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Using another’s work to pass as your own constitutes a significant offense. Generally known as plagiarism, copyright infringement can bring significant charges if convicted. Ensuring that your work does not use portions of another writer’s information helps ensure that you avoid penalties.

Copyright infringement occurs across the United States, but the court works to protect the original work of all individuals under copyright protection. Should you find yourself accused of copyright infringement, you want to collect all necessary documents and speak with an attorney specialized in intellectual property law. As these charges could involve serious punishments, you want to hire the best defense.

Identifying copyright infringement

Copyright infringement occurs when you use information or copyrighted material in your own work, but you do not give credit to the original author. Instead, you pass the information off as your own thoughts and creation.

You can face conviction if you engage in any of the following actions with copyrighted material.

  • Reproducing copyrighted documents
  • Preparing works based on the copyrighted material
  • Distributing copies of the copyrighted work (including sale or lending)
  • Performing the copyrighted work publicly through literary, musical or choreographic works
  • Playing audio of copyrighted material

You want to avoid using anyone’s copyrighted original work in any of your own. Especially in the age of the Internet and technology, you want to use extreme caution when developing “original” work online, as those monitoring copyright infringement may quickly compare your work with copyrighted material.

Copyright infringement penalties

Though many assume that copyright infringement is a victimless crime unless performed in mass quantities, significant penalties arise if you are charged and convicted of copyright infringement. Some punishments, based on the level of severity of your crime, include:

  • Jail time
  • Up to $150,000 in fines
  • Repayment of the damages in profits
  • Seizure of your production

It is essential to hire an attorney to avoid significant penalties in relation to copyrighted work. Know that the United States works to protect all material under copyright laws and imposes serious punishments on those who violate copyright laws.

The author's opinions expressed in this article are strictly his/her own and should not be attributed to any others, including other attorneys at Klein DeNatale Goldner or the law firm as a whole.