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In another Ninth Circuit case involving Microsoft Corporation, a district court ruled last fall that a software company is entitled to recover statutory damages under both the Copyright and Lanham Acts against those who sell and distribute counterfeit software, where the software maker suffers distinct injuries to different interests as a result of the infringement. Microsoft v. Evans, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77088 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 17, 2007). This Eastern District of California decision reflects what may be a growing trend regarding the issue of awarding statutory damages under both copyright and trademark law for a single act that violates aspects of both statutes.

Copyright ActThe origin of U.S. copyright law is found in the United States Constitution. Article One, Section 8, clause 8, which delegates to Congress the power to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Congress has passed and amended a number of copyright laws effectuating this Constitutional mandate, with the modern iteration being embodied primarily in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. §101 et seq., and its subsequent amendments.

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