Supreme Court Corner: Q4 2013

By Stan Panikowski and Brian Biggs

Is the equitable defence of laches available in a copyright claim filed within the Copyright Act’s three-year statute of limitations?

In Petrella v Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, Petrella owns the rights to the screenplay for Raging Bull and brought a copyright suit against MGM in 2009 for its ongoing reproduction, marketing and distribution of the 1980 movie based on her father’s 1963 screenplay. Although Petrella only sought damages within the three-year statute of limitations prescribed by the Copyright Act, the Central District of California found Petrella’s suit was barred by laches, i.e. that she had unreasonably delayed her case. The Ninth Circuit affirmed.

Petrella argues a Circuit split: (1) the Ninth Circuit applies a presumption in favour of laches when any infringement occurred outside the three-year limitation; (2) the Fourth, Eleventh and Second Circuits hold that laches cannot bar relief from infringement occurring within the statutory limitations period; and (3) the Sixth and Tenth Circuits strongly disfavour laches in light of the statutorily mandated limitations period. MGM argues the Circuits are not split; instead, each trial court exercised its discretion under different facts resulting in disparate holdings. The court may narrow its holding to the copyright context; however, the court could also speak broadly about when laches is applicable to a cause of action with a statute of limitations…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the DLA Piper briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Backdate to 6th Dec

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in

Register

It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer

 

Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.

 

Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.

 

Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from DLA Piper

View more briefings from DLA Piper

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer

Overview

3 Noble Street
London
EC2V 7EE
UK
http://www.dlapiper.com

Turnover (£m): 1,566.29
No. of lawyers: 3,961 (UK 200)
Jurisdiction: global
No. of offices: more than 75
No. of qualified lawyers: 625 (International 50)

Jobs