Damages 101

What damages can you get if your content is pirated or illegally copied or shared? Copyright law provides various damages (§504): money damages or an injunction (to stop DVD sales/streaming). You can get (1) actual damages (plus the pirate’s additional profits) or (2) statutory damages.

Actual Damages

For actual damages, you must prove the pirate’s gross revenue, then the pirate has the burden of proof to show how much revenue wasn’t from infringement.

Statutory Damages

Statutory damages range from $200 to $150,000 per infringement.

  • $200 = no notice of copyright
  • $750 – $30,000 = statutory damages
  • $150,000 = willful infringement
  • 1 fine for multiple infringements of same material, not per view

Willful infringement §504(c)(2)

Court looks at the pirate’s overhead expenses and the pirate must prove to Court that those expenses are reasonable.

Willful = pirate knows its copying is infringement

  • Actual or constructive knowledge inferred from conduct or proven directly
  • Reckless disregard of copyright owner’s rights + actual knowledge of infringement sufficient
  • History of prior copyright actions can be used

Punitive damages if (1) pirate’s conduct reprehensible, (2) disparity between copyright owner’s harm and award, (3) award vis-à-vis civil penalties in similar cases (up to 4x compensatory damages)

My law firm is experienced doing take downs of clients’ copyrighted content under the DMCA. We help you protect your content, and can counsel you on monetizing your content.

Steve Johnson is an experienced Kansas and Missouri entertainment law attorney who enjoys working with individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations to serve their copyright needs.

Call (913-707-9220) or email (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) Steve Johnson, of Johnson Law KC LLC, today to help with all your entertainment law and copyright needs.

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