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Songwiters Can't Sue Without Copyright Certificate says U.S. Supreme Court, RIAA Cries Foul

Copyright-symbolIn a rare unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that applying for a copyright is not enough to so sue someone for copyright infringement.  It currently can take months to receive the formal certificate of registration.

In the case between Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation and Wall-Street.com, the Court decided that copyright holders must wait for a registration certificate before filing a lawsuit.

“This ruling allows administrative backlog to prejudice the timely enforcement of constitutionally based rights and prevents necessary and immediate action against infringement that happens at Internet speed,” the RIAA said in a statement. “Given this ruling, the Copyright Office must also work at Internet speed to ensure adequate enforcement protects essential rights.”

The Copyright Alliance agreed: “(On) average, it takes the Copyright Office six months to process a claim. That average goes up to nine months if a Copyright Office Examiner needs to correspond with a copyright owner. In a world of viral, online infringement, a lot of damage can be done to a copyrighted work while an owner is powerless to stop it.”

Too Bad, says The Supremes

“Delays, in large part, are the result of Copyright Office staffing and budgetary shortages that Congress can alleviate, but courts cannot cure. Unfortunate as the current administrative lag may be, that factor does not allow this Court to revise §411(a)’s congressionally composed text,” write Justice Ginsburg in the ruling.

Read the full decision via Torrentfreak here.

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