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Criminal copyright infringement and legal penalties

On Behalf of | May 21, 2015 | Intellectual Property

While many content developers across the state of New York and beyond may understand that it is important to secure their intellectual property rights, they may not be well acquainted with policies specific to copyright infringement. Being familiar with the many different types of conduct that can qualify as copyright infringement is an important aspect of enforcing federal intellectual property law guidelines. Beyond that, it can be helpful for potential copyright infringement claimants to be aware of the legal ramifications of such offenses.

Cornell University Law School explains that copyright infringement can be considered a federal criminal offense under a number of circumstances. Criminal infringement often revolves around the willful reproduction or distribution of one or more copies of copyrighted material of a value exceeding $1,000. Similarly, the distribution of copyrighted work to the public via a computer network is generally considered infringement if the content in question was intended for commercial distribution. Copyrighted material that can be covered under criminal guidelines includes sound recordings, audiovisual work, motion picture films, computer programs and music compositions.

Considering the legal consequences that can be associated with federal copyright infringement, Perdue University explains that both monetary and criminal penalties can be imposed. For instance, a party found guilty of infringement can be held liable for the claimant’s legal expenses, as well as lost profits and damages. Fines ranging from $200-$150,000 can be issued for each piece of infringed upon material. The illegal works in question can also be impounded, and the guilty party can even be sentenced to jail in some cases.


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