What is the Process for Enforcing a Copyright?
Legal Action to Enforce Copyrights
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Table of ContentsWhat is infringement and how does one enforce copyrights against infringement?Discussion QuestionPractice QuestionAcademic Research
What is infringement and how does one enforce copyrights against infringement?
Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work or some portion of the work is reproduced, distributed, performed, or displayed without authority. Authority must be obtained from the copyright holder. A copyright is enforceable through a federal court action. That is, the copyright holder can bring a federal lawsuit against someone infringing upon the copyright.
While copyrights attach without registration, the copyright holder must register her copyright prior to bringing a federal court action. Aside from allowing for litigation, a registered copyright provides a public record for the copyrighted work at the time of filing. Once in court, the copyright holder will seek an injunction from further infringement and any monetary damages suffered as a result of the infringement.
The registered copyright is presumed valid if the registration occurs within 5 years of creation. This means that any infringing party has to overcome this presumption in court. The federal statute providing for copyrights allows for statutory damages (up to $150,000) and attorneys fees (if the registration took place within 3 months of publication of the work).
Note: Copyright infringements are routinely resolved through negotiation of the parties.
Next Article: Defenses to a Claim of Copyright Infringement Back to: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW
Why do you think the copyright enforcement process requires registration? Are you convinced by the benefits of copyright registration? Can you think of any disadvantages?
Mary wrote a funny poem with great lyrics. One day, when listening to the radio, she hears a couple of lines from her poem in a popular song. If Mary decides to bring a legal action against the performer, what process will she have to follow?