This Comment surveys the contemporary status of copyright law regarding a creator-assignee's standing to sue for infringement and the bases for allowing a creator-assignee to bring an infringement action. Part II begins the discussion with a review of the general principles of copyright law, including its constitutional and statutory frameworks, its underlying policies, and the moral rights doctrine. Part III continues with an overview of the general constitutional standing principles and real party in interest prerequisites. It then outlines the statutory and judicial limits on standing to sue under copyright law. Part IV discusses the issue of assignee standing in copyright law and then reviews the issue of creator-assignee's standing to sue. This discussion focuses on the recent case of Silvers v. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a creator-assignee does not have standing to sue. Finally, Part V sets forth three arguments for granting a creator-assignee standing to sue for copyright infringement. First, granting a creator-assignee standing to sue effectuates Congress's intent that the rights granted under the Copyright Act of 1976 be divisible and alienable. Second, a creator-assignee fulfills the standing and real party in interest prerequisites. Finally, allowing a creator-assignee standing to sue advances the constitutional goals of promoting progress and protecting a creator's rights in her work. The thrust of this argument relies on both the economic and non-economic justifications of copyright law, in particular the right of attribution.
Karen A. Skretkowicz, Unauthorized Annexing of an Artist's World: An Argument for Creator-Assignee Standing to Sue for Copyright Infringement, 30 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 437 (2006).