believe someone pirated your work, it’s important to gather all the necessary information. This includes screenshots of your work, dates, URLs, and usernames of the individuals involved.
It is important to note that not all uses of copyright material constitute an infringement. If your software is uploaded to another website where people can download it for free, that is piracy. However, if a Youtuber is reviewing music and plays a portion of your song before talking about it, that constitutes Fair Use. As such, they would not be charged with piracy because their use of your work is transformative in nature.
When you have a legitimate piracy claim on your hands, it’s essential to contact an experienced attorney from CopyCat Legal, PLLC, as soon as possible. We understand how frustrating it can be to see the work you’ve dedicated your life has been posted for free on another website. As such, we will do everything possible to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to learn how we will fight for you.