[ilds] infringement: the law

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Sun Jun 3 18:11:55 PDT 2007

The equivocations of academics are a glory to behold; I am gaining a 
new respect for lawyers.

I am looking at The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, published by A&C 
Black, London, and this is what it tells me about US copyright law:

Criminal proceedings in respect of copyright
* Anyone who infringes a copyright wilfully and for purposes of 
commercial advantage and private financial gain shall be fined not more 
than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 3 years, or both.
* Following a conviction for criminal infringement a court may in 
addition to these penalties order the forfeiture and destruction of all 
infringing copies and records, together with implements and equipment 
used in their manufacture.
* It is also an offence knowingly and with fraudulent intent to place 
on any article a notice of copyright or words of the same purport, or 
to import or distribute such copies.  A fine is provided for this 
offence of not more than $2500.

There are also civil remedies that copyright holders can pursue in the 
courts.  These include injunctions, impounding books, destroying books, 
obtaining damages and a share of profits.

Although I do not immediately see infringement defined in accordance 
with American law, the yearbook does outline infringement as it might 
be viewed by a British court, and I would guess that an American court 
would not take so very different a view.  'Infringement may occur where 
an existing work provides the inspiration for a later one, if copying 
results, eg by including edited extracts from a history book in a 
novel. ... Infringement will not necessarily be prevented merely by the 
application of significant new skill and labour by the infringer.'


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