Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Copyright Holder's Suit Against Smithsonian Press Dismissed

The Second Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a copyright holder's lawsuit against the Smithsonian press for lack of jurisdiction, holding that such suits must be filed in the U. S. Court of Federal Claims under 28 U.S.C.S. ยง 1498(b). Arguing pro se, Kevin O'Rourke, who practices law in New York, wished ultimately to bring a claim that the Smithsonian had infringed his copyright in his book Currier and Ives: The Irish in America when it published its book Currier and Ives: America Imagined. The court examined the legislative history of the relevant statutes as well as Congress' relationship to the Smithsonian and concluded that Congress meant to establish "that the Smithsonian is within the term "the United States" in  28 U. S. C. [sec]1498(b). That section waives sovereign immunity with respect to copyright infringement claims brought against the United States, but only to the extent that such claims are brought in the United States Court of Federal Claims. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court, dismissing the present action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction." Read the opinion here.

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