Jenner & Block

“Court Holds that Laches Cannot Bar Delayed Copyright Claim,” Communications Lawyer

In this article, Jenner & Block Partners Jessica Ring Amunson and Paul M. Smith and Associate Rochelle P. Lundy examine implications of the closely watched copyright case of Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. The authors explain that the U.S. Supreme Court held that the doctrine of laches could not bar a claim for ongoing infringement, despite the plaintiff’s long delay in bringing suit.  The case surrounds a copyright infringement claim brought against MGM by the family of the man who wrote screenplays for the critically acclaimed 1980 film Raging Bull.  The authors analyze the case and the decision, which allowed the family to pursue an infringement claim against MGM in the lower courts.  While the ruling may cause concern for the film, television and music industries, the authors conclude that independent artists and authors “will be reassured by the Court’s guarantee of an opportunity to have claims of continuing infringement heard even after a significant delay.”