Home 

/

 Copyright 

/ Difference Between Copyright Infringement and Piracy

Difference Between Copyright Infringement and Piracy

Author avatar

Lokesh Pal

February 2, 2024

|

0min read

Difference Between Copyright Infringement and Piracy

Are you confused about the difference between copyright infringement and piracy?

The digital world is expanding and every person has freedom to express their creative thoughts and ideas.

In this world of online information, you should also understand the  protection.

As a creator, safeguarding your work from the violation is essential to monetise and protect your hardwork.


If you are a creator in the social media platforms, you might have heard these two words ‘Copyright infringement’ and ‘Piracy’ very frequently.

Although the words sound similar, there is a slight difference between these terms. Also, the difference in the concept is quite profound.


In this blog post, we’ll dive into the distinctions between infringement and piracy to help you better comprehend the legal landscape of intellectual property and safely consume content in our ever-evolving digital world.

What Sets Copyright Infringement Apart from Piracy?

Copyright infringement and piracy are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they do have slightly different meanings.

Copyright Infringement: Violation happens when someone infringes the intellectual property rights of the owners.

Copyright infringement can happen when someone distributes, displays or even performs the work without obtaining permission from the holder.

There are several examples of  infringement in the digital world. For instance, the use of copyrighted images, texts, music in various websites can lead to the serious violation consequences.

Piracy: Piracy of a copyrighted work happens when there is a revenue gain in the unauthorised use of the material.

It also specifically revolves around the distribution and sales of the material.

It is often associated with the digital realm, such as the illegal sharing of movies, music, software, or video games through peer-to-peer networks, torrent sites, or other online platforms.

Piracy can also occur in the physical world, for example, when someone produces counterfeit DVDs or CDs containing copyrighted content and sells them for profit.

In a nutshell,  infringement is not an easier term to define. As a creator, you should be aware of the usage and how to avoid the illegal distribution of the material.

Also, copyrights can change from one jurisdiction to another.

Hence, understanding the  violation based on the region is significant to avoid the potential issues from the violation.

Further Reading: Popular Piracy Cases


Is Piracy Copyright Infringement?

Yes, piracy is a form of  infringement.

There are several ways where a work is considered as copyright violation.

For instance, when someone distributes or reproduces the work without seeking permission from the copyright owner, it is considered as the violation.

Piracy typically involves the unauthorised copying, distribution, or sharing of copyrighted materials, such as movies, music, software, or books, usually through digital means.

Piracy can take various forms, including sharing copyrighted materials on peer-to-peer networks, downloading or streaming from unauthorised websites, and distributing counterfeit physical copies of copyrighted works.

It is illegal in most jurisdictions, as it violates the rights of the holder and can result in significant financial losses for creators and industries.

Legal actions, including fines and imprisonment, can be taken against individuals or organisations involved in piracy activities.


Copyright Protection

Copyright protection is a legal framework that grants creators exclusive rights over their original works, such as literature, music, film, software, and art.

Copyright protection paves way for many copyright holders to protect their hard work and monetise without any worries.

This intellectual property protection will also grant rights for the copyright owners to have a control over their creativity.

Here are the exclusive rights provided by the law to the owners of the work. Let us explore them!


Reproduction: The right to reproduce or make copies of the work.


Distribution: The right to distribute or sell copies of the work to the public.


Public performance:
The right to perform the work publicly, such as in the case of plays, concerts, or broadcasts.


Public display: The right to display the work publicly, such as in the case of visual arts or film screenings.


Derivative works: The right to create adaptations or new works based on the original work, such as translations, sequels, or remixes.

Copyright protection generally lasts for the life of the creator plus a certain number of years after their death, depending on the jurisdiction.

In the United States, for example, protection typically lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

Copyright protection is profound and one should understand how it even protects the unique expression of the ideas without merely extending them to the facts and methods.

The copyright law also differs from one jurisdiction to another. One should also understand the specifications in one region when there is a  violation.

For instance, the fair use in the copyright industry also varies from one region to another. Hence understanding the law based on your region is essential.

To enforce their rights, holders can take legal action against those who infringe on their copyrights, seeking remedies such as damages, injunctions, or even criminal penalties in some cases.

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights (IPR) are a set of legal protections that grant creators and inventors exclusive rights over their creations and innovations.

