Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle USA, Inc., U.S., No. 17-1625, amicus brief on the merits supporting neither party, filed 11/19/2018.
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AIPLA on November 19, 2018, argued in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court that awards of “full costs” under Section 505 of the Copyright Act are limited to categories that courts may tax as costs under 28 U.S.C. §1920 and order paid to witnesses under 28 U.S.C. §1821.
Beyond the merits of statutory interpretation arguments, the brief maintained that the policy of incentivizing prompt copyright registration with extraordinary remedies is undermined by exempting copyright costs from those Title 28 limitations. Congress permitted in 17 U.S.C. §412 the extraordinary remedies of statutory damages and attorney’s fees only where registration was made before infringement commenced or within three months of first publication. Absent the limitations of Sections 1920 and 1821, extraordinary cost awards may circumvent those statutory incentives to register.
The brief also contends that allowing awards of “full costs” without limitation gives courts no guidance about the factors to be considered, which is likely to increase the uncertainty about cost awards that already exists among various courts.