Spicy IP Tidbit: US Court rules that all non-US copyright owners must register their Copyright

Some useful information for all non-US copyright holders who may need to file a suit in the US for copyright infringement:

An article on Mondaq by James Trigg and Harris W. Henderson, points out an interesting decision [Elsevier B.V. v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., No, 9 Civ. 2124 (S.D.N.Y. January, 14, 2010)] by the Southern District Court of New York which affects all non-US copyright holders.
In brief, the article points out that the court essentially held that certain formality-requiring provisions of the US Copyright Act cannot be challenged under the Berne Convention as it is not a self-executing treaty. [The Berne Convention states that the enjoyment and exercise of copyright shall not be subject to any formality] The formalities in question require the registration of copyrights by the owner with the US Copyright Office prior to an infringement, or at the most within the 3 month grace period after publication in order to be eligible for statutory damages and attorney fees. US is the only country where such a requirement is necessary. Thus a plaintiff would be required to prove actual damages and/or profits made by the defendant alleged with infringement in the absence of the plaintiff’s registration of the copyright.

See the full article for more details on the case.

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