Selected Provisions of Copyright Act of 1976, as amended,
Codified in Title 17, United States Code
17 U.S.C. § 101. Definitions
Except as otherwise provided in this title, as used in this title, the following
terms and their variant forms mean the following:
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"Audiovisual works" are works that consist of a series of related images
which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines or devices
such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment, together with accompanying
sounds, if any, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as
films or tapes, in which the works are embodied.
The "Berne Convention" is the Convention for the Protection of Literary
and Artistic Works, signed at Berne, Switzerland, on September 9, 1886,
and all acts, protocols, and revisions thereto.
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A "collective work" is a work, such as a periodical issue, anthology,
or encyclopedia, in which a number of contributions, constituting separate
and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole.
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A "compilation" is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting
materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such
a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work
of authorship. The term "compilation" includes collective works.
A "computer program" is a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result.
"Copies" are material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work
is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the
work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly
or with the aid of a machine or device. The term "copies" includes
the material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first
"Copyright owner", with respect to any one of the exclusive rights comprised
in a copyright, refers to the owner of that particular right.
A work is "created" when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the
first time; where a work is prepared over a period of time, the portion
of it that has been fixed at any particular time constitutes the work
as of that time, and where the work has been prepared in different versions,
each version constitutes a separate work.
A "derivative work" is a work based upon one or more preexisting works,
such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization,
motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment,
condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed,
or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations,
elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original
work of authorship, is a "derivative work".
A "device", "machine", or "process" is one now known or later developed.
A "digital transmission" is a transmission in whole or in part in a digital
or other non-analog format.
To "display" a work means to show a copy of it, either directly or by
means of a film, slide, television image, or any other device or process
or, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to show
individual images nonsequentially.
A work is "fixed" in a tangible medium of expression when its embodiment
in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of the author, is
sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced,
or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration.
A work consisting of sounds, images, or both, that are being transmitted,
is "fixed" for purposes of this title if a fixation of the work is being
made simultaneously with its transmission.
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A "joint work" is a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention
that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts
of a unitary whole.
"Literary works" are works, other than audiovisual works, expressed in words,
numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, regardless of
the nature of the material objects, such as books, periodicals, manuscripts,
phonorecords, film, tapes, disks, or cards, in which they are embodied.
"Motion pictures" are audiovisual works consisting of a series of related
images which, when shown in succession, impart an impression of motion,
together with accompanying sounds, if any.
To "perform" a work means to recite, render, play, dance, or act it, either
directly or by means of any device or process or, in the case of a motion
picture or other audiovisual work, to show its images in any sequence or
to make the sounds accompanying it audible.
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"Phonorecords" are material objects in which sounds, other than those accompanying
a motion picture or other audiovisual work, are fixed by any method now
known or later developed, and from which the sounds can be perceived, reproduced,
or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine
or device. The term "phonorecords" includes the material object in
which the sounds are first fixed.
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"Publication" is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to
the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease,
or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group
of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or
public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display
of a work does not of itself constitute publication.
* * *
To perform or display a work "publicly" means
(1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place
where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a
family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or
(2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the
work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of
any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving
the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate
places and at the same time or at different times.
* * *
"Sound recordings" are works that result from the fixation of a series
of musical, spoken, or other sounds, but not including the sounds accompanying
a motion picture or other audiovisual work, regardless of the nature of
the material objects, such as disks, tapes, or other phonorecords, in
which they are embodied.
* * *
A "transfer of copyright ownership" is an assignment, mortgage, exclusive
license, or any other conveyance, alienation, or hypothecation of a copyright
or of any of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright, whether or
not it is limited in time or place of effect, but not including a nonexclusive
* * *
To "transmit" a performance or display is to communicate it by any device
or process whereby images or sounds are received beyond the place from which
they are sent.
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A "work made for hire" is—
(1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment;
(2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution
to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual
work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as
an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as
an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed
by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire. For
the purpose of the foregoing sentence, a "supplementary work" is a work
prepared for publication as a secondary adjunct to a work by another author
for the purpose of introducing, concluding, illustrating, explaining,
revising, commenting upon, or assisting in the use of the other work,
such as forewords, afterwords, pictorial illustrations, maps, charts,
tables, editorial notes, musical arrangements, answer material for tests,
bibliographies, appendixes, and indexes, and an "instructional text" is
a literary, pictorial, or graphic work prepared for publication and with
the purpose of use in systematic instructional activities.
In determining whether any work is eligible to be considered a work made
for hire under paragraph (2), neither the amendment contained in section
1011(d) of the Intellectual Property and Communications Omnibus Reform Act
of 1999, as enacted by section 1000(a)(9) of Public Law 106-113, nor the
deletion of the words added by that amendment—(A) shall be considered or
otherwise given any legal significance, or (B) shall be interpreted to indicate
congressional approval or disapproval of, or acquiescence in, any judicial
determination, by the courts or the Copyright Office. Paragraph (2) shall
be interpreted as if both section 2(a)(1) of the Work Made For Hire and
Copyright Corrections Act of 2000 and section 1011(d) of the Intellectual
Property and Communications Omnibus Reform Act of 1999, as enacted by section
1000(a)(9) of Public Law 106-113, were never enacted, and without regard
to any inaction or awareness by the Congress at any time of any judicial
* * *
17 U.S.C. § 102. Subject matter of copyright: In general
(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title,
in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression,
now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced,
or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine
or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
(7) sound recordings; and
(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship
extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept,
principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described,
explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.
