Yesterday the United States Supreme Court announced that it was granting the petition for writ of certiorari in the copyright infringement case previously discussed on this blog here and here. The case is Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC and involves the question of when a copyright holder can properly file a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Currently there is a circuit-split as to whether the term “registration” as used in the Copyright Act includes the mere filing of a registration application or whether it requires that the Copyright Office have actually approved or denied the registration application. The plaintiff in the case, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp., filed suit before the Copyright Office had approved or denied its application, and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of its complaint on that basis. The United States Solicitor General, who the Supreme Court invited to weigh in earlier this year, urged the Court to take the case and uphold the Eleventh Circuit’s position.
The Supreme Court is now poised to resolve the dispute and to give copyright holders clarity as to whether they may file suit merely after filing an application for a copyright registration.