The intellectual property rights help creators to design the products without worrying about the violation.

If you are a creator, these IP rights will certainly encourage you by providing incentives.

Hence, a creator can develop new ideas and technologies with a creative freedom.


Copyright

Copyright can apply to the various forms of art. They can be music, literature, art, software etc.

It grants creators exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, and create derivative works based on their creations.

Copyright protection generally lasts for the life of the creator plus a certain number of years after their death, depending on the jurisdiction.

Patents

Patents protect new and useful inventions, as well as improvements on existing inventions.

When you apply patent, you will have up to 20 years of time to sell or import the inventions.

This is the exclusive right given to the inventions to prevent the violation of the IP rights.


In exchange for this protection, inventors must publicly disclose the details of their inventions, enabling others to learn from and build upon them.

Trademarks

Trademarks protect distinctive words, phrases, symbols, or designs that identify and distinguish the goods or services of one party from those of others.

Trademark protection helps businesses establish and maintain their brand identity and reputation, and it can last indefinitely as long as the trademark remains in use and properly maintained.

Further Reading: Difference Between Copyright Patent

Trade secrets

Trade secrets protect valuable business information that derives its value from being kept secret, such as formulas, processes, methods, or techniques.

To qualify as a trade secret, the information must not be generally known or readily ascertainable, and the owner must take reasonable measures to maintain its secrecy.

Trade secret protection lasts as long as the information remains confidential.

Industrial designs

Industrial designs protect the unique appearance or aesthetic features of a product, such as its shape, color, or pattern.

This protection encourages the development of innovative and visually appealing designs and typically lasts for a limited period of time, often around 15 years.

Intellectual property rights are enforced through a combination of legal mechanisms, including lawsuits, injunctions, damages, and criminal penalties, depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the infringement.

To safeguard their intellectual property, individuals and organisations should register their rights, maintain proper records, and actively monitor for potential infringement.

Willful Copyright Infringement

Willful copyright infringement refers to the intentional and deliberate act of violating a  holder’s exclusive rights without their permission.

It occurs when a person or entity knowingly and purposely reproduces, distributes, performs, or displays copyrighted material or creates derivative works, with the understanding that their actions are in violation of laws.

In contrast to accidental or unknowing infringement, willful infringement implies a conscious disregard for the copyright holder’s rights and a deliberate intent to infringe upon them.

This distinction is important because the legal consequences for willful  infringement are often more severe than those for non-willful infringement.

In many jurisdictions, including the United States, willful copyright infringement can lead to both civil and criminal penalties. Civil penalties may include:

Statutory damages: Courts may award higher amounts of statutory damages for willful infringement compared to non-willful infringement.

In the United States, for example, statutory damages for willful infringement can range from $750 to $150,000 per work infringed, while non-willful infringement ranges from $200 to $30,000 per work.


Actual damages and profits:
The holder may seek compensation for the actual damages suffered and any profits gained by the infringer as a result of the infringement.


Injunctive relief: Courts may issue injunctions to prevent further infringement of the copyrighted material.

Criminal penalties for willful infringement, particularly for cases involving large-scale piracy or distribution of counterfeit materials, may include:

Fines: Significant fines can be imposed on individuals or organisations found guilty of willful copyright infringement.


Imprisonment: Depending on the jurisdiction and severity of the infringement, jail time may be imposed on those convicted of willful infringement.

To avoid willful copyright infringement, it is essential to respect the rights of holders and obtain proper licenses or permissions before using, distributing, or modifying copyrighted works.

Online Copyright Infringement Law

Online copyright infringement refers to the unauthorised use, reproduction, distribution, performance, or display of copyrighted materials through digital means, such as websites, file-sharing platforms, or social media.

As with traditional copyright infringement, online infringement violates the exclusive rights granted to copyright holders and is illegal in most jurisdictions.

Laws regulating online infringement vary by country, but many nations have enacted legislation to address the specific challenges posed by digital piracy and unauthorised use of copyrighted works on the internet.

Some key aspects of online  infringement law include:

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States:

Blog Middle Component Image

Ready to Secure Your Online Presence?

You’re at the right place, contact us to know more.

The DMCA is a comprehensive law enacted in 1998 that strengthens  protection in the digital environment.

