May 2017: Copyright Registrations – a Prerequisite to Litigation?

In the case of Fourth Estate Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit deepened the split between the circuit courts on the issue of whether a copyright registration must be obtained by a plaintiff before the plaintiff can bring a copyright infringement lawsuit.  The Eleventh Circuit joined the Tenth Circuit in deciding that a plaintiff must have a granted copyright registration in hand before any copyrights can be enforced in court.  This position is contrary to that of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (which encompasses Nevada) and the Fifth Circuit, which only require a plaintiff to have filed an application for copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office before being able to bring a copyright infringement action.

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