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Old 02-28-2003, 07:40 AM   #21
Mason
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[quote= (the_logos @ Feb. 27 2003,18:43)]
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Originally Posted by Sombalance,Feb. 27 2003,17:22
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Originally Posted by
A copyright violation is a civil offense (except in certain situations) and would onyl get you in trouble if the IP holder chooses to pursue a case against you.
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Originally Posted by
Actually, I'm pretty sure copyright violation is a federal crime as copyrights are protected by federal law.  Which is different from a patent violation, which is a civil case.  If you have proof of a copyright violation, you could take it to the local District Attorney and ask them to follow up on it.  

Sombalance
Well, if you're a copyright violator, you can potentially be hit with both civil and criminal charges, though the US Attorney will only go after you for criminal charges if you're willfully violating copyright for profit. Otherwise, you really only have to worry about civil cases.

--matt
Correct.  If you're selling bootleg software on ebay you'll get a visit from the Feds.  However, even writing a book that infringes on someone's copyright is not a crime.

The reason why copyright is governed by Federal law is because of the need for uniformity.  It would be pretty screwed up if copyright were 95 years in one state but only 20 in another.  The Founders included this clause in the Constitution because they felt it was important to avoid such complications  - not because they wanted it to be a crime.
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