How do I enforce my copyright?
It is often difficult to police a copyright. For example, you cannot easily know whether a street vendor has improperly made copies of your book for sale, or if someone buys your CD and makes copies for their friends. However, if or when you do find out about someone violating your copyright rights, there are steps you can take to enforce your copyright.
You can send any infringer a cease and desist letter, asking the violator to stop infringing your copyright. In this letter, depending on the situation, you may also want to ask that any improper copies and phonorecords be returned to your or destroyed. If the violating party is not willing to comply with your request, or if you feel that you have been damaged sufficiently to warrant filing a lawsuit, you can bring a federal lawsuit for copyright infringement against the violator. In that lawsuit, you can request that the court issue an order that the other party stop violating your copyright. You can also seek financial damages in the form of your actual damages plus any wrong profits gained by the other side or, possibly, you can seek statutory damages. In addition, if your copyright was registered prior to the infringing actions, you can request that the court award your attorneys’ fees so that you can recoup the cost of your lawsuit.