Reliable Chicago Copyright Infringement Defense Attorney
A copyright is a right under the US Copyright Law to the exclusive use of a literary or artistic work that is enjoyed by the copyright holder (typically, the creator of the work or his employer). Even software code is protected under copyright law. If you are sued for copyright infringement, you have a big problem. In an extreme case, you could be held liable for up to $150,000 for a single instance of copyright infringement, even if the plaintiff fails to prove that your infringement cost him a dime.
Fortunately, there are many possible defenses to a copyright infringement claim, depending on the specific facts of your case. Some of the most common defenses include:
- Misidentification: You are not the person who committed the violation (you were identified by your computer’s IP address and the infringement was committed by someone else in your household using the same IP address, for example).
- “Innocent infringement”: You reasonably believed the the work was not copyrighted. This is only a partial defense.
- Fair use: Use of a small portion of a copyrighted work for certain exempt purposes.
- Authorization: You were licensed to use the work.
- Expiration of the statute of limitations deadline for filing a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Special Case: BitTorrent Copyright Infringement
In 2018, the number of BitTorrent lawsuits against users more than tripled compared to 2017. Although most of these lawsuits targeted a particular person, a single lawsuit can target up to two dozen people. That’s a lot of defendants. If you have become one of them, you need to act quickly and decisively to protect your interests.
Following is a brief overview of the sequence of a typical BitTorrent case:
- You receive a letter from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) notifying you that (i) your ISP has been identified as a defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit, and (ii) your ISP has been asked to identify you personally so that you can be named as a defendant. The letter will include a reply deadline.
- At that point, you can oppose the disclosure of your name by the ISP if you have proper grounds to do so. In some cases, it is possible to settle anonymously before the ISP releases your name.
- If your name is released by the ISP, the plaintiff may send you a demand letter, or you may soon be named as a defendant in the lawsuit. There is usually a window of opportunity to settle after your name is released, but once it is released, you must act quickly to keep the plaintiff from making your name public.
- In all likelihood, the plaintiff’s lawyer will then send you a letter demanding that you pay an overpriced settlement amount.
- If you ignore the letter or fail to reach a settlement, the lawsuit against you will proceed.
- If the lawsuit progresses, you will have to incur legal fees to defend yourself. If you litigate, you may win or lose. If you ignore the lawsuit, however, a default judgment will be entered against you – an event that has serious consequences.
If you are currently at any stage of this process, short of a judgment or signed settlement agreement, you always have legal options and a path to a better way forward. Erin Russell, one of the foremost BitTorrent defense attorneys in the nation, has helped many clients obtain the most favorable outcome possible for their BitTorrent case.
Erin can advise you on how to respond to any moves that are being made against you by clarifying your options and their likely consequences; help you negotiate and draft a reasonable settlement agreement should that turn out to be your best option; and defend against a copyright infringement lawsuit if that becomes necessary.
About Attorney Erin Russell
Erin Russell’s career has been marked by the honors showered upon her by both clients and peers. Esteemed attorney rating organization Super Lawyers, for example, has named her a Rising Star in 2006, 2009 and 2014. Only one in forty lawyers receives this honor. In 2019 she was named an Illinois Super Lawyer.
The Russell Law Firm is a highly focused practice, meaning that almost all of our cases involve at least one of the following types of issues:
- BitTorrent download defense
- DISH Network Nagrastar defense
- Copyright infringement defense
- Online privacy and harassment
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens if a default judgment is entered against me in a copyright infringement lawsuit and I ignore it?
The plaintiff will have to institute a separate legal action to collect the money from you. In that action, the only issue will be whether a copyright infringement judgment has been entered against you (not whether the judgment itself was appropriate). Your paycheck can be garnished and your assets can be seized to pay the judgment.
Can I resolve my BitTorrent case by deleting the infringing file from my computer or by buying a legal copy of the work?
No, neither of these strategies will work. As long as the plaintiff (a film studio, for instance) proves the truth of everything it claims to have happened before the lawsuit is filed, nothing you do after that will make a difference in your liability. However, you may very well have other defenses available to you.
Why should I mind if I am publicly named as a defendant in a BitTorrent lawsuit?
Being publicly named as a defendant can cause you problems down the road. Your credit score might be negatively affected, for example, or you might fail a background check incident to an application for a job or a professional license, even if no judgment is ever entered against you. This is something you should avoid, if possible. Act immediately when you receive notice of a lawsuit or subpoena. You need the help of a skilled Chicago copyright infringement defense lawyer.
Contact The Russell Firm Today
The Russell Firm charges a reasonable flat fee to handle copyright infringement cases. We also offer discounts for full-time students, senior citizens, veterans, and active-duty military members. If you are in need of the services of a trusted Chicago copyright infringement defense attorney, call or contact us online for a free initial consultation. Erin will personally handle your case from beginning to end.
We are available seven days a week, and we accept payment by cash, credit card and electronic checks.