The U.S. Supreme Court Issues Two Copyright Opinions

The U.S. Supreme Court Issues Two Copyright Opinions
March 4, 2019 dmock2015

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two unanimous opinions regarding copyrights.  The first opinion finally resolved a circuit split about the timing of copyright infringement cases.  The Court ruled that only copyright holders of a registered copyright may commence an infringement lawsuit. However, those persons may recover damages for infringement occurring prior to such registration.  Previously, some circuits (including the Ninth Circuit) had allowed initiation of a copyright infringement action while a copyright application was still pending.

The second opinion clarified the award of litigation expenses in copyright infringement cases.  The Court ruled that district courts may only award certain expenses within the enumerated categories authorized by federal statute and do not have the discretion to award additional litigation expenses under the Copyright Act.  For purposes of this case, the Court found that the Copyright Act does not expand the six categories of costs specified in the general costs statutes (28 U.S.C. sections 1821 and 1920), and therefore the district court’s $12.8 million award for litigation expenses impermissibly included expert witness fees, e-discovery expenses, and jury consultant fees.

The full opinions (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v., LLC  and Rimini Street, Inc., v. Oracle USA, Inc.) are available on the U.S. Supreme Court website.


Legal Disclaimer:

This content of this blog is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The transmission of information on this blog is not intended to establish, and receipt of such information does not establish or constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act or rely on any information contained on this blog without first seeking the advice of an attorney.
This blog is not intended to be advertising, and Delfino Madden O’Malley Coyle & Koewler LLP does not desire to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this blog or any articles contained on this blog in a jurisdiction where this email fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that jurisdiction.