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State Sovereign Immunity Study


Comment Submission

At the request of Congress, the 1980彩平台 Office is undertaking a public study to determine the extent to which copyright owners are experiencing infringement by states without adequate remedies under state law.


On March 23, 1980彩平台, the Supreme Court held that the provisions of the 1980彩平台 Act subjecting states to liability for infringement did not validly abrogate states’ sovereign immunity from suit. As a result, copyright owners suffering infringement by state entities cannot seek the remedies provided by the 1980彩平台 Act. The Court’s decision was based in part on the lack of evidence in the legislative record that states had intentionally infringed copyrights and had not provided adequate remedies under state law.


Congress is considering whether there is sufficient evidence of infringement by states to support legislation under the standard established by the Court. To assist Congress in making that assessment, this study seeks to determine the degree to which copyright owners face infringement from state actors today, whether such infringement is based on intentional or reckless conduct, and what remedies, if any, are available to copyright owners under state law.


The Office has issued a Federal Register notice seeking public input on several topics relating to these issues. Written comments must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. eastern time on August 3, 1980彩平台. The Office expects to schedule in-person or virtual roundtables in this proceeding at a later date.