Criminal Law. Copyright Infringement.

Did you know that someone who uses someone’s Copyright protected work, knows it’s illegal to do so, and monetizes the stolen work can not only be sued in civil court for copyright infringement, but can also be brought up on criminal charges?  Roosevelt Anderson, Jr. discovered that the hard way.  Now he sits in a jail cell for 24 months, and has also been ordered to pay $247,144 in restitution to Adobe.  Why? Because he is a thief, a copyright infringer.  He will likely appeal and perhaps may even get off on a mere technicality.  If he gets off, does that make him not a thief? How many of you are sitting there thinking, but he’s an exception and that could never happen to me—I’m too smart.
Everyone thinks it is okay to take what does not belong to them, and few people believe they will ever be caught.  Let me be the first to tell you that it does not take much to get caught.  For example, if you are a speaker and you say the wrong thing to an audience or they feel you disrespect them, if they have even a little knowledge of copyright law, you can, and will be reported.  Or let’s say you are selling products to a disgruntled customer, and you refuse to make an effort to clean it up, you may find yourself being reported to someone in a position and with the inclination to go after you.  In this age of social media and real time response devices, all it takes is an unhappy customer and the click of the mouse, and you are in trouble.
Roosevelt Anderson, Jr. was a Las Vegas cab driver turned entrepreneur.  His skills amounted to taking Adobe products, duplicating them, and then reselling them.  He had no reseller’s license, had no permission from Adobe to duplicate their products, and never paid Adobe of portion of the proceeds.  Arguably, it was an unhappy customer (or two) who turned him in. Is it worth possibly going to jail or having to pay large sums of money in restitution?
What do you think about Mr. Anderson? Copyright infringement? Criminal charges being imposed against him, as well as civil charges?
I’m Attorney Francine Ward providing you with useful, and sometimes provocative legal information. Join the conversation on my legal Facebook Fan Page, legal Twitter Page, or in one of my LinkedIn groups.

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