Copyright Compendium

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2309.3 (D) Limiting the Innocent Infringer Defense

2309.3 (D) Limiting the Innocent Infringer Defense


Recording a transfer of ownership with the Office may limit a defendant’s ability to assert an innocent infringement defense in a copyright infringement action involving a work published before March 1, 1989.


If the person named in the notice is not the copyright owner, the defendant may assert a defense in an infringement action by proving that he or she was misled by the notice and that he or she used the work in good faith based on a purported transfer or license from the person named in that notice. However, the innocent infringement defense does not apply (I) if the work was registered in the name of the copyright owner before the infringement began, or (ii) if a document executed by the person named in the notice and showing the ownership of the copyright was recorded before the infringement began.


17 U.S.C. § 406 (A).