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If a plaintiff is able to establish copyright infringement, the plaintiff is entitled to relief, which may take the form of an injunction (Section 502), impounding and disposition of infringing articles (Section 503), attorneys fees (Section 505), actual damages and profits of the infringer (Section 504), or statutory damages (Section 504(c)).

In order to receive either statutory damages or attorneys fees, it is necessary to file for federal protection immediately upon creation, but in no event later than three months after publication. (Section 412). This is critical because it can be enormously difficult to prove actual damages, and in some cases actual damages may not be present. The threat of statutory damages and the fact that attorneys fees are awarded to the prevailing party may provide the leverage necessary for the copyright owner to obtain the quick and willing acquiesence of the infringing defendant.