Copyright infringement occurs when any person or entity violates the rights of the copyright owner. For example, if someone reproduces, performs, or displays a copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright owner (and not in a way covered by the Fair Use Doctrine), they have committed copyright infringement. To be guilty of copyright infringement, the person or entity that commits the infringement does not have to be seeking monetary gain. In other words, a reproduction, performance, or display of a copyrighted work does not have to be made for profit in order to be an infringing act.
Proving Copyright Infringement
Anyone that claims their copyright has been infringed upon must be able to prove that they are the owner of the copyrighted material and that their rights as such have been violated. This requirement is part of why we strongly recommend registering your copyright. Copyright registration has several benefits related to asserting infringement, as discussed in greater detail in Part II of this blog series on copyrights.
Copyright owners must also be able to show that the person or entity that violated their rights exceeded the Fair Use Doctrine, which allows the use of copyrighted materials in certain situations and under certain conditions. The Fair Use Doctrine, also known as the Fair Use Exception, was mentioned in Part III of this blog series on copyrights and will be discussed in greater detail in a future post.
Remedies for Copyright Infringement
Injunctions, usually with a monetary award, are the most commonly sought remedy by victims of copyright infringement. An injunction serves to stop the infringing party from continuing to violate the copyright and, often, requires the infringing party to pay the copyright owner monetary damages. Permanent injunctions prevent the infringing party from ever engaging in the infringement again.
Other civil and criminal remedies may be available to parties who have had their copyright infringed—it all depends on the facts and circumstances. For example, singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo retroactively added Paramore lead singer, Hayley Williams, and the band's former guitarist, Josh Farro, as co-writers on Rodrigo's song “good 4 u” following allegations that the song was similar to Paramore's earlier hit “Misery Business.”[i] This change not only adds to Williams' and Farro's songwriting repertoire but also awards them royalties for a song that was a huge commercial success in the U.S. and abroad.
How Gallium Law Can Help
At Gallium Law, our IP professionals handle all types of copyright matters and will help you understand the benefits of pursuing copyright registration for your original works, as well as how to protect those rights. You may be a business or an individual; in either case, your original work should benefit you, not someone else who attempts to use it for their own benefit. Contact us today by either filling out the online form or contacting us at 651-256-9480 to schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation.
*The information provided in this article is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. This article is meant for informational purposes only and is intended as a starting point in your search for answers to your legal questions.