What Infringes on a Copyright?

Copyright Lock

Copyrights in Minnesota are intended to present an incentive to people to create works and share them with the world. If an author, playwright, actor, or anyone else with original creative ideas writes them down, acts them out, or otherwise reduces them to a form that may be shared with others, that person does not want others to take credit for their work. In addition to stealing the notoriety for the work, another person could also steal away the customers who would purchase the original work and make a profit off of the copies sold instead.

What incentive would there be for a creator to share his or her work then? Copyright laws grant exclusive rights to the original author of a creative work, which gives that author an incentive to share his or her work with others. Through copyrights, creators can create original works and write them down or perform them for others, and make the profit off of any sales of the work, with little risk his or her work will be stolen by another. In the event a copyrighted work is stolen, the creator has a legal remedy to compensate him or her for the harm caused.

Copyright Infringement in Minnesota

In Minnesota, if you are not the owner of a copyrighted work, you may not reproduce, distribute, perform, or display the copyrighted work, without permission. A person may author a copyrighted work and then transfer title to the work to another person, while retaining a right to royalties based on sales related to the copyrighted work. The author is called a beneficial owner.

The Infringer’s Intentions are Irrelevant

If you infringe on another’s copyright innocently, or unintentionally, you are still liable for copyright infringement. It is irrelevant that you did not intend to infringe.

You May Not Contribute to the Infringement of Another

A person may also be liable for contributory copyright infringement. To prove a person is liable for contributory copyright infringement, the plaintiff must prove that someone else infringed on the plaintiff’s copyright, that the defendant knew or should have known of the infringement, and that the defendant induced, caused, or contributed to the infringement.

A person could be liable for vicarious copyright infringement. To prove a person is liable for vicarious copyright infringement, the plaintiff must prove that someone else infringed on the plaintiff’s copyright, that the defendant profited from the infringement or had a financial stake in the infringement, and that the defendant had the ability to supervise or control the infringement.