July 17, 2024

Obligate Law

Professional Law Makers

Copyright Infringer – Employer or Employee?

2 min read
Copyright Infringer – Employer or Employee?

When a piece of work faces plagiarism and the infringer is an employee or a hired contractor, the employer is held responsible for this act. Hence, he is liable of punishment for the violation of the Copyright Law.

The copyright owner can appeal in the court for this infringement against the employee or consultant for authorizing the violation of copyright by the employer; the employer on the basis of his responsibility for the acts of his hired persons; any person who allows the performance in public of a literary, musical or any other work without the consent of the copyright holder; anyone who assists in the unlawful reproduction of a tangible work by a copyright infringer.

The employer is most likely to be charged for plagiarism as he should be monitoring the acts of his employees or consultants and is financially stable enough to afford the legal expenses and pay for the damages to the owner of copyright. Compensation for the damages caused by such an infringement is not fixed in the Copyright Law, it depends on the conditions and circumstances. These are generally determined by the commercial values. Either the alleged work is copied and sold or it is only reproduced for personal interest and not for reselling.

Alleged work resold
Many a times the infringer copies an original idea and uses it without the permission of the lawful owner to make money. In this case the owner suffers a greater loss. If the court decision goes in favour of the owner, the damages can be recovered but not completely. If the infringer is not able to sell as many pieces of work as the owner, the profit is definitely lower and if the infringer has sold the work at a lower price than the work deserves, again the owner is at loss. Apart from money, it is also the reputation of a product that gets affected by such an act. If the price standard or quality standard is lowered or the product is used in a vulgar or wrong manner, the trademark gains a negative reputation.

Alleged work not sold
If the infringer does not sell the alleged work, there is no recovery of profit. Instead, the owner charges a license fee for using his creativity. This is an agreement between the claimant and the defendant.

Employers must be very careful and well aware of copyright laws to avoid getting into any accusations. On the other hand, a lawsuit may recover some damages for the owner but it is always less than the actual profit – both financial and moral. Therefore, it is best to register a copyright for your tangible, copyrightable works.

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