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Federal Sentencing Guidelines For Criminal Copyright Cases

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

Criminal copyright infringement is an offense that is punishable under federal law. If you are under investigation or have been charged formerly for engaging in copyright infringement activity, you might be interested to know the federal sentencing guidelines for criminal copyright cases. The sentencing guidelines is a manual that that judges follow while deciding on whether one is guilty of a copyright offense or not. The manual also contains guidelines on the sentence or penalty to be passed in case one is found guilty.

If you have violated the copyright law, it is highly possible that you can go to jail. If you made these violations willingly and involved a certain amount of infringement, then some penalties will be prescribed. For copyright owners, they would be interested to know that there is a very high number of people who are facing criminal penalties for copyright infringement.

The base level for criminal infringement of copyright or trademark offense is level 8. After that, each case will be gauged independently based on its characteristics. Additional levels will depend on the nature of the crime. It is important to know that the sentence in criminal infringement copyright or trademark cannot be reduced below level 8.

If the infringement amount is less than $5000 but exceeds $2000, the sentencing guidelines for criminal infringement of copyright or trademark demand that the sentencing or penalty be increased by one level. If the infringement amount exited $5000, the number of levels to be added would be determined under table§2B1.1 depending on the amount. This table shows different sentencing guidelines for crimes such as theft, property destruction, and fraud.

If one is accused of committing an offense which involved the performance, display, reproduction, publication, or distribution of copyright work, the guidelines demanded that two levels increase the sentencing. It is also important to note that one will still be sentenced under this guideline if found in possession of materials that are ready for commercial distribution.

If the offense involves uploading, importation, or manufacturer of infringing items, the defendant will be sentenced under 117 U.S.C. §§ 1201 and 1204, and the sentencing will be increased by two levels. If such an offense is classified at a level of less than 12, the guidelines demand that it be increased to level 12.

If a defendant engaged in a copyright offense with no intentions of commercial or personal financial gains, the sentencing level is reduced by two levels, but it is still won’t be less than level 8.

If the copyright infringement offense caused a reckless high risk of death or adverse bodily injury in the full knowledge of the defendant, the sentencing would be increased by two levels. The same case applies to a situation where the defendant used a dangerous weapon in the process of committing the offense. However, the base sentencing level for crimes under this category is 14. In case the offense level is less than 14, it should be increased to 14 automatically.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Although copyright infringement comes under civil cases, they can still be pursued for a criminal offense. In the case of the civil statute of limitations, the prosecution has three years to get an indictment. For a criminal case, the statute of limitations is five years. It is the role of the prosecutor to show that the defendant willingly violated the copyright laws by willingly infringing the copyright to gain commercial advantage or to get personal financial gains.

Action such as producing or distributing copies of copyrighted work with a retail value of more than $1000 and for six months we’ll automatically qualify as an offense. Persons can also be charged for distributing work that was initially meant for commercial distribution but makes it possible for the public to access such work through illegal means. If the defendant knew that the work was meant for commercial distribution he or she has no right to make such work accessible on a computer network. If you are convicted of making it possible for the public to access copyrighted work through a computer network, the fine can be up to $500,000 or serve a jail term of five years, or even both. In case you commit subsequent offenses the fine will go up to $1 million and jail time of 10 years, or both.

If you are under investigations or have been charged for allegations of involvement in criminal copyright infringement, it is highly important that you ensure that you seek the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer who is conversant with criminal infringement laws. The punishment for such offenses is adverse and you should not take the matter for granted. Seeking the services of a lawyer who has a history of dealing with such cases is an added advantage. You will also need a lawyer who is conversant with the laws in your jurisdiction.

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