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Los Angeles Internet Copyright Lawyer

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

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Copyright law is the area of intellectual property most likely to be violated on the Internet. The widely reported problems of companies trying to control unauthorized pirating of copyrighted works demonstrates the significance of copyright law. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act demonstrates the role that copyright law plays in the Internet economy. The ease of the Internet to intellectual property facilitates the illegal reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works. Since copyrights are protected under federal law even without formal registration, copyright is likely the most frequent form of intellectual property protection.

The anonymity of the Internet generates a haven for copyright violations and their authors who perpetrate their deception by disappearing into cyberspace, often disguising themselves with stolen identities or hiding behind fabricated personas. Many enforcement agencies and many law firms are not equipped to assist those with copyright matters. Wex Law not only knows Internet law, we also have a thorough understanding of the Internet, network & computer forensics.

§102 · Subject matter of copyright: In General

  1. Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:
    1. Literary works;
    2. Musical works, including any accompanying words;
    3. Dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
    4. Pantomimes and choreographic works;
    5. Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
    6. Motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
    7. Sound recordings; and
    8. Architectural works.
  2. In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

§107 · Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

§1203 · Civil remedies

  1. Civil Actions. - Any person injured by a violation of section 1201 or 1202 may bring a civil action in an appropriate United States district court for such violation.
  2. Powers of the Court. - In an action brought under subsection (a), the court -
    1. May grant temporary and permanent injunctions on such terms as it deems reasonable to prevent or restrain a violation, but in no event shall impose a prior restraint on free speech or the press protected under the 1st amendment to the Constitution;
    2. At any time while an action is pending, may order the impounding, on such terms as it deems reasonable, of any device or product that is in the custody or control of the alleged violator and that the court has reasonable cause to believe was involved in a violation;
    3. May award damages under subsection (c);
    4. In its discretion may allow the recovery of costs by or against any party other than the United States or an officer thereof;
    5. In its discretion may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party; and
    6. May, as part of a final judgment or decree finding a violation, order the remedial modification or the destruction of any device or product involved in the violation that is in the custody or control of the violator or has been impounded under paragraph (2).
  3. Award of Damages. -
    1. In general. - Except as otherwise provided in this title, a person committing a violation of section 1201 or 1202 is liable for either -
      1. the actual damages and any additional profits of the violator, as provided in paragraph (2), or
      2. statutory damages, as provided in paragraph (3).
    2. Actual damages. - The court shall award to the complaining party the actual damages suffered by the party as a result of the violation, and any profits of the violator that are attributable to the violation and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages, if the complaining party elects such damages at any time before final judgment is entered.
    3. Statutory damages. -
      1. At any time before final judgment is entered, a complaining party may elect to recover an award of statutory damages for each violation of section 1201 in the sum of not less than $200 or more than $2,500 per act of circumvention, device, product, component, offer, or performance of service, as the court considers just.
      2. At any time before final judgment is entered, a complaining party may elect to recover an award of statutory damages for each violation of section 1202 in the sum of not less than $2,500 or more than $25,000.
    4. Repeated violations. - In any case in which the injured party sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that a person has violated section 1201 or 1202 within three years after a final judgment was entered against the person for another such violation, the court may increase the award of damages up to triple the amount that would otherwise be awarded, as the court considers just.
    5. Innocent violations. -
      1. In general. - The court in its discretion may reduce or remit the total award of damages in any case in which the violator sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that the violator was not aware and had no reason to believe that its acts constituted a violation.
      2. Nonprofit library, archives, educational institutions, or public broadcasting entities. -
        1. Definition. - In this subparagraph, the term “public broadcasting entity” has the meaning given such term under section 118(f).
        2. In general. - In the case of a nonprofit library, archives, educational institution, or public broadcasting entity, the court shall remit damages in any case in which the library, archives, educational institution, or public broadcasting entity sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that the library, archives, educational institution, or public broadcasting entity was not aware and had no reason to believe that its acts constituted a violation.

§1204 · Criminal offenses and penalties

  1. In General. - Any person who violates section 1201 or 1202 willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain
    1. Shall be fined not more than $500,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, for the first offense; and
    2. Shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, for any subsequent offense.
  2. Limitation for Nonprofit Library, Archives, Educational Institution, or Public Broadcasting Entity. - Subsection (a) Shall not apply to a nonprofit library, archives, educational institution, or public broadcasting entity (as defined under section 118(f)).
  3. Statute of Limitations. - No criminal proceeding shall be brought under this section unless such proceeding is commenced within five years after the cause of action arose.

Recognized for his exceptional Internet and law background Wex Law founder Michael Sean Devereux has been interviewed in media broadcasts and articles, including, The Wall Street Journal, America Now with Leeza Gibbons & Bill Rancic, The Verdict with Paula Todd, KABC Los Angeles, KGO (San Francisco's ABC affiliate), KKSF Gil Gross Show Talk Radio 910, the e-Commerce Times, Tech News World, and e-Commerce Law & Policy. In addition, he has been a speaker on the Internet law at various forums including the Chapman School of Law Nexus Symposium. Call today for a free consultation

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