Two lawyers filed a class action claiming that Westlaw and Lexis infringe the copyrights of lawyers when legal briefs are made available online. Today, Westlaw and Lexis moved to dismiss with respect to the subclass of plaintiffs who (probably like most lawyers) have not registered their briefs as copyrighted. The motions, which are here (Westlaw) and here (Lexis), are short and raise a single point: the Copyright Act allows only holders of registered copyrights to sue for infringement. 17 U.S.C. § 411(a). One would normally expect two defendants with a single common defense to file a joint brief, but, for Westlaw and Lexis, that would require deciding whose database to cite for unpublished cases. The underlying case appears to raise interesting and novel legal issues, as explained in this blog post, and this letter from a lawyer complaining about the California Supreme Court’s practice of sharing briefs with Lexis. The case is before Judge Rakoff.