Many large, privately owned companies in Riverside County have copyrights for their many prints, publications, films, artistic materials and musical materials. These copyrights are a major source of revenue for these companies. So, when a copyright is infringed upon, it is important to understand what types of damages are available if the company pursues copyright infringement litigation. In general, the two types of monetary damages awarded in a copyright infringement case are actual damages and statutory damages.
The copyright owner can pursue actual damages based on the infringement suffered. When computing actual damages, profits made by the infringer are not considered. The copyright owner bears the burden of proving only the infringer’s gross revenue. The infringer bears the burden of proving their deductible expenses and profits not related to the copyrighted work.
Copyright owners can choose to pursue statutory damages rather than actual damages for all infringements involved in the case. This includes damages with respect to any specific work where an infringer is individually liable, or two or more infringers are jointly liable for at least $750 but not more than $30,000. If the copyright holder prevails in proving the infringement was willful, then the amount of statutory damages may increase up to $150,000.
If the case is one in which the infringer did not know and had no reason to know they were committing copyright infringement, the court can lower the amount of statutory damages awarded to not less than $200.
Companies should protect their intellectual property rights
The owner of a copyright can take legal action for copyright infringement when necessary. Learn what your company may be entitled to, so you can make decisions that are in your best interests.