In Seven Arts Filmed Entertainment, Ltd. v. Content Media Corp. PLC, 2013 US App. LEXIS 22517 (9th Cir., November 6, 2013), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided an issue of first impression in this circuit: whether a claim of copyright infringement based on disputed ownership would be time-barred if a free standing ownership claim was also time-barred. The court held that it would.
This dispute has a lengthy and complicated procedural history. It was litigated for over ten years in several different cases in two countries. The copyrights in issue are for three films: “Rules of Engagement,” “An American Rhapsody,” and “Who is Cletis Tout?.” The plaintiff is Seven Arts Filmed Entertainment, a British production company, who acquired the rights in the films from its predecessor.