Law Offices of Roland Tong, P.C.
Premier Southern California IP Law Firm Focused on IP Litigation and Procurement of Patents and Trademarks
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What damages can I claim in a copyright infringement suit?

Perhaps someone stole a piece of written work that you created. Perhaps someone stole a film, photograph or another work of art from you that you registered with the United States Copyright Office. Regardless how it happened, if you've been the target of copyright infringement, you may be able to pursue financial compensation in court for the harm that was done.

When pursuing a copyright infringement case, first you have to prove that you registered the work that was infringed with the United States Copyright Office. Next, you'll need to show that the infringement happened following the effective copyright registration date. Then, you'll have to show that the infringer is indeed financially liable. Finally, the court will need to determine the amount of financial damages the liable party should pay you.

Pursuable damages in a copyright infringement matter may be:

  • Actual financial damages relating to lost profits and other damages.
  • Statutory damages, which could be anywhere from $750 to $30,000 per infringing copy.
  • In the event of "willful infringement," the copyright holder can seek increased statutory damages of as much as $150,000 for every infringing copy.

It's important to keep in mind that a copyright will be automatic for anyone who creates a specific work, and no registration is necessary to receive this protection. However, in the case of a non-registered work, the copyright holder may only seek actual damages. As such, there is certainly an advantage in terms of protection when an individual registers a work.

Has your company or yourself been subjected to copyright infringement? An Irvine copyright attorney can help you protect your legal rights.

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