Contingency Art Law case
Intellectual Property

How we decide to take a copyright case on contingency

When someone discovers that their creative work has been stolen, their first emotion is usually anger and outrage eliciting waves of yelling and screaming of pithy commentary such as “I am going to sue them for everything they’ve got!!!!!” But once this initial reaction subsides, the next phase turns into confusion. Questions abound: “What should I do” “Can I Sue?”  “Can I Afford to Sue?”  “Is it worth the effort?”  These are all good questions and in many cases, they can be answered in a single word: contingency.

Go to for details on how attorneys decide to take a copyright case on contingency

What this means is that, in some instances, an attorney will take a copyright infringement case without charging a fee for their time, in return for a larger lump sum payout at the end should they win the case for you.  The only payment required by the client are the out-of-pocket costs incurred, such as court filing fees. So you may end up paying more to the attorney if you win, but if you lose, then your monetary outlay would be only out-of-pocket costs.

As you can imagine, contingency can be risky so the attorney has to be careful in deciding the most appropriate cases for contingency.  Well, Joel Rothman, a well renowned Intellectual property attorney has written an excellent article, “6 Factors We Consider for Copyright Infringement Contingency Litigation.” I suggest you read it as it may help you through the confusion phase if you ever find yourself the victim of copyright infringement.  And it may even reduce the screaming and yelling.

We also highly recommend that you subscribe to the sriplaw blog as it always has excellent articles related to copyright, trademark and patent issues.

How we decide to take a copyright case on contingency 1

About the author

Steve Schlackman

As a photographer and Patent Attorney with a background in marketing, Steve has a unique perspective on art and law. Should you have any questions on Intellectual Property contact him at [email protected] His photography can be seen online at or on display at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York City.

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