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The US Supreme Court has ruled that rights holders must wait for a copyright registration to have been completed before an infringement claim can be made.


  • Different interpretations of copyright laws are not uncommon, particularly when opposing sides in a case are either battling against an accusation of copyright infringement or trying to make a case for it.
  • The issue of what can be claimed for, when, and how the status of a copyright registration can affect a claim has been contentious in the US for several years, as some courts have held that application for registration alone was enough to allow for a claim, while others have ruled that a registration must be in place before any action can be taken.
  • A ruling at the US Supreme Court in early March looks likely to have settled the matter once and for all.

Features and Benefits

  • Explains the significance of the US Supreme Court's ruling on copyright registration.
  • Explains the details of the case heard by the US Supreme Court and its significance in copyright infringement claims.

Key questions answered

  • What must a rights holder do before they can file a claim for copyright infringement?
  • What was the argument made in favor of a copyright registration application being enough to file an infringement claim?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • When a copyright registration is not a copyright registration
  • Clarification of section 411(a) of the Copyright Act
  • Context of key section wording


  • Author