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What Are the Consequences of Copyright Infringement?

If you use a copyrighted work without permission and your usage is not exempt under copyright law, you are infringing upon the copyright holder's rights. The copyright holder can sue you for actual damages or loss of profits. The copyright holder may also seek statutory damages up to $150,000 per infringement. See Section 504 for additional detail.

Good Faith Fair Use Defense

Section 504(c)(2) of the law extends some additional protections to employees of nonprofit educational institutions, libraries and archives. This section, which is called the Good Faith Fair Use defense, allows the court to reduce the statutory damages for infringement to zero if the infringer believed, and had reasonable grounds for believing, that

  1. the usage was protected under fair use AND
  2. the usage was made within the scope of their employment.

This is why it is so important to document and file your copyright analysis decisions.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide legal advice. If you are uncertain as to your rights and responsibilities, you are encouraged to seek an attorney’s advice.

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