The old adage that “equity aids the vigilant” is often used as justification for allowing the equitable defense of laches to apply in copyright infringement cases where the copyright holder unreasonably delays in filing suit and that delay causes prejudice to the alleged infringers. But should that protection exist, and if so, how far should it go? A recent decision reinforces the Ninth Circuit’s position that the laches defense should be allowed in copyright actions to bar all equitable and statutory relief-even if the action is still within the statute of limitations. Although the circuits are split as to the exact extent laches should be allowed in copyright infringement suits, this Note argues that the reinforcement of the Ninth Circuit’s expansive view on the scope of laches to bar copyright owners’ relief in Petrella v. Metro-GoldwynMayer, Inc. is unduly inequitable and hostile to innocent copyright holders.
Jacqui Bogucki, Copyright Law – A Challenge to the Ninth Circuit’s Fight Applying Laches in Raging Bull Suit, 66 SMU L. Rev. 391 (2013)