Everyone has an artist inside him, and while expressing his art form, he may take inspiration from others. However, U.S. copyright law prevents the unauthorized duplication and distribution of any qualifying, original works fixed in a tangible form of expression. Things can turn worse if you are accused of copyright infringement, which is a form of theft of original thinking.
An allegation of copying an original work, known legally as intellectual property, without the copyright owner’s consent and knowledge can be a civil tort, a criminal offense, or both. Another similar misdemeanor known as plagiarism involves using a source to quote small passages, usually as evidence, without accurate citations to the original work. California has strict laws prohibiting the sale and distribution of term papers, theses, etc., to prevent plagiarism.
In California, copyright infringement is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by fines ranging from $100 to $50,000 coupled with up to one year of imprisonment. In cases where one makes huge profits over $2500 off plagiarized material, they may face ever higher fines and more time in jail. Examples of copyright infringement cases:
- Uploading and distributing copyrighted movies on illegal pirating sites.
- Photocopying and selling copyrighted reading material to college students.
- Using a photograph for an advertisement campaign without a legal contract with the owner.
Criminal charges are for those who do clear, willful, and demonstrable harm to the copyright owner by illegally profiting off their work. For most copyright infringement, one is issued legal warnings to ‘cease and desist‘ and does not immediately face jail. However, if you are arrested, you will be booked and taken into custody.
- The only way out before your trial is to post bail, which acts as a surety for your court appearances. Most bail bonds agents in Ventura County provide customized payment plans to cover the small 10% bond fee required to post bail on your behalf.
- They have expert knowledge of and experience in the bail industry and possess the technical know-how to fast-track your application. With their support, you can rest assured that bail will be granted within a few hours.
At the trial, you have to prove your innocence or face punishment depending on the value of the copyrighted content. There are several defenses to ensure your rights:
- Fair Use doctrine.
- Proof that it is an original piece of work created independently.
- An existing license agreement.
- Statute of limitations: a copyright infringement claim must be filed within three years.
Prevention of copyright infringement requires a two-pronged approach involving education and technology. The first step is to spread awareness about the concept of plagiarism, the laws against it, and the proper way to give credit or cite sources. The second step is utilizing state-of-the-art software to identify copyrighted content before distribution.
Often, concepts can get duplicated unintentionally, and one should perform a thorough check for originality to prevent this. There is a need for universally agreed-upon penalties and other punitive actions for plagiarism across legal jurisdictions and academic institutions.
Even if one takes inspiration from the original work, one should acquire a proper license or transferred rights if they wish to use it. However, in the circumstances one does not, bail bonds give you the time and freedom to prepare a strong case for yourself and escape the clutches of law.