Damages for Copyright Infringement in the U.S.
The USA is one of a handful of countries which awards statutory damages against copyright infringers and the penalties laid down are punative, up to 150,000 USD plus costs which can often exceed the level of damages, an unsucessful defendant may well find themselves facing a bill of half a million dollars plus their own costs.
Where work has been registered with the US Copyright Office the registered owner of the work may bring actions for either recovery of their loss or statutory damages where the loss does not have to be proved.
Statutory damages ranges from $750 to $30,000 per infringement and where the court finds that the act of infringement was willful or reckless they can impose statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement.
In the recent case of Getty Images (US), Inc. v. Virtual Clinics et al the defendants used two registered pictures on a web site and the copyright owners were awarded the maximum level of statutory of $300,000.