This will be the last post on the fundamental basics of Copyright law and will cover what happens when a plaintiff successfully sues a defendant for copyright infringement. The short answer is that the plaintiff will be entitled to damages, real and those imposed by the law and injunctions, orders telling the defendant to stop…
Copyright infringement is a two way street of course. Someone may copy your work – or you may be charged with copying someone else’s work. Either way, the plaintiff, that is the copyright owner is going to have to jump over a few hedges to make the case.
Fair Use is one of those terms that can raise a lot of passion among people. Some people today say that all use should be more or less “fair” and it is unfair for big media companies to try and hassle people. The traditionalists in the crowd say that fair use is merely a small limitation on the rights of copyright owners so that others may use portions of their works for certain purposes.
A creative work is protected by copyright from the moment the work assumes a tangible form – which in copyright circles means as soon as the work is “fixed in a tangible means of expression.” You don’t have to put a notice on the work – or register it with the US Copyright Office in Washington to get protection – although there are some benefits to doing these things if you are creating a major work.