Copyright Litigation

McHale | Slavin has extensive knowledge and experience in copyright litigation which, because of its potential complexity and the strength of the remedies provided for infringement, takes on major importance for any litigant in these cases. We have many years of experience successfully representing both plaintiffs and defendants, and bring our valuable understanding and depth to the needs of clients involved in copyright disputes.

In general, an infringer of copyright is liable for either: (1) the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer; or (2) statutory damages.

Actual Damages and Profits

The copyright owner is entitled to recover the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the infringement, and any profits of the infringer that are attributable to the infringement and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages. In establishing the infringer's profits, the copyright owner is required to present proof only of the infringer's gross revenue, and the infringer is required to prove his or her deductible expenses and the elements of profit attributable to factors other than the copyrighted work.

Statutory Damages

The copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just.

In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200.

Because the protections of copyright law and the remedies for infringement are among the most powerful of any area of the law, our knowledge and understanding in this field allows aggressive and focused representation, including the critical element of financial compensation and when appropriate, preliminary injunctions and enforcement remedies through U.S. Customs and other emergency relief. In defending against infringement allegations, the Copyright Laws' recognition that the right to fair use is as important as the protection of the author's rights in creation is often a critical issue. An understanding of the scope of any copyright protection and the actual nature of accused infringement allows us to defend lawful activity in the context of copyright infringement litigation. Contact us for additional information or to schedule a consultation.