August 05, 2019 Feature

Application Is Not Registration: U.S. Supreme Court Resolves Circuit Split on Copyright Act Section 411(a) Registration Requirement

E. Scott Johnson and Julius Bodie

©2019. Published in Landslide, Vol. 11, No. 6, July/August 2019, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

On March 4, 2019, in a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that copyright owners must wait for the U.S. Copyright Office to take action on an application for registration before commencing an infringement suit. The holding in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC1 settled a long-standing circuit split on the interpretation of the registration requirement in § 411(a) of the U.S. Copyright Act.

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