So much of your most precious copyrighted property can be taken with the click of a mouse in the digital age. Because stolen content can emerge on file-sharing websites and in search engine indexes just hours after being committed, in some situations, the speed at which you respond to copyright infringement might be critical. The effectiveness of our company allows us to be more effective and respond more rapidly, which leads to better and faster results.

War IP Law can assist you whether you are a copyright owner trying to assert your rights or an individual or business being investigated for allegedly infringing the copyright rights of others. Our Washington, DC, copyright infringement lawyers can provide you with legal advice for the best course of action in your case and can take urgent action if required to defend your rights.

Contact our Washington law office, and we will protect and defend your copyright.

Why do I need a Copyright Infringement Lawyer in Washington DC?

Copyright infringement cases can be quite complicated and require a full understanding of the several copyright protection laws. Therefore, it’s to your greatest advantage to speak with a copyright infringement attorney if you think someone has violated your copyright in Washington. Whether or not your work has been lawfully infringed upon, including what damages you should seek to compensate you for the infringement, can be determined with the assistance of a Washington, DC, copyright infringement lawyer.

War IP Law will assist you in pursuing an injunction straight away to stop further copyright infringement and, if necessary, in negotiating a settlement with the infringing party. If a civil lawsuit is necessary, our Washington copyright attorney will also assist you in compiling the information required to support your claim and, if necessary, represent your interests in court.

Schedule your 30-minute “no-hassle” consultation with our law firm right away.

What is Copyright Infringement?

A copyright is a legal right established in an author’s work, per intellectual property laws. A new and creative work’s author is granted exclusive publication, distribution, and usage rights through copyrights. As a result, copyright forbids others from utilizing an author’s original work, at least not without that author’s permission.

What Are the Common Copyright Infringements?

The following are examples of copyrights and typical copyright infringements in addition to the above-mentioned rights:

Infringement of the Right of Reproduction

Owners of copyrights continue to have the exclusive right to reproduce their works in any fixed format. As a result, it is deemed an infringement of an owner’s right of reproduction when someone copies a work and sells it. Copying an original piece of art and selling it would be an example of infringing the right to reproduction.

Infringement of the Right of Public Performance

Unauthorized public performance of original music would be regarded as an infringement of the copyright owner’s right to public performance.

Infringement of the Right of Distribution

If someone sells unlicensed copies of another person’s original work, such as a piece of literature or art, that person is infringing the owner’s right to distribution. For instance, it would be illegal for someone to distribute copies of a famous musician’s music for profit.

Infringement of the Right to Derivative Works

Owners of copyrights can alter their original works or produce new ones based on their earlier works. An infringement of the right to derivative works occurs when someone makes a derivative work without authorization. The most typical illustration of this would be making a film based on a novel without the author’s consent.

Infringement of the Right of Public Display

Owners of copyrights are permitted to display their creations in public. This also applies to having their work posted online. A copyright owner’s right to public display would be infringed if someone published their original work online without the owner’s consent. For instance, it would be deemed an infringement of the right of public display to make a movie available to the general public online without the owner’s permission.

What Penalties Apply to Copyright Infringement?

When someone violates the exclusive rights of a copyright holder, the copyright holder has the right to file a civil lawsuit against the infringer to recover damages. The following are typical legal penalties for copyright infringement:

  • Compensatory Damages: Among the most common consequences of a copyright infringement lawsuit is the infringing party’s need to reimburse the copyright holder for any profits made from the use of the copyright.
  • Statutory Damages: These damages are defined by law, more precisely, Section 504 of the Copyright Act. The copyright owner may be entitled to claim statutory damages, which normally range between $200 and $150,000 per infringing work. For those who knowingly break a copyright, the legal damages will be greater; for those who weren’t aware they were doing so, the legal damages will be lesser.
  • Injunction: An injunction is the most common penalty for copyright infringement. A court ruling known as an injunction directs the party breaking the copyright to stop doing so.
  • Orders of Seizure: The court will frequently order that illegal property be seized if an infringing party is shown to have unlawful copies of a copyrighted work.
  • Criminal Penalties: When copyright is intentionally infringed, the offender may also be charged criminally and subject to punishments such as up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $250,000, or both, depending on the severity of the infringement.

The above damages, lawyer fees, and court costs may all be included in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Depending on the specifics of each case, a copyright infringement attorney can decide which remedies are appropriate.

