In its recent decision in Southern Credentialing Support Services, L.L.C. v. Hammond Surgical Hospital, L.L.C., No. 18-31160, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 624 (5th Cir. Jan. 9, 2020), the Fifth Circuit held that a court may not award statutory damages in a copyright infringement matter for post-registration infringement even if the post-registration infringement was different from the pre-registration infringement. Plaintiff, a healthcare credentialing service, filed an infringement suit against defendant, a surgical hospital, alleging that defendant continued to use plaintiff’s credentialing forms without authorization after the parties’ business relationship had ended. The district court granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to the existence of plaintiff’s copyright in, and defendant’s infringement of, the credentialing forms, awarded statutory damages to plaintiff, issued an injunction and found that plaintiff was entitled to attorneys’ fees. Plaintiff and defendant both appealed. On appeal, defendant argued that (a) statutory damages and attorneys’ fees were barred by 17 U.S.C. § 412 because defendant’s infringement predated plaintiff’s copyright registration; and (b) plaintiff’s credentialing forms lack originality and that it did not copy the forms.
Posts from February 2020.
Fifth Circuit Tosses Statutory Damages Award, Reinforcing the Importance of Early Copyright Registration