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Florida Copyright Litigation: Understanding Secondary Liability

In the event of copyright infringement, affected parties deserve full and fair compensation. However, in some cases, the party that is directly responsible for the infringement can be difficult to hold liable. They may be able to hide their identity or they may even operate in another country. Though, in many cases, the direct infringer was not the only party to profit off of your copyright. A concept in copyright law known as ‘secondary liability’ may allow you to hold additional parties responsible for your damages. If you believe that you have a secondary liability claim in Florida, please contact an experienced West Palm Beach copyright litigation attorney for immediate legal assistance.

Copyright Law: When Can You Bring a Secondary Liability Claim?

Most copyright infringement claims are brought against the party that directly benefited from the alleged infringement. However, it is possible for other parties to indirectly benefit from the infringement of your copyright. These entities must also be held liable. A straightforward, and relatively common, example of this occurs when a commercial music venue hires a band to play a concert on their premises. If during the concert, the band infringes on a copyright, it is likely that the venue itself has in part benefited from that infringement. Therefore, they may be held liable for secondary liability. There are many different scenarios which may lead to secondary liability claims. In fact, increasingly, these types of claims are being brought in response to infringement that has occurred on the internet. Ultimately, a successful secondary liability copyright claim can be brought in two different ways: you may have a vicarious liability claim or you may have a contributory liability claim.

Vicarious Liability

To prevail in a vicarious liability claim for indirect copyright infringement you must establish that the entity in question had both control over the infringement and a financial interest in the infringement. You can only hold a party vicariously liable if they had the reasonable opportunity to put a stop to the infringement.

Contributory Liability

Contributory liability is a slightly different type of secondary copyright liability. First, as the name suggests, you must prove that the entity in question in some way contributed to the alleged infringement. If they facilitated it occurring, you may have a claim. Beyond that, you also have the more difficult task of proving that they had knowledge of the infringement. Considering the example of the music venue again; if the band submitted a list of songs that they were going to play to the venue, and then they deviated from that list and infringed on a copyright, a Florida court will not hold the music venue liable. Without knowledge of the infringement, there can be no contributory liability.

Contact Our West Palm Beach Office Today

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our passionate copyright litigation attorneys have experience handling a wide variety of legal issues. If you or your company is considering bringing a secondary liability claim, we can help. Please contact our team today at (561)-291-8298 to schedule a free review of your copyright litigation case. Our firm represents individuals and businesses throughout South Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach Gardens.

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