Our Experienced Copyright Lawyers Can Help if You are Thinking About Filing a Copyright Infringement Suit
There has been a noticeable increase in the amount of discussion surrounding copyright litigation in recent years. Perhaps it is because technology has made it easier for photographers to search and find illegal uses of their copyrighted images. Maybe, it is because several photographers have sued high-profile celebrities for illegally reproducing and using pictures of themselves.
Regardless of why, copyright seems to be a hotbed of legal conversation these days with more and more professional artists, writers, and photographers realizing that they do not have to sit idly by while others infringe on their copyrights. Seeking help from copyright lawyers is the first step toward understanding and protecting the rights you have to own, control, and receive compensation for your work.
US Copyright Law ensures that you can protect your copyright, which exists automatically upon taking a photograph. Holding copyright means that you own the exclusive right to reproduce, display, and use your photo. No one else may do so without your permission. That permission can be in the form of a license agreement or “for hire” contract. You have the right to sell or give away your copyright, but no one may take it without your permission.
If you are a photographer and you believe that someone has used your images without permission, you have options. One of them is to consider filing a lawsuit in federal court. Speaking with an experienced copyright infringement attorney is an essential part of your decision whether to file a case. At Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC, we have lawyers with the skills and experience necessary to help you protect your rights.
Some Important Considerations About Filing a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
Copyright lawsuits can only be filed in federal court. Copyright laws are federal and cover the entire nation. A state court will not hear a copyright case.
Consider registering your copyright. While you don’t have to register your copyright for it to exist, you do have to register it with the US Copyright office to receive statutory damages and attorney’s fees. You have until three months after the publication of the alleged infringement. Why does registering your copyright matter? Because statutory damages do not require you to show an exact amount of damages. Actual damages or costs caused by copyright infringement are often hard to prove.
Statutory damages can be as high as $150,000 for willful infringement. Also, statutory damages are awarded for each copyrighted image upon which infringement occurs.
To file a claim in court, you need to register the image with the copyright office. We can handle this process for you.
You may receive actual damages and profits. However, calculating these requires evidence of licensing history, the market value, and any earnings received by the accused because of the infringement. It can be difficult to prove actual damages, but in certain cases they can also be quite high.
Consider your defendant. Even if your copyright infringement case is a success and you receive a substantial judgment in your favor, you must collect the money from the infringer. For example, if a large corporation uses your copyrighted photographs, you will have an easier time collecting your judgment than if a teenager writing a blog is the guilty infringer. A defendant with no assets will be unlikely to be able to pay off a judgment.
Consider the scope of the infringement. A lawsuit can allow you to discover additional images that may have been used without your permission. While you may be aware of a single instance where someone or something violated your copyright, the litigation process can uncover more images and more violations you might not learn about otherwise.
Consider the statute of limitations on Copyright lawsuits. Generally, there is a three-year period upon discovery in which to file a case under US copyright law. It is difficult to know how much time you have left without hearing the specifics of your situation.
Contact Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC
If you are a photographer and are considering filing a copyright infringement lawsuit, contact Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC before you do. Our firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of photographers located across the globe. We aim to ensure that photographers receive fair and meaningful compensation for their work and that photographs remain in their control unless agreed to otherwise.
If someone has used your copyrighted images beyond the scope of an agreement or has violated your rights in any way, contact our office at (516) 233-1660. Our attorneys will happily discuss your copyright infringement lawsuit and provide you with a free evaluation of your case.