Copyright Litigation 101

If your content is being pirated, how long do you have to sue for damages? Copyright law gives you 3 years to sue. The 3 year deadline starts when the copyright infringement claim “accrues.” U.S. copyright law doesn’t define “accrue,” and the courts are split on its meaning – is it when the piracy’s discovered? When the infringing action occurs? Or some other time?

In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court said (Petrella v MGM) the favored approach is discovery accrual – when a reasonable copyright owner would have discovered infringement.

The copyright litigation deadline clock re-starts for each infringement (each online view or DVD). And even if an infringer wins on the delay point (you waited too long to file), you can still get money damages, just no injunction.

Steve Johnson is an experienced Kansas and Missouri entertainment law attorney who enjoys working with individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations to serve their copyright needs.

Call (913-707-9220) or email (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) Steve Johnson, of Johnson Law KC LLC, today to help with all your entertainment law and copyright needs.

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