Monetary Damages for Copyright Infringement

September 12, 2012, 04:02 PM

The Copyright Act provides a variety of relief for a copyright owner. Injunctive relief, impoundment, seizure and destruction are available in addition to monetary damages. The copyright owner may seek actual damages, which can be difficult to prove. Prior to the entry of a final judgment in an infringement action, the copyright owner may elect to receive statutory damages without proof of actual damages. Statutory damages are awarded per work, and not per infringement, and may not be recovered if the infringement occurred prior to the date upon which the work was registered, regardless of whether the infringement occurred after registration. For non-willful infringement, the minimum award is $750 per work and the maximum award is $30,000 per work. In the case of willful infringement, the maximum award is $150,000 per work. A court may also award costs and fees to either party to an infringement action. —Nicole J. Harrell