Your Remedies When Someone Steals Your Work

Once a copyright infringement is decided, what are the remedies available? The federal copyright laws outline the various remedies for infringement of federally registered works.

The remedies provided under the federal copyright laws are: injunctions, profits, and damages. Attorney’s fees and costs may also be recoverable.


An injunction orders the infringing party to discontinue any act that violates the copyright. Its purpose is to prevent further deception of the public and to minimize loss of income to the rightful copyright owner.


Any profits generated by the infringer can be determined by an accounting. Of course, the recoverable profits are limited to those directly related to the infringement.


These include any harm done to the rightful holder of the copyright. These damages are recoverable in addition to any loss of profits caused.

The copyright laws also provide for minimum and maximum damage amounts. That is, the injured party can claim the amounts for damages set forth in the copyright statutes instead of proving the infringer’s profits and other damages.

Fees & Expenses

The injured party in a copyright infringement case is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. This is different from trademark and patent infringement cases, where attorney’s fees are awarded only upon a showing of an “exceptional” case.

In addition, the court may order all infringing items to be impounded and destroyed. Furthermore, criminal penalties may be imposed against the infringer, in the form of a fine or up to a year in federal prison. Although criminal penalties in copyright infringements are rare, they are common in large record and tape piracy cases.