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Statutory damages are damages pre-established by statute for cases where calculating a correct sum may be difficult or where actual damages might be too low to motivate plaintiffs to sue to vindicate their rights.

U.S. copyright law[]

The successful plaintiff in a copyright infringement case can recover either actual damages, or damages set by statute, known as statutory damages.[1] Statutory damages prescribe amounts that may be significantly higher than actual damages — from $750 to $150,000. The amount of statutory damages may be increased in cases where a court finds that infringement was willful or, correspondingly, reduced when it finds the infringement was "innocent," i.e., the infringer was "not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement," or the infringer had reasonable grounds to believe that the use was a fair use.[2]


  1. 17 U.S.C. §504.
  2. See id. §107.