If a holder of a copyright discovers that another party
has used his or her material for their own benefit, it is a legal right of the
copyright owner to file a civil lawsuit. Once a court has decided that has indeed
taken place, it may decided upon remedies to make up for any damages suffered
by the copyright owner because of the illegal activity. In most cases, courts
may find that the infringer of the copyright is liable for the owner’s actual
damages sustained from improper use of his or her product or statutory damages.
Damages and Profits
Judging by the nature of the copyright
infringement that took place on the copyright owner, the owner may be entitled
to the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the infringement.
This also includes any profits obtained by the infringer which are directly
linked to the copyright violation.
When establishing a proper amount of actual damages to
compensate for the infringer’s profits, the copyright owner is permitted to
present evidence based on the infringer’s gross revenue. At the same time, the
infringer must prove that the profits he or she has incurred are not directly
related to the copyright infringement through deductible expenses.
Before a judgment is decided upon by a court of
civil law, the copyright owner has the right to request the recovery of
statutory damages caused by the infringement, rather than actual damages. This
is based on any single work of authorship for which the infringer is liable
either individually or through joint involvement.
The sum of statutory damages is never less than $750 and
never more than $30,000. If the copyright owner is able to prove that the
infringer committed the violation willfully, the statutory damages sum may
increase to no more than $150,000. If the court finds that the infringer
unknowingly committed the violation, the statutory damages sum is lowered to no
less than $200.
Some cases may also provide further damages to the
aggrieved copyright owner under a certain condition. If the court finds that
the copyright infringer claimed to be exempt under certain conditions of a
violation, but actually was knowingly breaking the law, the copyright owner may
be entitled to twice the amount of the license fee for a period of up to three
years. This is in addition to any award of damages given to the copyright owner.