It criminalises the circumvention of digital rights management (DRM) technologies and the distribution of tools that facilitate such circumvention.

European Union’s Copyright Directive: The EU’s Copyright Directive aims to harmonise  laws across its member states and address digital copyright infringement.

One of its most notable provisions is Article 17 (previously Article 13), which places greater responsibility on online platforms to prevent the upload and distribution of copyrighted content without proper authorisation.

Platforms are required to implement content recognition technologies and obtain licenses from  holders to avoid liability.

Notice and takedown procedures: Many jurisdictions have established notice and takedown procedures, allowing holders to request the removal of infringing content from websites or online platforms.

Typically, the platform or ISP is required to act expeditiously to remove the content upon receiving a valid notice, in order to avoid liability for the infringement.

Legal consequences: Penalties for online  infringement can range from civil damages (including statutory damages, actual damages, and profits) to criminal penalties, such as fines and imprisonment, depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the infringement.

To avoid online infringement, individuals and businesses should ensure they have the necessary permissions or licenses before using, sharing, or distributing copyrighted materials on the internet.

Anti-Copyright Infringement Measures

Anti-copyright infringement measures are various strategies, tools, and techniques employed by holders, governments, and industry organisations to prevent and combat the unauthorised use, reproduction, distribution, performance, or display of copyrighted materials.

These measures can be classified into several categories, including legal, technological, and educational approaches.

Legal measures:

a. Enforcement: Copyright holders can take legal action against those who infringe upon their rights, seeking remedies such as damages, injunctions, or even criminal penalties in some cases.

b. Legislation: Governments can enact and update laws to address emerging challenges posed by digital technologies and the internet, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States or the European Union’s Copyright Directive.

c. Notice and takedown procedures: Many jurisdictions have established notice and takedown procedures, which allow  holders to request the removal of infringing content from websites or online platforms.

Technological measures:

a. Digital Rights Management (DRM): DRM technologies aim to control the access, use, and distribution of copyrighted digital content by implementing restrictions on copying, sharing, or modifying the material.

b. Content identification and filtering systems: Online platforms can employ content recognition technologies (e.g., Content ID on YouTube) to automatically detect and block the upload or distribution of copyrighted materials without proper authorisation.

c. Watermarking: Copyright holders can embed digital watermarks or fingerprints in their works to track and identify unauthorised copies or usage.

Educational measures:

a. Public awareness campaigns: Industry organisations, governments, and copyright holders can collaborate on campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of copyright protection and the consequences of infringement.

b. Clear guidelines and best practices: Online platforms can provide users with clear guidelines and best practices for respecting copyright and obtaining necessary permissions or licenses for the use of copyrighted materials.

c. Educational institutions: Schools and universities can incorporate education into their curricula to help students understand the significance of intellectual property rights and the legal implications of infringing upon them.

By employing a combination of these anti-copyright infringement measures,  holders, governments, and industry organisations can work together to reduce the prevalence of  infringement and protect the rights of creators and innovators.

Anti-Piracy Measures

Anti-copyright and anti-piracy measures are related concepts, but they have distinct focuses and objectives.

Anti-copyright measures refer to strategies, tools, and techniques aimed at preventing and combating infringement in general.

This includes unauthorised use, reproduction, distribution, performance, or display of copyrighted materials, as well as the creation of derivative works without proper authorisation.

Anti-copyright measures encompass a wide range of approaches, including legal, technological, and educational initiatives, to protect the rights of creators and ensure compliance with  laws.

Anti-piracy measures, on the other hand, specifically target the unauthorised copying, distribution, or sharing of copyrighted materials, often through digital means.

Piracy is a form of infringement, so anti-piracy measures can be considered a subset of anti- measures.

The focus of anti-piracy measures is to combat illegal activities such as sharing copyrighted materials on peer-to-peer networks, downloading or streaming from unauthorised websites, and distributing counterfeit physical copies of copyrighted works.

In summary, the key differences between anti-copyright and anti-piracy measures are:

Scope: Anti-copyright measures address all forms of infringement, while anti-piracy measures specifically target the unauthorised copying, distribution, or sharing of copyrighted materials.


Objectives: Anti-copyright measures aim to protect the overall rights of creators and ensure compliance with laws, while anti-piracy measures focus on preventing and combating piracy activities that can result in significant financial losses for creators and industries.

