incrediBILL - 7:14 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)
you cannot actually sue anyone for damages without first proving you own a copyright.
You CAN sue.
However, only actual damages may be recovered, not statutory damages.
Your own quote says exactly that:
If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
Seth Resnick, a renowned photographer that I respect, has posted on every page the following:
In the event that an infringement is discovered you will be notified and invoiced at the minimum 10x the STANDARD FEE for unauthorized usage and/or prosecuted for Copyright Infringement in U S Federal Court where you will be subject to a fine of US$150,000 statutory damages as well as all court costs and attorneys' fees.
I list standard rates for image and text usage on some of my sites just to establish the rate for the page usage and have had a couple of ugly infringement incidents.
Did I collect a major windfall of cash?
Of course not, but they quickly settled for a few thousand just to make me go away because as I pointed out the good IP attorneys easily start at over $300+/hr and they would be paying a LOT of money to the attorney, or they could just pay me upfront and get it over with.
Never forget the deadlines.
Don't give people any wiggle room or they will try to wiggle you to death while trying to cover their tracks. I gave them a deadline for making a decision, for making the payment, either by CC or by check, and if by check requested they fax a copy of it to prove it had been written and was indeed going into the mail, with a deadline for receiving it before proceeding otherwise for the maximum allowed by law.
Trick here is the infringer doesn't know if you filed a copyright or not and throwing the exact DMCA in their face with the $150K statutory damages number in their face will scare the heck out of 'em.
You'll be shocked how prompt people can be when the alternative is dropping 2x-3x the amount hiring an attorney to defend themselves.