Big Change: Can’t Enforce Copyright Until Registration Complete

A recent Supreme Court case has changed the landscape for filing a lawsuit for U.S. Copyright infringement significantly.

In Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation v., the Supreme Court overturned prior caselaw and held that before a copyright owner can file suit against an infringer, the copyright registration must be fully processed by the US Copyright Office. Prior to and copyright registration be fully reviewed by the US Copyright Office – regardless of whether they ultimately accept or refuse the application. It is now more crucial than ever to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office in a timely manner, because it often takes several months before you’ll receive your notification of copyright registration.

Although a written or published in the United States is automatically protected by United States Copyright Law, if you need to pursue a lawsuit for copyright infringement, you have to first file your work with the US Copyright Office.

Previously, you were able to begin enforcement proceedings prior to completing registration of the copyright but now you must wait until registration is complete.  This allows for the infringer to continue their bad behavior while you are pending registration and unable to enforce your copyright.  Thus, it is now more important than ever to timely copyright your property.

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