The people at Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. (FEPBC) write news and shit. So do the people at Wall-Street.com (WS). FEPBC then license people to use their content to groups like WS to use, which WS opted to do, because they’re lazy and can’t write their own shit apparently. Who knows?
Under license agreements with FEPBC, if WS decided to cancel their license subscription, they were supposed to remove the content. But WS was like, “Fuck all that, we’ve got more important shit to do. And besides, you don’t even have a copyright for that content, bitch!”
Here’s the rub. FEPBC had submitted paperwork to have their shit copyrighted, but it hadn’t yet been approved. So FEPBC was like, “We do have a copyright you asshat, remove our comment from your site post-haste!”
But then WS was all like, “If it ain’t registered, and you didn’t get that funny little letter saying as much, you don’t have jack shit—we’re leaving it up. Eat a bag of dicks.”
SCOTUS was asked to decide if a copyright was valid from the time it was applied for, or the time it was granted.
All nine sided with Wall-Street.com and told FEPBC that, “you have a copyright when we say you have a copyright motherfucker, and not a moment earlier. Now fuck off.” Judgement for Wall-Street.com
Read about the case and hear oral arguments here.