What Exactly Is Copyright Infringement, and How Can You Avoid It?

copyright infringement

In order to learn more about Copyright Infringement, we need to understand what is copyright and how Copyright Laws protect copyrighted work. We aim to explain to the readers what copyright is, how a government protects the intellectual property of its citizens, and the laws in place to safeguard the citizen’s interests. In today’s fast-moving and technologically advanced world, there is an abundance of information and original data on a daily basis with the help of the internet. This creates a need to produce original and non-replicated work.

To protect yourself from infringing on someone’s copyrighted material, we have written this article to explain the essential aspects of Copyright Laws and Copyright Infringement. We have also outlined the steps you can take to avoid Copyright Infringement. To understand what copyright infringement is, let us first understand what copyright is.

What Is a Copyright?

A copyright is a legal term by which an owner addresses their property. A Copyright is the legal right of the owner of their intellectual property. Every country has its own sets of national and international laws regarding the definition of intellectual property and its protection through copyrights. A Copyright protects the author/owner of the property by safeguarding their interests and gives them the exclusive authority to produce or recreate their work for a limited period. The author’s work can range from literary creation to musical compositions, illustrations, blog posts, articles, paintings, work, and much more. 

The Copyright Law provides exclusive rights to the owners. In simple terms, a copyright can be defined as the right to copy. Only the people or organizations authorized by the copyright owner have the right to reproduce the original work of the concerned author. 

When a person creates an original piece of work in which they have invested their creativity, originality, independent thinking, and mental work, this piece becomes the intellectual property of that owner. After the originality of such works is established, the owner is granted the intellectual property rights of that work. Such properties are protected from unauthorized duplication. The author must also prove that the content is void of replication. 

Scope of Copyright

Copyright protection is not available for all forms of work. Copyright does not protect new and different discoveries, ideas, concepts, and hypotheses. According to U.S Laws, a copyright concept does not apply to slogans, brand names, titles, or domain names. A creator’s Original work must be in physical form to be copyrighted. This implies that any discoveries, ideas, musical scores, or speech must be penned down in the tangible form to be guarded by copyright.

Copyright indeed protects a lot of work. However, there are still many criteria to be satisfied before a product, artwork, musical piece, etc., is eligible for intellectual property rights. A copyright cannot protect theories, discoveries, concepts, or ideas. In order for an original work to be copyrighted, it has to be written down in a physical format. That means the original work has to be in a tangible form to be copyrighted and protected by Copyright Laws. This also means that copyright law cannot protect brand logos, titles, slogans, domain names, etc. These intangible forms of work are not eligible for intellectual property rights. 

Copyright Laws in the USA

The copyright law in the United States of America has been outlined in Title 17 of the United States Code codified on July 30, 1947. And the most recent version of U.S. Copyright Laws was released in December 2016. The British Statute of Anne, which inspired the initial U.S. federal copyright law, the Act of 1790, is the root of U.S. copyright law. The Framers Of this law established a short copyright period of 14 years, with the choice to recommence it once for added 14 years. The U.S Legal Department did not make changes until the Copyright Act of 1976, 180 years after its inception, after which they greatly expanded it beyond that.

The Copyright Act of 1976, written in Title 17 of the United States Code, was the last major revision to U.S. copyright law. Apart from that, the Copyright Clause of Article 1, Sec. 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution expressly privileges Congress the power to enact copyright legislation.

Introduction to Copyright Infringement

Everyone has a right to own their property, and the property owner has exclusive rights over it. The same applies to Intellectual Property as well. According to U.S Laws and Customs, the creator or author of any creation is the owner of that property. This legal right of the owner of intellectual property is known as copyright. In simple terms, copyright refers to the right to replicate or copy any work. It means that only the original creator of things and anybody they provide permission to have the sole right to copy that creation.

To protect this copyright of the original creator, many laws have been established. In case a person infringes any other person’s copyright, different countries have enacted different rules for the same and to protect against such infringement. This article focuses on copyright infringement laws in the U.S.A. and the procedure to avoid them. Companies need to have a Data Room to prevent security threats and leakage of data. With the article on this website, we wish to throw light on the scope of copyright along with U.S. laws concerning it.

Copyright Infringement

Under U.S. laws, the act of exploiting one or more of the exclusive rights provided to the copyright owner under The Copyright Act Section 106 without authorization or legal authority is known as copyright infringement. 

Any person wishing to utilize a copyrighted work without infringing the owner’s exclusive right can only use it in the following three conditions:

  • He has the owner’s permission.
  • The person has obtained a compulsory license granted by the law.
  • By alleging that such usage is covered by certain legislative restrictions on exclusive rights, such as the “fair use” concept.

Infringement of copyright is both a criminal as well as a civil offense under the Copyright Act. Criminal violation includes infringing others’ exclusive rights for profit, pre-release of copyrighted work in public networks, etc. It consists of the right to control the distribution, reproduction, and exhibition of the copyrighted work in public or its performance. Civil violation consists of a breach of any copyright owner’s exclusive rights provided under Title 17 U.S.C.

Anyone liable for copyright violation in a civil case may be forced to pay either actual or “statutory” damages. The penalty for civil breach may start with $750, which can be extended to $30000 as the maximum amount.

If it is a willful infringement of copyrighted material, the court may order to pay up to $150,000 per work violated. Criminal penalties for willful copyright infringement can include up to five or more years of jail time in some circumstances. Fines of up to $250,000 per offense are also charged.

How to Avoid Copyright Infringement

It is advisable to avoid any copyright infringement to avoid trouble later. Here are some of the ways by which a person can avoid copyright infringement:

  • Understand the Copyright Laws: To avoid any copyright violation, one needs to understand what copyrights laws protect. By having a thorough knowledge of these laws, one can prevent their infringement both intentionally or unintentionally.
  • Use Original Content: When making materials for any purpose. The safest bet is to create the materials in-house. Though it may seem troublesome to some people, it is much better than trapping in a mess of copyright infringement and paying penalties.
  • Always seek permission before sharing: The first step in acquiring consent to use a copyrighted work is to identify the work’s creator so that you can contact them about using it. It is always recommended to draw up a written agreement regarding various issues, fees due, and the work’s purpose.


When an original work is made in a tangible medium, copyright is one of several types of intellectual property (I.P.) protection aimed to protect the creator’s, owner’s, or holder’s exclusive right to claim it as their own. In the U.S.A, Title 17 of the United States Code is the basis of U.S. copyright laws. These laws protect an individual’s exclusive right over their creation. However, if another person uses the copyrighted work in a manner that violates the owner’s exclusive rights, he’ll be committing copyright infringement. There are two kinds of copyright infringement in the U.S., civil and criminal, and both of them have different penalties. It is crucial to avoid copyright infringement to avoid further trouble. There are many different ways in which one can avoid copyright infringement:

  • have a good knowledge of the U.S. copyright laws
  • Always use your original content as much as possible, 
  • Always seek permission before sharing the information from the owner. 

These are some basic and simple things that may help you avoid copyright infringement.


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