Despite these differences, both anti-copyright and anti-piracy measures share a common goal of protecting the rights of creators and promoting a fair and sustainable creative ecosystem.

Penalties for Copyright Infringement

Penalties for infringement can vary depending on the jurisdiction, the nature of the infringement, and whether the infringement is considered willful or non-willful.

Civil penalties

a. Statutory damages: In some jurisdictions, courts may award statutory damages, which are pre-determined amounts established by law.

In the United States, for example, statutory damages can range from $750 to $30,000 per work infringed, and up to $150,000 per work for willful infringement.

b. Actual damages and profits: The holder may seek compensation for the actual damages suffered as a result of the infringement, as well as any profits the infringer gained from the unauthorised use of the copyrighted material.

The amount awarded will depend on the specific facts of the case.

c. Injunctive relief: Courts may issue injunctions to stop the infringer from continuing to use, reproduce, distribute, or display the copyrighted material.

This can include the removal of infringing content from websites or online platforms and the seizure or destruction of infringing physical copies.

d. Attorneys’ fees and costs: In some cases, the court may order the infringer to pay the holder’s attorneys’ fees and litigation costs, particularly if the infringement is found to be willful.

Criminal penalties

In cases of particularly severe or willful  infringement, criminal penalties may be imposed. These can include:

a. Fines: Significant fines can be levied against individuals or organisations found guilty of infringement.

The amount of the fine will depend on the jurisdiction and the severity of the infringement.

b. Imprisonment: Depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the infringement, individuals found guilty of infringement may face jail time.

This is more common in cases involving large-scale piracy or distribution of counterfeit materials.

It is essential to respect the rights of copyright holders and obtain the necessary permissions or licenses before using, distributing, or modifying copyrighted works to avoid these penalties and potential legal consequences.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while copyright infringement and piracy are related concepts, they possess notable differences in their scope and focus.

Copyright infringement encompasses a broad range of unauthorised uses of copyrighted material, including reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and the creation of derivative works without proper authorisation.

Piracy, on the other hand, is a specific form of copyright infringement that involves the unauthorised copying, distribution, or sharing of copyrighted materials, often through digital means.

Both copyright infringement and piracy can have severe legal consequences for the individuals or organisations involved, including civil and criminal penalties.

To protect the rights of creators and promote a fair and sustainable creative ecosystem, it is essential to understand these distinctions and adhere to the appropriate copyright laws and guidelines in place.

By respecting the rights of copyright holders and obtaining necessary permissions or licenses for the use of copyrighted works, individuals and businesses can contribute to a thriving environment for innovation and creativity while avoiding potential legal repercussions.

Are you scared of copyright infringement and piracy issues? Book a demo with us to discuss effective solutions for your brand.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder, violating the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner, such as reproduction, distribution, display, or performance of the work.

What is piracy?

Piracy refers to the unauthorised copying, distribution, or use of copyrighted materials, typically on a large scale and for commercial gain.

It includes activities like making and distributing counterfeit copies, uploading and sharing copyrighted content online, and using software or devices to circumvent copyright protection measures.

Are piracy and copyright violations the same thing?

While both terms involve the unauthorised use of copyrighted material, piracy typically implies large-scale, commercial infringement, whereas copyright infringement can occur on any scale, even between individuals sharing a single piece of content without permission.

Can I be sued for copyright infringement if I download or share copyrighted content without permission?

Yes, downloading or sharing copyrighted content without permission can lead to legal consequences, including lawsuits and monetary damages, even if it is not done on a large scale or for commercial purposes.

Is it piracy if I copy a copyrighted work for personal use?

Copying copyrighted material for personal use without permission can still be considered copyright infringement.

However, some countries have “fair use” or “fair dealing” provisions that allow for limited personal copying under specific circumstances.

Share this

TwitterFacebookLinkedInWhatsAppGmail
OBJECTS

Unlock Ultimate Data Protection

Safeguard Your Digital Assets with our Cutting-Edge Security Solutions

Similar Blogs

Ready to Secure Your Online Presence?

Elevate your digital stature and shield your priceless reputation from harm. Select Bytescare for ultimate protection against piracy, defamation, and impersonation.