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Secondary Liability for Copyright Infringement

Learn about secondary liability for copyright infringement, including contributory infringement and inducement.


The Copyright Act doesn’t expressly define any secondary liability for infringement. Rather, all theories of secondary liability are judicially created and grounded in tort principles of vicarious liability. The United States Supreme Court has also borrowed from patent law in defining theories of secondary liability for copyright infringement. Unlike direct infringement, secondary liability isn’t a strict-liability offense. Rather, to be held secondarily liable for another’s direct...