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What constitutes copyright infringement?

Posted by Steve Vondran | Jul 15, 2021

Attorney Steve® Copyright Law Essentials - What does it take to prove copyright infringement?  

Vondran Legal


Copyright law can be very complex, yet understanding what "infringement" of copyrighted content is fairly simple.

To state a claim for copyright infringement, Plaintiffs must allege:

(1) ownership of a valid copyright


(2) copying constituent elements of the work that are original.” Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 361 (1991). 

“Copying may be established by showing that the infringer had access to plaintiff's copyrighted work and that the works at issue are substantially similar in their protected elements.” Cavalier v. Random House, Inc., 297 F.3d 815, 822 (9th Cir. 2002). “To allege access, the plaintiff must allege facts suggesting a ‘reasonable opportunity' or ‘reasonable possibility of viewing plaintiff's work.” Jordan-Benel v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 2015 WL 3888149, at *10 (C.D. Cal. June 24, 2015) (citing Three Boys Music Corp. v. Bolton, 212 F.3d 477, 482 (9th Cir. 2000)).

A Plaintiff must allege what specific elements of its website were copied and how, rather than leave the Court and Defendants guessing. See id.; see also Fusion Windows and Doors, Inc. v. Am. Reliable Windows, Inc., 2013 WL 12126108, at *3 (C.D. Cal. July 12, 2013).

Contingency Fee Recovery Cases

We accept some cases on a contingency fee basis (meaning, if we do not collect for the piracy or infringement, you do not pay us anything).  Categories of cases may include:

  • Someone using your photos or images on their commercial websites (ex. a real estate mortgage or brokerage).
  • Illegal or unauthorized use of copyrighted software
  • Illegal copying of blueprints or architectural plans by builders or others
  • Theft of book images, posting pages of your copyrighted book without authorization
  • Music infringement (illegal mixing or sampling of your music)
  • Copyright infringement of your designs on Etsy or other e-commerce websites
  • Unauthorized use of videos, film, drone footage

Call us if you have a registered copyright and are seeking to recover against infringers.  Many times this can arise where you send a cease and desist letter and the infringer does not respond, or merely stops the offending use (but is refusing to compensate the owner or pay a reasonable licensing fee).  We have success in recovering monetary awards..

Contact an Intellectual Property Law Firm

We have been in business since 2004 helping both Plaintiff and Defendants (and those how have received ISP notices from adult pornography companies like Strike 3 Holdings, and photo infringement letters from the likes of companies like Higbee, PicRights, Reuters, Associated Press, Agence-France-Presse and software infringement cases dealing with Adobe, SIemens, Vero and Microsoft, Soildworks and Autodesk). 

We also have a growing business in the area of TV Signal Piracy Law including IPTV cases and boxing infringement cases from Dish-Nagrastar, Joe Hand Promotion and other companies.

Call us for more information at (877) 276-5084 or leave a message through our contact form. 

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337

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