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Understanding copyright infringement

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2017 | Federal & White Collar Criminal Defense |

When people use video materials in Nebraska, they usually do not think about copyright laws. However, there are strict penalties for infringing on a copyright, and it is important to understand what exactly copyright infringement is.

When someone creates a specific kind of content, they usually hold the copyright to that material. says that someone has infringed on this copyright if they publicly display the material, hand out copies of it or reproduce it without first receiving the consent of the person who holds the copyright. The exception to this is if a person is dealing with content that has entered the public domain. In this situation, people typically do not need authorization to use the material. Peer-to-peer file sharing can also be a form of copyright infringement when someone does not have permission to use material.

Infringing on a copyright is considered a criminal offense in the U.S. According to, it usually needs to be proved that people intended to infringe on a copyright. Someone may be fined up to $2,500 if they intentionally remove the copyright notice from a work. Putting a fake copyright on content also may result in a $2,500 fine. In order for someone to be convicted of copyright infringement, action usually needs to be taken against that person within a specific period of time. Someone cannot take civil action against a person if it has been more than three years since the copyright was infringed on and five years if someone intends to make criminal proceedings.

Some people may think that copyright infringement can occur only if a specific person holds the copyright to material. However, this is generally not the case. Television stations are typically considered to hold a material’s copyright, even if the content is a secondary transmission.