The Copyright Act of 1976 is the third and latest copyright act in the United States. Under the act, copyright holders can bring claims against those who infringe upon their rights.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is the statutory maximum period of time after an event occurs in which a claimant can file a claim. After the time limit has expired, no claim can be brought.
Statute of Limitations for Copyright Claims
There is a three-year statute of limitations on copyright infringement claims, which begins at the time the alleged infringement occurs. If an individual committed multiple acts of infringement against one copyright holder, the clock begins to run after the last act was committed.
Statute of Limitations for Criminal Claims
For criminal complaints of copyright infringement, the statute of limitations is also three years.
After the Time Has Elapsed
Any copyright infringement claim brought after the three-year statute of limitations has expired will be dismissed, regardless of the claim's legitimacy.
Extending the Statute of Limitations
In very rare cases, a court may be able to extend the statute of limitations under the Copyright Act if a claimant can demonstrate that it would be unreasonable to except him to uncover the infringement before the three-year statute of limitations had expired.