Internationalizing Copyright: How Claims of International, Extraterritorial Copyright Infringement May Be Brought in U.S. Courts


This Comment assesses the use of the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) as a jurisdictional basis for claims of international copyright infringement occurring outside of the United States. Under the ATS, aliens may sue in United States district courts for torts that amount to violations of treaties or the law of nations.

Given that copyright infringement is a tort, an alien may only be able to establish ATS jurisdiction in a suit of extraterritorial infringement if the infringement violated a treaty or the law of nations. This comment argues that extraterritorial copyright infringement does indeed amount to a violation of the law of nations. Consequently, an alien’s claim of extraterritorial copyright infringement may invoke ATS jurisdiction, even under the demanding standards imposed by Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain.


Intellectual Property Law | International Law | International Trade Law | Internet Law | Jurisdiction | Science and Technology Law

Date of this Version

January 2007