New York Student Online Piracy Defense Attorney

Online piracy is obtaining music, movies, software, computer games and other copyrighted materials without paying for them. It is a federal crime which can result in serving up to five years in a federal prison and paying fines of up to $250,000

If you are a student in the state of New York and have been charged with online piracy, contact a New York student online piracy defense attorney. Let a skilled cyber crimes lawyer review the charges against you and determine what legal defenses may apply to your situation.

Online Piracy Requires Willful Infringement and Financial Gain

The elements of an online piracy charge are very specific. According to 17 U.S.C. § 506, online piracy occurs when someone willfully infringes on another person’s or company’s copyright for financial gain. While that may seem like a fairly straightforward definition, the terms willful infringement and financial gain are quite broad.

Willful Infringement

Willful infringement in an online piracy crime refers to a person taking copyrighted material knowing they did not have the right to do so. So, anyone who downloads a movie, game, or song knowing it was illegal has willfully infringed. Anyone who did not know it was illegal cannot be convicted.

Financial Gain

Financial gain can mean selling the material and making a profit; however, it can also refer to downloading material for personal use only. The law assumes that the person who downloaded it gained financially simply because they did not pay for it. Simply put, someone who keeps money in their pocket instead of using it to purchase an item has gained financially.

Three Defenses to Online Piracy Charges

There are several defenses to online piracy charges that a New York student online piracy defense attorney might have knowledge of, including works in the public domain, downloading a backup copy, and accessing materials for limited academic use.

Works in the Public Domain

Materials which have existed since 1900 or whose copyrights have lapsed are generally considered to be part of the “public domain” and are free to use. However, determining what materials qualify can be a difficult task. It is always best to err on the side of caution when in doubt.

Downloading a Backup Copy

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows someone to download a backup copy of materials they already own without a penalty. So, anyone who has already paid for a license can download another copy for their own use to their hard drive. In addition, it is not illegal to make copies of songs, movies, or videos already purchased.

 Accessing Materials for Limited Academic Use

Infringing on copyrighted materials is not always against the law when accessing materials for limited academic use and properly attributing the works. Again, unless permission is clearly granted, it is best to check with the copyright owner before accessing it.

Consult a New York Student Online Piracy Defense Attorney

If you are a student and have been charged with online piracy, make sure you have an experienced New York student online piracy defense attorney on your side.

Let an attorney help you navigate the process and determine what legal defenses may apply to your situation. Remember, the consequences of an online piracy conviction are harsh. Do not agree to a plea bargain or plead guilty to a criminal charge without contacting experienced counsel to evaluate all your options.