102.6 Territorial Scope of U.S. Copyright Law
Generally speaking, U.S. copyright law applies only to acts that take place in the United States, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and U.S. territories. See Subafilms, Ltd. v. MGM-Pathe Communications Co., 24 F.3d 1088, 1094-95 (9th Cir. 1994). Under the Berne Convention, national law applies to foreign works, and the law of the country in which infringement takes place generally applies to infringement disputes. Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, art. 5 (1), (3), Sept. 9, 1886, as revised at Paris on July 24, 1971 and amended on Sept. 28, 1979, S. Treaty Doc. No. 99-27 (1986). Thus, copyright infringement that occurs in the United States is governed by U.S. law. However, courts may look to the law of a foreign country where ownership of the work was established or transferred in cases where questions are raised concerning foreign ownership and copyright origin even in the context of a U.S. infringement action. See, e.g., Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v. Russian Kurier, Inc., 153 F.3d 82, 88-92 (2d Cir. 1998).