RJack wrote:
> Hyman Rosen wrote:
> >
> > It is possible that the court will decide it does not have
> > subject-matter jurisdiction over the versions which the defendants
> > are copying and distributing because those versions are not
> > registered.
> That is no longer good law. It is now a claim processing requirement.
> http://www.pattishall.com/pdf/3-9-10%20Reed%20v%20Elsevier%20v%20Munchink%20Blog%20Post.pdf

In essense, a plaintiff without a registration will still lose, just for
different reasons.


"Supreme Court clarifies basis for why copyright suits over unregistered
works should be dismissed

March 3rd, 2010

By Evan Brown 

Image via WikipediaSupreme Court overturns Second Circuit, holding that
a copyright plaintiff’s failure to register the work before filing suit
does not deprive the court of subject matter jurisdiction. 

Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick, Slip. Op., 559 U.S. ___ (March 2, 2010) [View
opinion here]

“Subject matter jurisdiction” refers to a court’s power to hear the
matter before it. The Constitution sets out the general contours for the
federal courts’ jurisdiction, and Congress enacts statutes that give
more detail to this set of powers. Particular statutes can define
whether the federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over certain
types of cases. For example, Congress has declared that the federal
courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright cases (See 28 U.S.C.

If a court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the type of
matter before it, it has no power to adjudicate the case. So the
question of whether subject matter jurisdiction exists is critical. 

The Supreme Court just decided a case that deals with the scope of
subject matter jurisdiction in copyright cases, and clarifies a notion
that has been the subject of some uncertainty. The question the court
decided was whether a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction over
a copyright case when a work at issue is not the subject of a copyright

Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act (at 17 U.S.C. 411(a)) provides,
among other things, that “no civil action for infringement of the
copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until . . .
registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with
this title.”

Some courts have held, and many litigants have argued, that this
provision of Section 411 is a “jurisdictional prerequisite.” Said
another way, some have argued that if the copyright plaintiff files suit
without having secured a registration, the court is without subject
matter jurisdiction over the case. In the case of Reed Elsevier, Inc. v.
Muchnick, however, the Supreme Court held that Section 411 does not
deprive the court of subject matter jurisdiction, but instead merely
provides a “claim-processing rule,” akin to an element of the case. 

The lower court proceedings


The court’s holding

It is worth noting that this case does not address the bothersome
question of whether Section 411 requires that a copyright plaintiff
actually have a registration certificate in hand before filing the
complaint, or whether he or she simply needs to have the application on
file. The case also does not stand for the proposition that one can
pursue copyright infringement litigation without having registered his
or her copyright. A plaintiff without a registration will still lose,
just for different reasons. 


What does it mean?

The case actually addresses a rather nuanced point of copyright law. And
the effect of the holding will not change the end results of cases
brought in the future with the same facts — after all, a non-registering
plaintiff will still lose either way, now just for a different reason.
Motions to dismiss copyright complaints alleging infringement of
unregistered works will clearly fall under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
(failure to state a claim) and not 12(b)(1) (lack of jurisdiction). "


P.S. "Every computer program in the world, BusyBox included, exceeds the
originality standards required by copyright law."

Hyman Rosen <hyro...@mail.com> The Silliest GPL 'Advocate'

P.P.S. "Of course correlation implies causation! Without this 
fundamental principle, no science would ever make any progress."

Hyman Rosen <hyro...@mail.com> The Silliest GPL 'Advocate'

(GNG is a derecursive recursive derecursion which pwns GNU since it can 
be infinitely looped as GNGNGNGNG...NGNGNG... and can be said backwards 
too, whereas GNU cannot.)
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