Alliance Calls on Congress to Abrogate State Sovereign Immunity in Copyright Cases

On September 2, the News Media Alliance filed comments with the U.S. Copyright Office regarding state sovereign immunity in copyright suits. The Copyright Office is conducting a study into instances of state infringement of copyrights, in response to a request by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The Senators asked the Copyright Office to conduct a study on the issue following a ruling by the Supreme Court in Allen v. Cooper earlier this year. The case concerned a North Carolina creator whose works had been used by the state without authorization. The Supreme Court found that the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 did not validly abrogate state sovereign immunity in copyright suits, meaning that copyright owners cannot sue unwilling state entities for infringement. The Alliance comments focused on the systematic infringement of news articles by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System between 2009 and 2017, and the importance of Congress passing legislation that validly abrogates state sovereign immunity in copyright suits. Read the comments here.

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