Under 17 U.S.C. § 106, copyright owners have exclusive rights to do and to authorize various actions concerning their works, including reproduction, preparation of derivative works, distribution, public performance, and public display. Unauthorized exercise of these rights by others can constitute copyright infringement.
Section 106A grants authors of visual art the right to claim authorship, to prevent the use of their name on any work not created by them, to prevent the use of their name on any work that has been distorted, mutilated, or modified in a way that would be prejudicial to their honor or reputation, and to prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation, or modification that would be prejudicial to their honor or reputation.
Section 107 provides for the fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. It outlines four factors to be considered in determining whether a use is fair: the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Section 501 states that anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner, as provided by sections 106 through 122, or who imports copies or phonorecords into the United States in violation of section 602, is an infringer of the copyright. Legal or authorized owners of a copyright may file a civil lawsuit in federal court to enforce their rights.
Under Section 502, any court with jurisdiction over a copyright infringement case may grant injunctions to prevent or restrain such infringement. Temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions may also be granted in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Section 504 allows copyright owners to recover either actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer, or statutory damages. Statutory damages can range from $750 to $30,000 per work infringed, and up to $150,000 per work for willful infringement. The court may also award attorney's fees to the prevailing party.
According to Section 602, importing or exporting copies or phonorecords of a work that infringe a copyright owner's exclusive rights is an infringement of those rights. Exceptions are provided for personal use and for copies that are not used to derive a commercial advantage or private financial gain.