March 4, 2019 / 10:39 PM / 6 months ago

Supreme Court clarifies when copyright owners can sue for infringement

Copyright owners must have a copyright registration from the U.S. Copyright Office, not merely an application pending, before they can sue for infringement, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday, resolving a long-standing circuit split.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court, said the U.S. Copyright Act does not allow a lawsuit to be filed until a “registration ... has been made,” and the term “registration” refers to an action by the U.S. Copyright Office, not the applicant. She upheld a 2017 ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that news organization Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp could not sue financial information website for copyright infringement because its copyright had not been registered.

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