Time for a few brief mentions of interesting cases and developments in the law after another busy period which kept me from blogging.
Jack Urbont sued Sony and others alleging copyright infringement and New York common law claims relating to his rights to the musical composition and sound recording of the "Iron Man Theme." Sony moved to dismiss in part Urbont's copyright infringement claims relating to alleged infringements occurring prior to May 21, 2007, asserting that those claims were untimely.
The question presented to the Southern District of New York was the proper rule to apply to determine when a copyright infringement claim "accrued" under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 507(b).
Sony urged the injury rule, under which a claim accrues at the time of each act of infringement regardless of the copyright owner's knowledge of the infringement. Urbont, in turn, urged the discovery rule, under which a claim does not accrue until the copyright owner knows or has reason to know of the injury that forms the basis of the copyright infringement claim.
The SDNY noted that neither the Supreme Court nor the Second Circuit has ruled on the accrual rule applicable to federal copyright infringement claims and that district courts in the Second Circuit had followed both rules at different times.
But, after noting that since the 2004 decision in Auscape Int'l v. Nat'l Geographic Soc'y, 409 F. Supp. 2d 235 (S.D.N.Y. 2004), a majority of the district courts had applied the injury rule, and after its own review of the legislative history of the Copyright Act and Supreme Court and Second Circuit guidance, the SDNY concluded that the injury rule provided the appropriate approach for determining when a copyright infringement claim accrues.
The case cite is Urbont v. Sony Music Entm't, 11 Civ. 4516 (NRB) (S.D.N.Y. March 27, 2012).