A copyright is a form of protection put in place to preserve someone’s intellectual property. For example, a company or individual in Las Vegas may secure a copyright to ensure no one else can use its original works of art, such as music, writing or computer software. As a recent lawsuit demonstrates, infringing on someone else’s copyright can be costly.

In 2010, software giant Oracle filed a lawsuit against a Las Vegas software maintenance firm, Rimini Street. Rimini Street had acted as a third party for other business’ maintenance needs regarding Oracle software. Oracle alleged that Rimini Street used client software on its own computers, infringing on copyright through downloading Oracle material and even using one client’s software to perform a job for another client.

The original lawsuit sought $245.9 million in damages. In October of this year, after five years of legal back-and-forth, a Nevada federal court ruled that Rimini Street must pay Oracle $50 million, and the CEO of the company is liable for $14 million. Rimini Street leadership last year stated that they put a stop to the activity that led to the infringement, though Oracle plans to seek an injunction against the firm.

Executives at Rimini Street say the lawsuit is merely a bump in the road. However, less fortunate companies could easily meet their demise following such a suit. The case illustrates the importance of understanding copyright laws and the practices that could result in a violation of those guidelines. Anyone who has questions about intellectual property laws should consult with an attorney. 

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “Court orders Las Vegas company to pay Oracle $50 million in copyright case,” Oct. 16, 2015