Copyright Infringement Remedies

Congress recognizes copyright infringement as a serious problem that can damages the U.S. economy as well as individual copyright owners. Therefore, the remedies, i.e., the fines and penalties under the Copyright Act, are severe. They are designed to deter and penalize the infringer and to fully compensate the copyright owner by disgorging gains the infringer might have obtained during the periods of infringement.

The Copyright Act allows the copyright owner to sue to recover several different kinds types of remedies: injunctions, damages and attorneys’ fees. Also, the role of jury in infringement cases is noteworthy.

  1. Attorneys fees. The court may order the defendant to pay the prevailing copyright owner's attorneys' fees and expenses incurred in bringing the infringement action. (Prevailing defendants may also recover their attorneys' fees).

  2. Injunction. The copyright owner may also ask the court to temporarily or permanently stop the infringer from further infringement. If the court issues an injunction, it will prohibit the defendant from engaging in some type of an infringing act, or it will order the defendant to undo the infringement. Injunctions are highly fact dependent.

  3. Actual Damages. Actual damages are the actual amount of money lost because of the infringement, plus any profits made by the infringer. Actual damages are intended to return the parties to the status quo - as if there had been no infringement.

  4. Statutory Damages. Statutory damages may be sought only if the copyrighted work has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office before the violation began or, if the work is published, within three months of publication. The amount of recoverable statutory damages depend on the number of infringed works, rather than the number of acts of infringement or unauthorized number of copies.

  5. Juries in Copyright Cases. A jury may set statutory damages for each infringed work in an amount that seems just in the circumstances and based on a per-work range of awards specified by the statute. For example, if the infringement was innocent, meaning the infringer had no reasonable way to know it was infringing, the jury can award damages of as little as $200 per work. For a non-willful infringement, the jury must limit the damage award to between $750 and $30,000 for each infringed work. For willful infringement, up to $150,000 per infringed work. An example of willfulness or the inference the jury an draw, arises when the copyright notice was on a work.

The copyright and trademark lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle have over thirty-years of experience defending and prosecuting intellectual property claims for large and mid-size corporations and businesses. We are knowledgeable regarding the changes and complexities of copyright and trademark law. We are committed to fighting for our clients' property rights or defending them against baseless infringement claims at both the trial and appellate court levels. We have successfully defended large corporations in multi-million-dollar copyright or trademark infringement suits and regularly prosecute complex copyright infringement cases for computer software having achieved large six and seven figure settlements for our clients. Conveniently located in Chicago and Elmhurst, Illinois, we have successfully litigated intellectual property, trademark and copyright cases for clients all over the Chicago area. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, you can contact us online or give us a call at 630-333-0333.

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