Quincy, MA asked in Copyright for Massachusetts

Q: Forum Copyright infringement: Is this infringement?

If you copied someone else's work on a forum, and the author was using just a nickname, can he or she file Copyright infringement on you? Can he claim his work as his by just using a nickname all the time? example: his username is ohmygod. What if you copied a few of his posts. How much will this Copyright infringement cost if you found guilty? whats the legal fee for hiring a lawyer. Must of his work is just excerpts and redirect link if not all. Who should you consultant with first before hiring a lawyer? Whats fee? Most of his work is someone else's copyrighted materials, can he really get more than he expected by filing a lawsuit against me?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Hillsboro, OR

A: Yes, you could be sued for copyright infringement for copying posts in a forum. It does not matter if they only use a nickname. This type of infringement is not criminal, so you would not be found guilty, just liable. Statutory damages are a minimum of $700 per infringement, plus you would be responsible for all of their costs and attorneys fees.

That said, if they want to sue, they have to register each work with the U.S. Copyright Office first. If they were only copying others, then they would likely be violating someone else's copyright and not technically be able to sue you (this assumes you can prove they were copying someone else's work).

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