12 April 2019Copyright

News analysis: Copyright Office delays in the spotlight

Copyright law in the US as it currently stands is the product of more than 200 years of amendments. At its inception in 1790, copyright protection was limited to 14 years (with the possibility of renewal for a further 14 years) and granted only on application. Since then, the duration of copyright has increased steadily, while the requirements for application or registration of the right have, broadly, loosened.

Today, there is no requirement to register a copyright in order to own it. However, since 1976, when the US Copyright Act was codified in USC section 411 of title 17, the law has required that “no civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until preregistration or registration of the copyright claim has been made”.

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