Statute of limitations under the copyright act

Updated March 21, 2017

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.

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About the Author

Carrie Ferland is a practicing civil litigation defense attorney in the Philadelphia Area. As an author, her work has been featured in various legal publications for over 10 years. Ferland is a 2000 graduate of Pennsylvania State University and completed her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration with the Dickinson School of Law. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in English.