Copyright Infringement Damages Are Limited if Infringement Occurs After the Copyright Holder Obtains its Registration – File Copyright Applications Early!

In general, if one obtains a copyright registration before the commencement of infringing activities, the registrant is entitled to obtain statutory damages and attorney fees against the infringer. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that the first act of infringement commences a single continuing act of infringement, and that separate shipments of infringing goods do not constitute separate acts of infringement. Thus, after the first shipment of infringing goods, a copyright owner cannot recover statutory damages and attorney fees by subsequently registering its copyright. Derek Andrew, Inc. v. Poof Apparel Corp., 528 F.3d 696 (9th Cir. Wash. 2008). Therefore, it is important to register copyrights as soon as possible, to preserve the right to obtain statutory damages and attorney fees against infringers. Please call us if you have any questions about filing for copyright registration.