From what point in time does the 3-year statute of limitations begin to run?

Copyright Statute Limitations Copyright Law Intellectual Property

From what point in time does the 3-year statute of limitations begin to run?

The general rule is that the statute of limitations starts from the date of the last infringing act. However, the courts are divided as to how this applies. Some courts hold that you can recover your damages for the entirety of the infringement so long as a lawsuit is filed within 3 years of the last infringing act; others limit damages to those acts which occurred within the three years leading up to the lawsuit.

What constitutes an infringing act may also vary. For example, if you author a magazine article published on July 1, 1998, and on September 30, 1998 somebody directly copies the article without your permission, and puts it in a book manuscript as her own. Assume the book is released June 1, 1999, and is then reprinted in a second edition (with your material unchanged) on December 15, 2000. Courts might come to different conclusions in deciding whether the infringement occurred September 30, 1998, June 1, 1999 or December 15, 2000 — or if the book remains on the market, even later.

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