In its very recent decision in Fourth Estate Pub. Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, the Supreme Court held that an action for copyright infringement cannot be instituted unless and until the plaintiff has obtained a copyright registration for the allegedly infringed works. Now, district courts in both California and New York have held that the Fourth Estate decision precludes a plaintiff from amending a complaint to add works registered after the commencement of the original lawsuit.
In Izmo, Inc. v. Roadster, Inc., a court in the Northern District of California ruled that a plaintiff who had commenced a litigation with 11 registered photographs could not amend the complaint to add 69 subsequently obtained registrations. In so holding, the court cited with approval an April 2019 decision in the Southern District of New York, Malibu Media, LLC v. Doe, reaching the same conclusion based upon the language of the Copyright Act and the Supreme Court's reasoning in Fourth Estate.
While, in many instances, a plaintiff might be able to file a new action to bring claims based upon newly obtained registrations, there could be situations where the new claims could face statute of limitations or other procedural obstacles.