How to fight copyright infringement

Obtaining copyrights for your company’s intellectual property may provide a feeling of security. With the law on your side, you now have options to protect the creative works that generate income for your business.

Here are steps you may take if you discover someone has stolen your property.

1. Sending a cease and desist letter

This letter informs the infringing party of your rights to the works and demands that the use of them stops immediately. It does not carry any legal weight, and you are not necessarily even threatening litigation at this point. However, the other party may recognize the possibility and end the infringement.

You may want to include a copy of your copyright registration with the letter and request a response. Having a signature indicating that the other party received the letter may provide you with evidence that the infringement was not accidental if you must take the matter to court.

2. Filing a civil lawsuit

When you file a lawsuit, you can request an injunction from the court that prevents further infringement, and you may also request that the infringing party pay damages. The U.S. Copyright Office notes that the infringer may have to pay actual monetary damages that restore profits you lost due to the infringement. You will have to provide evidence of the losses in court.

Alternatively, you may request statutory damages before the final judgment. The court determines the amount that you should receive, generally between $750 and $30,000. Intentional infringement may result in larger awards. If the infringement includes multiple works, you may receive statutory damages for each one.

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