Sunday, April 19, 2009

SCOTUS: Does Failure to Register A Copyright Deprive a Court of Subject Matter Jurisdiction?

In re Electronic Database Litigation, 509 F.3d 116 (2d Cir. 2007) cert. granted March 2, 2009.

Does 17 U.S.C. §411(a) restrict the subject matter jurisdiction of the federal courts
over copyright infringement actions?

Section 411 is the "register before you sue" rule.

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a petition for certiorari on this question.   The Second Circuit, over the dissent of Judge Walker, vacated a class action settlement that authors and media companies had entered into after four years of negotiations.

The Second Circuit found that since the settlement covered unregistered copyrights (most of the authors writing for these publications), the federal court did not have jurisdiction to settle these claims.  

I indicated my agreement with Judge Walker's dissent in my December 2, 2007 post here

If you are interested in the rights of freelancers and the pros and cons of various settlements, check out Irvin Muchnik's Freelance Rights blog here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Muchnick was one of the objectors to the settlement and as a result held up payment to thousands of freelance writers. So please be aware that by visiting Mr. Muchnick's blog, you are getting very biased opinions concerning the Freelance Copyright suit. And you are getting only one side of the argument because Mr. Muchnick screens his comments and won't allow dissenting views.