SCOTUS Rules That Registration Required to File Copyright Suit

Written March 5, 2019

The Supreme Court on March 4, 2019, ruled that a copyright holder must register their work with the US Copyright Office before suing for infringement, and “registration” within the meaning of 17 USC §411(a) occurs not when an application for registration is filed, but when the Copyright Office registers the copyright. Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. LLC, U.S., No. 17-571, 3/04/2019.

The Supreme Court affirmed the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and rejected Fourth Estate's argument that the act of applying for copyright registration meets the requirement for filing an infringement suit.