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Damages; Costs and Fees

The copyright owner is entitled to recover the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the infringement.  S/he is also entitled to any profits of the infringer that are attributable to the infringement.  In establishing the infringer’s profits, the copyright owner is required to present proof and cannot rely on mere speculation.

In the alternative, the copyright owner may opt for an award of statutory damages instead of actual damages and profits before final judgment is rendered.  In such cases, statutory damages may be awarded for all infringements in an amount not less than $ 750 and not more than $ 30,000.

In a case where the court finds that an infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $ 150,000.

In a case where the court finds that the infringer was not aware of the infringement, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200.

If an infringer is a teacher, librarian, archivist, public broadcaster or a nonprofit institution and if the infringer had reason to believe his or her use was a fair use, the court will not assess damages for an innocent infringement.

In a case of infringement, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the infringement was committed willfully if the violator has  provided materially false contact information for registering, maintaining, or renewing a domain name used in connection with the infringement.

In any civil action under copyright law, the court in its discretion may allow the recovery of full costs by or against any party other than the United States or its officer.  The court may also award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs.

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