In our blog, we have previously dealt with copyright, exploring its definition and duration and its scope of protection.
The term “Copyright” identifies a legal institution that aims to protect authors and their creations, ensuring various patrimonial and moral rights for the original author. Among these, the most common include the recognition of the authorship and the right to receive compensation whenever the work in question is used or exploited by third parties.
The most conventional creative works covered by copyright are literary, dramatic, educational and religious compositions, musical and theatrical ones, choreography, pantomimes, films, photographs, architectural works, computer programs and even databases. All these works are protected and belong to their respective author, with a system structured in such a way as to ensure a share (or a part of the intellectual property on the work) to those who contribute to their creative process (the so-called co-authors), especially if the contribution provided by each is essentially indistinguishable.
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Copyright violations and possible consequences
Copyright infringement occurs when a protected work is used without obtaining appropriate authorization from the owner of the rights and free use of the work itself is not permitted.
Different measures and sanctions will be applied depending on the seriousness of the offense. Such sanctions may be requested either by the copyright holder or the administrative or judicial authority.
Especially in consideration of the vulnerability of copyright during the current “digital era”, we are now faced with frequent and massive violations, such as the sharing and dissemination of large quantities of protected materials on online platforms.
It is precisely in this context that the Criminal Law of Copyright proves to be fundamental.
Offenses against copyright and the related sanctions are governed by the second section of Title III and Chapter III of the copyright law itself. Generally, offenses relating to the violation of copyright can be prosecuted ex officio, with a limitation period of six years, provided for the crimes.
Copyright Criminal Law aims to protect:
- The protection of the rights of economic and moral use, (Article 171) whose infringement is punished with a fine from 51 to 2065 euros and which includes reproductions, transcriptions, dissemination, sale, performances, performances of the protected work.
- The protection of copyright on software and databases (Article 171-bis) following the abusive duplication of supports not marked by the SIAE for profit, import, distribution, sale, possession for commercial purposes, duplication, possession, reproduction, etcetera. Penalties range from six months to three years imprisonment to a fine ranging from 2582 to 15,493 euros; (art.171-ter) if the offense is committed for non-personal use, duplication, reproduction, transmission or public dissemination of an intellectual work intended for the television, cinematographic circuit, or other illegal activities identified by the law, with penalties ranging from imprisonment from six months to three years and from one to four years (paragraph 2) to a fine ranging from 2582 to 15,493 euros.
At the same time, the omission of the SIAE communication, the production, sale, import, promotion, installation, modification and use for fraudulent purposes of equipment or parts of equipment suitable for decoding audiovisual transmissions with conditional access carried out via ether, via satellite, via cable, in both analogue and digital form are considered Copyright violations and therefore punishable by Criminal Law.
The latter offense is punishable by art. 171-octies with imprisonment from six months to three years and a 2582 to 25.822 euros fine.
Stella Law Firm: specialists in Copyright Criminal Law
Stella Law Firm has a long experience in Copyright Criminal Law and in the management of various criminal offenses relating to trademarks and patents.
The firm’s know-how also relates to the criminal protection of industrial secrets, both in the judicial and extra-judicial areas, regarding its various forms of possible abuse and exploitation; and computer, television and film piracy offenses.
Our customers turn to us to solve the most varied cases regarding:
- Counterfeiting, alteration or use of trademarks and patents
- Disclosure of scientific and commercial secrets
- TV piracy
- Movie piracy
Ask now for advice from our experts or book a meeting at our offices.