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Downloading Copyrighted Material
Federal law and state common laws confer exclusive rights of ownership to trademark owners, owners of registered patents and copyright owners. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office administers federal patent and trademark statutes, while the Copyright Office administers the copyright statutes. The owner of a federally registered copyright has a right to use his written work during his natural lifetime plus 70 years. This includes the exclusive right to use his copyrighted work without unauthorized copying, borrowing or distribution by an unauthorized third party. The federal government gives copyright owners these exclusive rights to further intellectual thinking and creative arts.
If you infringe upon someone else's intellectual property rights by using the author's copyright without his permission, you may be guilty of copyright infringement. You may be able to assert an defense excusing your unauthorized use of copyrighted material in certain situations. Typically, claiming that you did not know of the existence of someone else's copyrighted material does not excuse you from using his copyrighted material without his consent.
Copyright infringement occurs when an author's rights are violated because their work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed or made into a derivative work without their consent. When you download a copy of a copyrighted work without the permission of the owner, you are essentially reproducing that work and engaging in copyright infringement.
If you violate copyright law by downloading copyrighted material without the author's consent, you could potentially face a lawsuit for copyright infringement. U.S. copyright law states that violators can be responsible for paying the other party's attorney's fees as well as anywhere between $750 and $30,000 for each violation. U.S. law also allows for criminal penalties for severe violations.
From Deanna Jewel
If you are one who is stealing my books for your thieving website, know that I'm on your heels and will do my best to destroy any links you have out there to my books. If you read this far, perhaps you need to start at the top again, then look at yourself in the mirror and judge your conscience. Yes, you are a thief! This article by The Guardian may pertain to YOUR site in the future!
As an author who deserves to be paid for the books I write, I continually search the internet for FREE downloads of my books that others have stolen and attempt to profit from my work on their own site. I already use a program that destroys the links to my free PDF downloads. These thieves charge customers to be members of their site in order to download the books so the customer is still paying for the books, the money just isn't going to the authors. The music industry is feeling the same things.
I would like to think my readers are not a part of any of these pirating book sites but when I see 15 - 20,000 downloads of just one of my books, I know I'm losing money and the pirates are able to pay their bills, just not mine. I hate to think that the only solution is to go back to paperback only, but in the future, I may resort to that.