Court Decision Shields State from Copyright Claims; Threatens Tech Industry, Innovation and Economic Opportunity

For Immediate Release:

SIIA Communications Contact: Diane Pinto, 202.789.4480,

PR Agency Contact: Farrah Ahamad, 202.684.3273,


Court Decision Shields State from Copyright Claims; Threatens Tech Industry, Innovation and Economic Opportunity

Washington D.C. (July 20, 2016) – In an amicus brief filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal association representing the software and digital content industries, argues that states are not immune from copyright claims.  The brief was filed jointly with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) in Oracle v. Oregon, a after a lower court held that the State of Oregon retains its general immunity from copyright claims because the statute which removed the claims immunity (the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990) was ruled unconstitutional.

The case arose out of a dispute between the State of Oregon and Oracle in connection with a contract for Oracle to provide software services to the state’s health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.  Portions of the lower court decision that SIIA and BSA are seeking to overturn would allow state agencies to disregard copyright laws by claiming that, as state actors, they are immune from copyright enforcement lawsuits.

Christopher Mohr, Vice President for Intellectual Property and General Counsel at SIIA stated:

“The lower court decision would allow states to play by two sets of rules: one when someone infringes their rights, and a different one when they’re the infringing party. As copyright owners, the state wants to take full advantage of the law's remedies – but when the shoe is on the other foot, they claim it’s unconstitutional for them to have to pay for harm they cause.  If left standing, the lower court decision would create a special rule that shields the state from being held accountable when it’s actions violate copyright laws.  

“If the lower court’s decision is allowed to stand, there is little to stop states from using intellectual property created and owned by tech companies without permission or payment.  Such immunity from intentional infringement activity would directly impact the economic health of software providers and other technology companies, along with the innovation, jobs and economic opportunity they provide.”

The full text of the brief can be found here.



About SIIA
is an umbrella association representing 800+ technology, data and media companies globally. Industry leaders work through SIIA’s divisions to address issues and challenges that impact their industry segments with the goal of driving innovation and growth for the industry and each member company. This is accomplished through in-person and online business development opportunities, peer networking, corporate education, intellectual property protection and government relations. For more information, visit