Here it is again, please do not believe people who say it is not serious and you cannot go to jail or pay huge prices for infringing. It is a crime and in many cases felony crimes.
Etsy shops closed for copyright infringement. Be careful how you try to profit off others.
Texas man gets 5 years for one count of copyright infringement. He could have been charged with a lot more but the deal was made. He confessed to the max for one count instead of going to trial for many counts. It shows the seriousness of cases concerning infringement. This case is from 2011. There are probably other circumstances but trying to excuse or justify he infringement and mitigating his circumstances is of no help.
I see all the time that misinformed people are telling other that copyright infringement is not a crime. WRONG. It is a crime and has been for some time. It has two parts, civil with damages and criminal with possible jail time. If you think it is not a crime ask this guy who got 5 years. Richard Kevin Gilbert of Amarillo man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of copyright infringement. This was in October of 2011.
The article is from UNC the Copyright Corner. This is just an excerpt of the information.
In 1982 the criminal infringement provisions were amended to make certain types of first-time infringement punishable as felonies (more serious crimes), although most criminal infringements remained at the misdemeanor level in the statute. The types of activities that were classified as felonies depended on the number of copies made or sold within a 180-day period. Increased penalties of up to five years imprisonment and $250,000 in fines were available only if the infringement involved reproduction or distribution of motion pictures, audiovisual works and sound recordings. Repeat offenders were subject to the maximum fines regardless of the number of copies or types of works involved. All other offenses continued to be misdemeanors with maximum fines of $25,000 and one year imprisonment.
The most recent amendment to criminal copyright infringement was the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997 (Net Act) which made it a felony to reproduce or distribute copies of copyrighted works electronically regardless of whether the defendant had a profit motive. Thus, it changed the 100-year standard regarding profit motive but retained the element of willfulness. The ease of infringement on the Internet was the primary reason for criminalizing noncommercial infringement as well as recognition of other motivations a nonprofit defendant might have such as anti-copyright or anti-corporate sentiment, trying to make a name in the Internet world and wanting to be a cyber renegade. So, the infringement must be either: (1) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain or (2) involve the reproduction or distribution of one or more copies of a work or works within a 180-day period with a total retail value of $1,000. Commercial infringers are subject to higher penalties, however. A commercially motivated infringer can receive up to a five-year federal prison term and $250,000 in fines; a noncommercial willful infringer is subject to up to a one-year prison term and $100,000 in fines. The prison term maximum for repeat infringers is up to 10 years for commercially motivated ones and up to six years for noncommercial infringers. Copyright infringers may be sued both civilly and prosecuted criminally for the same infringing act.
This article is pretty clear and it does reference the laws that have been changed to not only continue the criminal punishment of the infringer and those who help them but to make them more severe and encompass more situations.
So much for the people who think it is a joke. People take it seriously. It affects the artists by taking away income and it can affect the people who take it, whether it is on purpose or not and whether it is for personal gain or not. Then the DMCA brings in the changing of the copyright to the public also a criminal act and damages as high as $ 25,000.00 for each infringement. Now, just because you let someone use your internet service, computer or they live in your house you may be held accountable also. If you help them or they keep copies or in the worst case scenario they have the original files they took, you could be faces criminal charges just like they are not including the copyright infringement case.
The article on the courts, summary judgments and the documentary is coming along and will be done shortly. I am waiting a little longer than I anticipated to get information from some who were mentioned in the documentary. I am hoping to have that in the next couple of days.
If you think about it, this shows that if you use anything copyrighted or violate the DMCA you have a serious problem. People on Etsy and Pinterest have bigger problems coming when the new “small claims” system is a reality and it will be. Then the high cost to the artist will disappear and it will be shifted to the infringer as it should be. The report to Congress from the Copyright Office was filed one day prior to the shutdown. The culprits will have their day in court as will Pinterest, Etsy and other sites that allow people to infringe and make money as they all are held accountable. Those will be the hardest hit in my opinion as many people including myself have had hundreds of copies of our work posted and used without permission. The day of reckoning is coming.
As for the artists who are reading this, understand the consequences you are imposing on the infringers for their acts. Some clearly deserve it and should be sued and prosecuted. Others may not deserve it that rough. It is something for you to decide alone with the lawyers and legal authorities.
I am not an attorney. These are my personal opinions and general information only. These are not legal advice and should not be used as such.