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The Moola Involved in Copyright Infringement Lawsuits

Today we’re gonna talk about statutory damages and what that means if you ever have to sue someone for copyright infringement.

So, statutory is just a fancypants, legalese way of saying “found in the law.” Statute is another word for law, and when something is statutory, that means you can look at the law and find it right in the words. Damages refer to the harm that you were caused by the other party (obviously). For example, if you wrecked my car, my damages would be what the car was worth.  Of course, I would have to prove what my car is worth, and that’s a pain.  (Also, I’m never lending you my car again.)

So! Statutory damages are damages written right into the law that spell out how much money it would take to repay you for the harm someone caused you.

When it comes to copyright infringement, the statutory damages provided for in the U.S. Copyright Act can go up to can go up to $30,000 for each work infringed upon, and up to $150,000 if the court finds that the infringement was willful, (i.e., the infringer had notice that they were infringing on your work and chose to continue to do it anyway).  This means that instead of you having to justify the exact dollar amount of damages the infringement caused, you’d get the $30,000 [and potentially $150,000 for willful infringement]. Ooh and they also include attorney’s fees if your suit is successful.

Add it to the list of reasons to copyright your creative works ASAP!


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