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Law: What To Do If Hit With a Criminal Infringement Lawsuit

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Thanks to the nano-second, hyper speed world we live in, visual data and information is at our proverbial fingertips in terms of being both creative and business tech-savvy. You have a cool idea you want to expand on, one can research notes and study journals and notes from some of the most esteemed professionals in their respective field.

What if you get an idea for a patent on a potentially game-changing breakthrough? What if—say you break the human genome and find that elusive cure for cancer or some hot new technology that could benefit society in making our lives easier? Chances are you’d need to check and research if there are already any outstanding patents or trademarks on stuff similar to yours. Then, you’d have to file the necessary paperwork in getting the name and product copyrighted and protected from possible intellectual theft and copyright infringement.

But what is you don’t do all of this proper diligence and one day you are served with a lawsuit for copyright infringement?

Defined as “A copyright is a legal device that gives the creator of a literary, artistic, musical, or other creative work the sole right to publish and sell that work. Copyright owners have the right to control the reproduction of their work, including the right to receive payment for that reproduction. An author may grant or sell those rights to others, including publishers or recording companies. Violation of a copyright is called infringement.” by Legal Dictionary.

Per Bright Hub, the penalties for copyright infringement include:

  • Five-year prison term and $250,000 in fines for first-time commercial offenders.
  • One-year prison term and $100,000 in fines for first-time noncommercial offenders.
  • Ten-year prison term for repeat commercial offenders.
  • Six-year prison term for repeat noncommercial offenders.

And with the internet being both the breeding ground for both creatives and potential criminals alike various laws such as the The No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act) of 1997, The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 2003, The Author, Consumer and Computer Protection and Securities Act of 2003 and The Artist’s Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005 serve as both safeguards and preventive measures for creatives and offenders alike.

  • The No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act) of 1997 amended the 1976 Copyright law by removing the hitherto required proof of financial gain. The NET Act made it possible to levy criminal charges on people copying and distributing copyrighted works without permission, and also on members of software piracy groups for participation in a criminal enterprise.
  • The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 2003 implements the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization treaty and makes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services that circumvented digital rights management (DRM) access control measures as criminal offenses
  • The Author, Consumer and Computer Protection and Security Act of 2003 penalizes file trading over the internet, and makes even a single download for personal use a felony.
  • The Artist’s Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005 penalizes the filming of movies in a movie theater and early release of movies and software criminal offenses.

So what do you do if you receive a criminal infringement notice, whether it is civil, criminal or as something as simple as a parking ticket, be sure to hire proper lawyers such as Marsh Blom Lawyers of New South Wales. Hopefully you don’t find yourself on the receiving end of a notice, but if, so be sure to ask for a lawyer before speaking to authorities.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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