Suing For Misappropriation of Copyrighted Work – How Long Should I Wait?

Let’s say you found someone who has copyrighted your work. Once you have learned of the infringement, you should make sure you have your work properly registered with the United States Copyright Office. If you have previously registered it, review it to make sure it is correct and fix any errors. If it isn’t registered yet, you can do so at any time. You should have your work copyrighted by the U.S. Copyright Office in place before you proceed.

Once you do this, you should talk to a copyright lawyer. Every case is different and you will need to do a complete evaluation of your work and the copied material. This might require you providing some proof that the copied material has actually caused damages to the value of your work, has impinged on your rights to the copy, or other forms of damages. You might need to also prove the profits that the defendant has made on the materials, if any.

Your copyright lawyer will advise you on your rights to sue, what you can expect out of the trial, how long it might take, any fees you would pay, etc. Your lawyer will let you know when the appropriate time would be to sue for misappropriation of the copyrighted work. You should be certain that you need to take this step, the compensation for damages can be as low as $500 and if the copyright registration wasn’t filled out right, or within a certain amount of time, you might not be compensated for your attorney fees.

You can also sue for the discontinuation of the copying materials from the defendant. Injunctive relief would be applied, which would stop the defendant from producing any more of the work. This can happen before the trial, if the plaintiff pays an appropriate bond. If the plaintiff doesn’t win the copyright lawsuit, the defendant gets the bond money in compensation. This is why it is important to be careful when suing someone for misappropriation of copyrighted material and to make sure it will be worth it when you do decide to sue the defendant.