Distinction between civil and criminal law

If I did something that leaves me open to being sued, did I necessarily break a law?

For example, if I sell 1,000 copies of a DVD with a pirated movie, it violates copyright law. I could by sued by the copyright holder. Can I be criminally prosecuted as well?

Suppose the mailman trips on my front steps because of a big crack that I, with gross negligence, failed to repair. I could be sued, but am I a criminal?

Bad example. Selling pirated movies is specifically a criminal offence, IIRC. (In the USA and many other jurisdictions, the MPAA and RIAA have lobbied to make media piracy criminal).

But, posting a youtube video of you singing Lady Gaga songs, or printing a book that quotes another book extensively may or may not be a copyright violation - the judge or jury will decide. It’s not a criminal offense. Similarly, calling someone a crook or publishing it is a civil offense you can be sued for, but is not criminal. Nor is breaking a contract and refusing to pay. (unless the result can be construed as theft, but to do so - IANAL - I suppose you have show intent to defraud when the contract was made?)

No. Ordinary negligence is generally not criminal. On the other hand, if you have committed a crime (that has an equivalent in tort law), you’ve almost certainly committed a civil wrong too.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where failing to repair some steps constitutes gross negligence. It’s a virtual textbook example of ordinary civil negligence. Maybe if a dozen people have already been injured by them and you still did nothing.

If your negligence arose as a result of crack use, you could perhaps be charged with possession thereof.

Short answer. Somethings are only civil violations. Some things are only criminal violations. Somethings are both.

In safety related cases, or personal injury, a breach of statutory duty ie a criminal offence, is often used as evidence in the civil case - where there is a claim for remedy