Copyright infringement is a term that we hear a lot in today’s society. We see a lot of high profile cases where celebrities sue people for infringing on their copyrights, and we’ve probably all clicked on a YouTube video and seen the message, “Sorry, this video no longer exists due to copyright infringement”.

In order for someone to actually be guilty of this crime, three things need to be true. First, the copyright holder has to have a valid and legitimate copyright. Without rights to the copyrighted material, a copyright infringement claim will not stand up in court. Second, the defendant in the case needs to have some kind of access to the copyrighted work. Lastly, there are three exceptions to this crime. If the infringement doesn’t meet the qualifications for these exceptions, it will be considered copyright infringement.

The Exceptions

The three exceptions are:

  • Use by an educator for virtual education.
  • Use by an educator for instruction in person.
  • Used by an educator for fair use.

Penalties

If one of these exceptions does not get not met, this crime will occur. The penalties for this crime include:

  • A fine of $200-150,000, depending on the circumstances of the case.
  • Paying for the damages and paying the victim back any profits made.
  • Time in prison.