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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
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Is copyright infringement in US kind of civil case, not criminal

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Is copyright infringement in US kind of civil case, not criminal one?
Hello, my name is Brandon. Thank you for your question. Copyright infringement can be both a civil and a criminal matter. The victim of copyright infringement may recover civilly for damages, and it may be prosecuted criminally as well.

Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

A website posted two clips of video on the web owner's website. Of course, it is not authorized. The videos are copyrighted material of our society. They made clips from the original without permission. Worst than that is it distorted the meaning of the Buddhist teaching by changing the title. It distorted the contents. The website is now closed for now because we reported Yahoo the copyright infringement. The domain will expire on 11/16. Yahoo told us we can claim the ownership of the domain name by giving them a subpoena or court order, or the owner of the website can resign or transfer the website to other web service provider.

What is the best way for us to do before 11/16, 3 weeks from now?

A DMCA subpoena, an injunction, or ..?

Please suggest. Besides, the many articles from many books with our copyright are also posted on that web site.

I'm a bit unclear on why you're interested in taking ownership of the domain name. I can understand the function of terminating publication of your copyrighted material, but it's not clear to me why that would be legally appropriate or factually necessary. What am I missing?

That said, this is now a question of strategy, and that is difficult because every situation is different, so this information should not be relied upon as complete or advice without having the subject matter examined in person by legal counsel. Still, an injunction would normally be the legal tool that you would want to use to force someone to prohibit the continued unauthorized use of copyrighted material. It is an appealing choice because a temporary injunction can be granted almost immediately while a permanent injunction is pending, so you don't have to wait months or longer to get relief.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

You are right. The website defamed Y who is a religious leader, after the website holder C accused Y had sexual relationship with her. The charge did not hold. Then C invented a fake story in her web, which can be proven a false one by evidence now.

This web site has many back links. That's why we want to take the ownership of the domain and replace it to an announcement of ours.

What is your suggestion?

You said that this website has many back links -- I'm not sure that I understand what that means. Could you explain?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many other websites link to C's website hosted by Yahoo!

If C's website didn't display the copyrighted content, wouldn't that resolve the issue? I apologize for asking and I thank you for your patience--I just want to make sure that I understand.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

But, Yahoo told us C can resign to use the domain when it expires on 16 of Nov., three weeks from now. Or, she can transfer to another web service provider. At that situation, it will hurt us again. That's why we think it is urgent. Thanks for your help.

Just to be clear-an injunction prohibits someone from doing something; if they do it, it is a criminal offense and they can be put in jail. If a website owner is enjoined from operating their website in a certain way and they do so anyway, they can be put in jail regardless of who the web service provider is. I understand that there may be complications with locating the perpetrator, and perhaps they are even overseas, so it does make sense to me why that might be a less than perfect solution.

Unfortunately, there may not be a perfect solution for this particular matter, but we can discuss the options. I was a bit resistant to the idea of seizing a website to avoid publication of its material because it's important to recognize that for any given case, it isn't likely that a court is going to transfer ownership of anything specific to someone else. As previously discussed, every situation is different so the nuances would have to be considered with greater attention than what can be done here, but one potential scenario would be to just sue the defendant for damages already suffered. Upon a favorable civil judgment, the website's ownership could be seized, just like any other piece of property could be seized to satisfy a judgment debt. If the court orders a defendant to pay $100,000 in damages and if the defendant owns a website fairly valued at $200, ownership of the website could be seized and the defendant's outstanding debt drops to $99,800.

It's potentially a bit difficult to do it without a civil lawsuit because transfer of ownership of a specific piece of property to avoid a harm that has not yet been committed generally isn't legal, so the most obvious alternative would be to just collect it as a part of an existing judgment debt, and that would mean first filing a civil lawsuit.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

From whois, we know that the web holder lived in USA. Pls. verify my idea in the procedures of doing this.

1. Apply a DMCA subpoena to make sure the web site holder. Ask Yahoo give out personal information and infringing file or data.

2. File a criminal lawsuit against C in the position of the copyright authorized party. Our party is outside US. Do we have to present in the court every time or just fist appearance?

3. Can the publisher sue for civil compensation combined with the criminal lawsuit above?

4. Can you recommend law firms in Seattle suitable for this, best can read Chinese because all of the infringing material is in Chinese.

Individuals cannot file a criminal lawsuit for copyright infringement--those are initiated by the government (specifically, the U.S. Department of Justice). Individuals can file civil lawsuits for copyright infringement.

A subpoena must be issued pursuant to a court action, such as a lawsuit, that has already been filed. The lawsuit would be filed first, then the subpoena served. If the name of the defendant is unknown at the time of filing, it's possible to name "John Doe" as a defendant and then amend the complaint once the defendant's identity has been ascertained. Speak with a lawyer in person to assist with this process before attempting to do it yourself.

Most personal court appearances can be avoided, and they can oftentimes be avoided altogether if you are represented by legal counsel. For necessary court appearances, an attorney can appear on the client's behalf for most matters.

I am not allowed to make specific referrals to attorneys, but I can refer you to the King County Bar Association, and they can put you in touch with a reputable lawyer that meets your criteria. If you tell them that you are interested in an attorney that can read Chinese, they may be able to help with that as well. You can visit their referral website here:
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