What is copyright infringement?

When you find that someone has copied your work without your authorisation, they may have infringed your copyright.

Copyright infringement is the use of a work (or a substantial part of a work) which is protected by the law of copyright without permission of its owner. The types of use which amount to infringement include reproduction, distribution, display or performance of the protected work. For there to be a finding of infringement, the work should be substantially similar in design, structure or content, to the degree that it can be said the work was copied or adapted from the original, rather than simply being a similar idea or concept.

In this situation, a copyright owner is entitled to bring a claim before the Civil Courts to seek remedies including destruction of the infringing articles, damages, an account of profits and costs. In some circumstances (for example, the deliberate piracy of a film) the infringer may have also committed criminal offences, which can result in fines and even a prison sentence.


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