Uncertainty over damages raises concerns over copyright law

| Feb 5, 2020 | Intellectual Property Litigation |

Copyright issues can be deeply concerning to many New Jersey businesses, especially if they produce goods that could have some interaction with others’ intellectual property. Infringement cases can result in massively differing penalties, and people may not know what to expect if a dispute develops between different rights owners. When a copyright holder accuses another person or business of infringement, they can seek statutory damages in court through litigation. The sums assessed can vary greatly, with penalties ranging from $200 to $150,000 per infringed copyright. These penalties are not necessarily linked to the damages suffered by the original copyright owner or profits accumulated by the alleged infringer.

Some industries are particularly prone to conflicts over copyrights, including software development, video creation and music. Creators may allege that their works are infringed by others, while they may say that they developed their projects through their own creativity. The issue of what exactly can be considered fair use still remains open for debate in many circumstances. Some reformers have urged changes to copyright law to set specific damages or caps in infringement cases, such as actual financial losses or a certain percentage above.

Copyright and patent trolls are also subjects of concern. These firms may bring large numbers of patent or copyright claims against website owners, artists, software developers or hardware manufacturers, asserting claims that their intellectual property is being violated. The initial claim may be dubious or even invalid, but many recipients of letters alleging an infringement may be likely to agree to a settlement payment rather than risk their chances in litigation.

For many business owners, copyright and other intellectual property issues are essential to their viability and future growth. An attorney may provide advice and guidance on how they can protect their creative works through intellectual property litigation while also defending themselves against false claims.

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