How to Tell if Your Copyright Has Been Infringed?

The copyright belongs to the content creator, whether the work is a book, poem, painting, or sculpture. Creators of original works are granted certain exclusive rights over those works under the Copyright Act of 1976, including the exclusive right to reproduce, perform, or distribute the work, as discussed previously. If a third party uses your work without your consent and infringes on any of the exclusive rights specified by 17 U.S.C. 106, your copyright has likely been infringed.

You automatically have protection if you have a copyright; you don’t need to register it with the U.S. Copyright Office. Practically speaking, you must register your copyright before filing a lawsuit in federal court, though.

Remember that if a firm or individual hired you to produce the work, you could not be the owner of the copyright. In this case, it would be regarded as “work done for hire,” and the party who paid for “your” work would be the owner of the copyright. 

For instance, if an advertising agency employed you, the agency would own the copy you created on behalf of clients rather than you, as you were an employee of the business. Similarly, if a business hires you as an independent contractor to write software, they will contend that they own the copyright to whatever you do unless there is a specific agreement to the contrary.

How To Prove When Someone Copied Your Work?

It is crucial to remember that every litigation of copyright infringement is unique. Some instances of copyright infringement are evident. For instance, situations when someone completely reproduced a work protected by copyright and is distributing it without authorization for profit. The copyright infringement might not be as clear in other situations. For instance, if the infringer produced a derivative work similar to a work protected by copyright.

In such instances, relevant evidence may be utilized to demonstrate that the allegedly infringing work resembles the original work protected by copyright. The court would probably decide the two works were sufficiently similar if, for instance, your original work was a painting of four children playing with a red ball while being bullied by other kids, and the allegedly infringing work also features four children playing with a blue ball while being bullied by other kids.

Additional proof that the infringer had access to your work would add to the evidence supporting the infringement claim. For instance, if the blue ball artist and the red ball painter both resided in the same town, the red ball artist could use this as proof that the infringer had access to their original piece.

What Should You Consider About Before Starting Legal Action?

Depending on your relationship with the infringement, your first move can vary. Is it a former coworker or acquaintance or an unknown third-party company? If it’s a friend or coworker, you may start by getting together for coffee to talk about the issue before addressing the individual and explaining your part in writing, painting, or otherwise creating the in-question piece in a calm (but firm) manner.

If the alleged infringer is an unidentified third-party company, you may need to start by adopting a more formal strategy. For instance, you may send the CEO of the company a demand letter stating your ownership of the copyright and asking for a face-to-face meeting.

That third party might be open to speaking with you directly to settle without going to court. Most companies would want to reduce their legal risk, and they might be ready to pay you a settlement (providing they think your assertions have some verifiable merit).

In some circumstances, you might also think about recommending mediation. A mediator is a neutral third party who works with conflicting parties to improve understanding and negotiate a compromise. In some cases, mediation can be better than engaging in direct negotiations with the suspected copyright infringer.

How to Prevent Copyright Infringements?

The following will prevent you from unintentionally infringing the creative works of another person:

  • Recognize what copyright laws protect. Copyright laws are often mixed up with licenses, patents, and trademarks. Even though all of these are forms of intellectual property, copyrights are arguably the most easily obtained and broken-intentionally or not. 
  • Don’t use something if it isn’t your work. Copyright rules follow the same principle as the saying, “If it’s not yours, don’t touch it” The first step is to get the owner, author, or holder of the copyright to expressly permit any use of the copyrighted work. You are not permitted to use the work unless you are the owner of it. This holds even if a work doesn’t have a copyright sign attached to it.
  • The majority of what you discover online is not fair game. Since the content (blogs, literary or artistic works, etc.) was produced by someone else, everything you view or read online is typically copyrighted by default. You are unquestionably violating copyrighted content whenever you copy, reproduce, show, or otherwise present another’s work (like an image, musical recording, article, or any other form of work that you didn’t create) as your own. This is true whether you received financial gain from the use or not.

Call Our Seasoned Washington, DC Copyright Infringement Lawyer Now!

You could have a case of copyright infringement if your original work was used without your consent. Consult with a War IP Law copyright infringement attorney in Washington, DC, to remove the work that infringes your copyrights and pursue additional copyright infringement penalties.

If you have more legal concerns about intellectual property (IP), copyright law, trademark law, patent law, and infringement claims, schedule your 30-minute “no-hassle” consultation with our Intellectual Property law office right away.