17 U.S.C. § 103. Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and
(a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes
compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting
material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the
work in which such material has been used unlawfully.
(b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only
to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished
from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any
exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such
work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration,
ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting
* * *
17 U.S.C.§ 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works
Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of a copyright under this
title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the
public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or
(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works,
pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform
the copyrighted work publicly;
(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works,
pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the
individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display
the copyrighted work publicly; and
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly
by means of a digital audio transmission.
17 U.S.C. § 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A [preserving the
author's "moral rights" of attribution and integrity of his/her works],
the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in
copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section,
for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including
multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an
infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of
a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is
of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the
copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair
use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
* * *
17 U.S.C. § 117. Limitations on exclusive rights: computer programs
(a) Making of additional copy or adaptation by owner of copy.
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement
for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the
making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:
(1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step
in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine
and that it is used in no other manner, or
(2) that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and
that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession
of the computer program should cease to be rightful.
(b) Lease, sale, or other transfer of additional copy or adaptation.
Any exact copies prepared in accordance with the provisions of this
section may be leased, sold, or otherwise transferred, along with the copy
from which such copies were prepared, only as part of the lease, sale, or
other transfer of all rights in the program. Adaptations so prepared
may be transferred only with the authorization of the copyright owner.
(c) Machine maintenance or repair. Notwithstanding the provisions
of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner or lessee of a machine
to make or authorize the making of a copy of a computer program if such
copy is made solely by virtue of the activation of a machine that lawfully
contains an authorized copy of the computer program, for purposes only of
maintenance or repair of that machine, if
(1) such new copy is used in no other manner and is destroyed immediately
after the maintenance or repair is completed; and
(2) with respect to any computer program or part thereof that is not necessary
for that machine to be activated, such program or part thereof is not
accessed or used other than to make such new copy by virtue of the activation
of the machine.
(d) Definitions. For purposes of this section
(1) the "maintenance" of a machine is the servicing of the machine
in order to make it work in accordance with its original specifications
and any changes to those specifications authorized for that machine; and
(2) the "repair" of a machine is the restoring of the machine
to the state of working in accordance with its original specifications
and any changes to those specifications authorized for that machine.
* * *
17 U.S.C. § 201. Ownership of copyright
(a) Initial ownership. Copyright in a work protected under
this title vests initially in the author or authors of the work. The
authors of a joint work are co-owners of copyright in the work.
(b) Works made for hire. In the case of a work made for hire,
the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered
theauthor for purposes of this title, and, unless the parties have expressly
agreed otherwise in a written instrument signed by them, owns all of the
rights comprised in the copyright.
(c) Contributions to collective works. Copyright in each separate
contribution to a collective work is distinct from copyright in the collective
work as a whole, and vests initially in the author of the contribution.
In the absence of an express transfer of the copyright or of any
rights under it, the owner of copyright in the collective work is presumed
to have acquired only the privilege of reproducing and distributing the
contribution as part of that particular collective work, any revision
of that collective work, and any later collective work in the same series.
(d) Transfer of ownership.
(1) The ownership of a copyright may be transferred in whole or
in part by any means of conveyance or by operation of law, and may be
bequeathed by will or pass as personal property by the applicable laws
of intestate succession.
(2) Any of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright, including
any subdivision of any of the rights specified by section 106, may be
transferred as provided by clause (1) and owned separately. The
owner of any particular exclusive right is entitled, to the extent of
that right, to all of the protection and remedies accorded to the copyright
owner by this title.
* * *
17 U.S.C. § 301. Preemption with respect to other laws
(a) On and after January 1, 1978, all legal or equitable rights that
are equivalent to any of the exclusive rights within the general scope of
copyright as specified by section 106 in works of authorship that are fixed
in a tangible medium of expression and come within the subject matter of
copyright as specified by sections 102 and 103, whether created before or
after that date and whether published or unpublished, are governed exclusively
by this title. Thereafter, no person is entitled to any such right
or equivalent right in any such work under the common law or statutes of
(b) Nothing in this title annuls or limits any rights or remedies
under the common law or statutes of any State with respect to
(1) subject matter that does not come within the subject matter of copyright
as specified by sections 102 and 103, including works of authorship not
fixed in any tangible medium of expression; or
(2) any cause of action arising from undertakings commenced before January
(3) activities violating legal or equitable rights that are not equivalent
to any of the exclusive rights within the general scope of copyright as
specified by section 106; or
(4) State and local landmarks, historic preservation, zoning, or building
codes, relating to architectural works protected under section 102(a)(8).
