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What is a copyright infringer liable for?

Your company's copyright has been infringed, and you believe that when you go to court, the judge or jury will rule in your favor. However, you are not sure what you will get by pursuing legal action. Can the damage done to your company be repaired?

According to the Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute, the law does provide remedies for copyright infringement in hopes to repair damages done.

Infringer's Profits as Actual Damages

When the infringer used your intellectual property, he or she profited, and your business suffered a loss. The amount of this quantifiable monetary loss is considered your actual damages. To be awarded such damages, you must show the court evidence of the gross revenue of the infringer. However, the infringer may be able to offset that amount by showing evidence of deductible expenses or that the revenue was generated by other factors.

Statutory damages

You may also determine that you want to recover statutory damages instead. You must make this decision before the final judgment for your case. The court will determine the amount that it deems fair for your loss, usually between $750 and $30,000 for a single infringed work.

The court could decide to award you much more if you can prove that the infringer stole your property willfully. The maximum damages in this case is $150,000. On the other hand, if the infringer proves to the court that the infringement was completely accidental, the court could reduce the award to as low as $200.

Every case has unique aspects, and judges and juries have a great amount of discretion in determining the outcome of a case. Therefore, this general information should not be interpreted as legal advice. 

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