United States Code/Title 17/Chapter 5/Sections 506 and 507

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United States Code
by the United States Government
Title 17, Chapter 5, §§ 506 and 507
From the U.S. Copyright Office.: Added by section 101 of title I of the Copyright Act of 1976 (Pub. L. 94-553, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2541), with effect from January 1, 1978, as amended by Public Laws 100-568, 101-650, 105-80 and 105-304.

§ 506—Criminal offenses

(a) CRIMINAL INFRINGEMENT.—

(1) In General.—Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed—
(A) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain;
(B) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180–day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000; or
(C) by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution.
(2) Evidence.—For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement of a copyright.
(3) Definition.—In this subsection, the term "work being prepared for commercial distribution" means—
(A) a computer program, a musical work, a motion picture or other audiovisual work, or a sound recording, if, at the time of unauthorized distribution—
(i) the copyright owner has a reasonable expectation of commercial distribution; and
(ii) the copies or phonorecords of the work have not been commercially distributed; or
(B) a motion picture, if, at the time of unauthorized distribution, the motion picture—
(i) has been made available for viewing in a motion picture exhibition facility; and
(ii) has not been made available in copies for sale to the general public in the United States in a format intended to permit viewing outside a motion picture exhibition facility.

(b) FORFEITURE AND DESTRUCTION.—When any person is convicted of any violation of subsection (a), the court in its judgment of conviction shall, in addition to the penalty therein prescribed, order the forfeiture and destruction or other disposition of all infringing copies or phonorecords and all implements, devices, or equipment used in the manufacture of such infringing copies or phonorecords.

(c) FRAUDULENT COPYRIGHT NOTICE.—Any person who, with fraudulent intent, places on any article a notice of copyright or words of the same purport that such person knows to be false, or who, with fraudulent intent, publicly distributes or imports for public distribution any article bearing such notice or words that such person knows to be false, shall be fined not more than $2,500.

(d) FRAUDULENT REMOVAL OF COPYRIGHT NOTICE.—Any person who, with fraudulent intent, removes or alters any notice of copyright appearing on a copy of a copyrighted work shall be fined not more than $2,500.

(e) FALSE REPRESENTATION.—Any person who knowingly makes a false representation of a material fact in the application for copyright registration provided for by section 409, or in any written statement filed in connection with the application, shall be fined not more than $2,500.

(f) RIGHTS OF ATTRIBUTION AND INTEGRITY.—Nothing in this section applies to infringement of the rights conferred by section 106A(a).

§ 507—Limitations on actions

(a) CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS.—Except as expressly provided otherwise in this title, no criminal proceeding shall be maintained under the provisions of this title unless it is commenced within 5 years after the cause of action arose.

(b) CIVIL ACTIONS.—No civil action shall be maintained under the provisions of this title unless it is commenced within three years after the claim accrued.

Amendment history[edit]

Sections 506 and 507 were added by § 101 of title I of the Copyright Act of 1976 (Pub. L. 94-553, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2541), with effect from January 1, 1978.

Piracy and Counterfeiting Amendments Act of 1982[edit]

Pub. L. 97-180, May 24, 1982, 96 Stat. 91.

  • Substituted new text for subsection 506(a).

Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990[edit]

Pub. L. 101-650, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5089.

  • Added subsection 506(f).

No Electronic Theft (NET) Act[edit]

Pub. L. 105-147, Dec. 16, 1997, 111 Stat. 2678.

  • Substituted new text for subsection 506(a).
  • Amended subsection 507(a) by substituting "5" for "three".

Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005[edit]

Pub. L. 109-9, Apr. 27, 2005, 119 Stat. 218.

  • Substituted new text for subsection 506(a). Previous text read:
(a) CRIMINAL INFRINGEMENT.—Any person who infringes a copyright willfully either—
(1) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or
(2) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000,
shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, United States Code. For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.