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Anne-Marie is an Associate in Mintz Levin's San Diego office. She represents clients in a wide variety of intellectual property, complex commercial, real estate, and class action defense matters. Anne-Marie’s litigation experience includes trademark infringement, copyright infringement, defense of corporate clients against class action suits alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and representing clients in lease disputes in both federal and state court.

On May 18, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a copyright infringement complaint and added further to a circuit split on when copyright “registration” occurs for purpose of filing a copyright infringement complaint. “Registration” of a copyright is required of US copyright owners prior to being able to file suit for copyright infringement (17 U.S.C. § 411(a)). However, there is no consensus on whether registration occurs when an owner files an application to register the copyright or occurs only when the Register of Copyrights actually issues a copyright registration.

In this case, Plaintiff Fourth Estate Benefit Corporation (“Fourth Estate”), a news organization, filed a complaint for copyright infringement against Wall-Street.com, also a news website. Wall-Street.com had obtained copyright licenses for a number of Fourth Estate’s articles, but failed to remove Fourth Estate’s articles upon cancelling its account with Fourth Estate as required by the license agreement. When Fourth Estate filed suit for copyright infringement, the complaint merely alleged that Fourth Estate had filed applications to obtain copyright registrations for the articles, not that any action had yet been taken on the applications by the US Copyright Office.

Continue Reading When is a Copyright “Registered” for Purposes of Filing Suit?