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Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  30 years of corporate, litigation and international law
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Can a copyright which was infringed upon by a defendant be

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Can a copyright which was infringed upon by a defendant be seized after the defendant wins summary judgement in a case wbere they asked to be paid for legal fees? The copyright was determined not to have losses but could collect losses if determined. The case was loss in part. The corporation was dissolved involuntarily by the Secretary of State so the owners of the copyright are now owned by the owners of the dissolved company. If it bad been determined by the defendants that copyright had not been damaged can they then take it for fees?

bizlaw :

Hello, I will try to help you. Please remember I just report or interpret the law, so the outcome may not be what you hoped for. I am not clear on your post in several respects. You say the defendant was sued for copyright infringement and damages. The defendant won on summary judgment on the basis that there were no damages. However, under the copyright law there are statutory damages which do not require proof of actual damages. WAs the basis of the defendant's victory that the infringement occurred but the owner elected to prove damages rather than statutory damages and could not prove the damages so he lost? Is that what happened? What do you mean by the case was "loss in part"? Are you saying the plaintiff moved for summary judgment and could not prove damages so lost the summary judgment even though the infringement occurred so the case is proceeding to a trial on the damages?


In part because the Plaintiffs owned the copyright personally and transfered it to their company. The two plaintiffs were dicharged because the owner was now the company. This was in part. The ownership was passed to their company within two months of discovering the infringement. There was a contract obtained by the owners with stipulations that if there was any outside interference with their existing copyrights then the $ 10MM


Was off. Since the deal fell through there was no way to contact the person making the deal and because the copyright was previously missing from the office that statutory danages could not be established.


The defendants used it with permission in 1997 but not in 2009. The copyright was created in 1995 as a derivative of an original copyright at the same time. The copyright office mixed up both the transfered image and the original submitted image but said they were not responsible for 10 years ago. So by going by the transfered date. Statutory could not go from 1995 but 2009 which was after publication. Four copyrights exist in the format in various derivatives.

Richard - Bizlaw and other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Since I had not given you an answer you should not have rated the answer but I thank you in any event. I would hope that when I finish you will think the service is excellent. Under Section 505 of the Copyright Act the trial judge has the discretion of awarding attorneys fees to the prevailing party. So the court has to power to award the defendant attorneys fees if the case is over and the defendant is the prevailing party.

If I understand you correctly, the copyright office made a mistake in registering the image in question and as a consequence the proper image was not registered until 2009 which was after the date of the infringement. Under these circumstances you might not be entitled to damages. However, if the defendant obtained permission in 1997 to use the image that would indicate that they had actual knowledge that the image was copyrighted. If you were denied recovery based on a technical failure of the Copyright office, given their actual knowledge I would think that you could argue it would be an abuse of discretion of discretion for the trial court to award attorneys fees in this unique circumstance.

If I have misunderstood something about your post let me know so I can clarify any issue that is not answered.
Hi Pete,

I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help?

Let me know,if you have any more questions.