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Copyrights Intellectual Property United States Supreme Court

States Win Some and Lose Some on Copyright Front at Supreme Court This Term

The Supreme Court decided two copyright cases this term, both involving states. This article discusses the cases and their likely impact on copyright law going forward.

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The Supreme Court decided two copyright cases this term, both involving states. In the first, Allen v. Cooper, 140 S.Ct. 994 (2020), the Court dealt the states a victory by holding that, despite an act of Congress to the contrary, states retain their sovereign immunity from copyright infringement actions — for now, anyway. In the second case, Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., 140 S.Ct. 1498 (2020), the Court dealt states a loss by holding that the state of Georgia could not claim copyright ownership in statutory annotations it created. The Court thus expanded the rights of states as copyright infringers but restricts states’ rights as copyright owners. This article discusses the cases and their likely impact on copyright law going forward.

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