Statute of Limitations

What is a ‘statute of limitations’?

A written time limit in which to file a legal action.

Click here for copyright statute of limitations

By Andrew Hudson Published: August 7, 2012 Updated: September 3, 2013

A “statute of limitations” is a time limit, written into the law, to ensure timely prosecution while the evidence is fresh.

“A statute of limitations is an enactment in a common law legal system that sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated.”

The concept dates to Roman law and is designed to protect the defense from old claims when evidence may be lost or obscure. However, the defendant must immediately assert the statute of limitations (SOL), otherwise it may be assumed to have been waived (and then the defendant is, well, SOL).


The statute of limitations for copyright (to file a civil suit) is three years.

copyright statute of limitations

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