US Supreme Court Essentially Removes Time Limit on Copyright Infringement Cases


In the age of generative artificial intelligence, the question of provenance is more important now than ever before.

red curtain near brown wooden chairs
Red curtain near brown wooden chairs in court room setting. Photo by Jackie Hope

After all, creators want to be rewarded for their work and anyone worth their salt should give their inspirations fair credit whether that is a simple citation or in terms of monetary compensation.

The problem with all of this is that creators often need to catch someone infringing on their work, take the case to court, and then hope for the best. It’s a painful process as anyone who has gone through it in the past can tell you.

A recent United States Supreme Court ruling helps even the playing field somewhat for creators in that it essentially removes any time limits on copyright infringement cases giving creators three years after discovering the infringement to take the case to court. That is, three years after they discover it has happened, not three years after it has happened; the distinction essentially opens the door for copyright infringement that happened in the past, but has not yet been discovered, to be fair game for the court system.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the majority, stated:

“There is no time limit on monetary recovery…So a copyright owner possessing a timely claim for infringement is entitled to damages, no matter when the infringement occurred.”

The Hollywood Reporter writes that the case that inspired it all was a sample from the 1984 song “Jam the Box” owned by Sherman Nealy and a 2008’s song from Flo Rida. In prison at the time of the infringement, Nealy argued that he was owed damages back to the date of the 2008 release with Warner Music arguing he could only get damages from 2015 forward. The Supreme Court ruling in this case not only disagreed with Warner, it basically gives creators a whole lot more leverage when it comes to these cases.

Any thoughts you might have on limitations on copyright infringement or the Supreme Court’s ruling are welcome in the comments below.

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About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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