• Federal Courts Have Subject-Matter Jurisdiction over Copyright Infringement Claims Involving Unregistered Works
  • March 31, 2010 | Authors: Ryan M. Nishimoto; John C. Ulin
  • Law Firm: Arnold & Porter LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • On March 2, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States held that: (1) the registration requirement of § 411(a) of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 411(a), is not jurisdictional; and (2) a copyright holder’s failure to register a work therefore does not deprive federal courts of subject matter jurisdiction over copyright infringement claims involving unregistered works. The decision, Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick (No. 08-103), 2010 WL 693679 (U.S. Mar. 2, 2010), left undecided the question of whether Section 411(a)’s registration requirement is a mandatory prerequisite to suit that district courts may or should enforce by dismissing infringement claims involving unregistered works sua sponte. It also did not address the circuit split over when copyright registration is complete for purposes of Section 411(a) analysis.