* * *
17 U.S.C. § 401. Notice of copyright: Visually perceptible copies.
(a) General provisions. Whenever a work protected under this
title is published in the United States or elsewhere by authority of the
copyright owner, a notice of copyright as provided by this section may
be placed on publicly distributed copies from which the work can be visually
perceived, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. [Emphasis
(b) Form of notice. If a notice appears on the copies, it shall
consist of the following three elements:
(1) the symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word "Copyright",
or the abbreviation "Copr."; and
(2) the year of first publication of the work; in the case of compilations
or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year
date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient.
The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural
work, with accompanying text matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting
cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful articles;
(3) the name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation
by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative
designation of the owner.
(c) Position of notice. The notice shall be affixed to the copies
in such manner and location as to give reasonable notice of the claim of
copyright. The Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation,
as examples, specific methods of affixation and positions of the notice
on various types of works that will satisfy this requirement, but these
specifications shall not be considered exhaustive.
(d) Evidentiary weight of notice. If a notice of copyright in
the form and position specified by this section appears on the published
copy or copies to which a defendant in a copyright infringement suit had
access, then no weight shall be given to such a defendant's interposition
of a defense based on innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory
damages, except as provided in the last sentence of section 504(c)(2).
17 U.S.C. § 402. Notice of copyright: Phonorecords of sound recordings.
(a) General provisions. Whenever a sound recording protected
under this title is published in the United States or elsewhere by authority
of the copyright owner, a notice of copyright as provided by this section
may be placed on publicly distributed phonorecords of the sound recording.
* * *
17 U.S.C. § 501. Infringement of copyright
(a) Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright
owner as provided by sections 106 through 122, or of the author as provided
in section 106A(a) [preserving the author's "moral rights" of attribution
and integrity of his/her works], or who imports copies or phonorecords
into the United States in violation of section 602 [providing certain
rights to prohibit unauthorized imports of copyrighted material], is
an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may
be. For purposes
of this chapter [except for the criminal provisions], reference to copyright
shall be deemed to include the rights conferred by section 106A(a). As
used in this subsection, the term "anyone" includes any State, any instrumentality
of a State, and any officer or employee of a State or instrumentality
of a State acting in his or her official capacity. Any State, and any
such instrumentality, officer, or employee, shall be subject to the
provisions of this title in the same manner and to the same extent
as any nongovernmental entity.
(b) The legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright
is entitled, subject to [certain registration requirements for domestic
non-Berne Convention works] to institute an action for any infringement
of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it. The
court may require such owner to serve written notice of the action with
a copy of the complaint upon any person shown, by the records of the Copyright
Office or otherwise, to have or claim an interest in the copyright, and
shall require that such notice be served upon any person whose interest
is likely to be affected by a decision in the case. The court may
require the joinder, and shall permit the intervention, of any person having
or claiming an interest in the copyright.
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17 U.S.C. § 502. Remedies for infringement: Injunctions
(a) Any court having jurisdiction of a civil action arising under
this title may . . . grant temporary and final injunctions on such terms
as it may deem reasonable to prevent or restrain infringement of a copyright.
(b) Any such injunction may be served anywhere in the United States
on the person enjoined; it shall be operative throughout the United States
and shall be enforceable, by proceedings in contempt or otherwise, by
any United States court having jurisdiction of that person.
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17 U.S.C. § 503. Remedies for infringement: Impounding and disposition
of infringing articles
(a) At any time while an action under this title is pending, the
court may order the impounding, on such terms as it may deem reasonable,
of all copies or phonorecords claimed to have been made or used in violation
of the copyright owner's exclusive rights, and of all plates, molds, matrices,
masters, tapes, film negatives, or other articles by means of which such
copies or phonorecords may be reproduced.
(b) As part of a final judgment or decree, the court may order the
destruction or other reasonable disposition of all copies or phonorecords
found to have been made or used in violation of the copyright owner's
exclusive rights, and of all plates, molds, matrices, masters, tapes,
film negatives, or other articles by means of which such copies or phonorecords
may be reproduced.
17 U.S.C. § 504. Remedies for infringement: Damages and
(a) In general. Except as otherwise provided by this title,
an infringer of copyright is liable for either
(1) the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of
the infringer, as provided by subsection (b); or
(2) statutory damages, as provided by subsection (c).
(b) Actual damages and profits. The copyright owner is entitled
to recover the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the
infringement, and any profits of the infringer that are attributable to
the infringement and are not taken into account in computing the actual
damages. In establishing the infringer's profits, the copyright owner
is required to present proof only of the infringer's gross revenue, and
the infringer is required to prove his or her deductible expenses and the
elements of profit attributable to factors other than the copyrighted work.
(c) Statutory damages.
(1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright
owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover,
instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages
for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one
work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which
any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum
of not less than $ 750 or more than $ 30,000 as the court considers
the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative
work constitute one work.
(2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of
proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully,
the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages
to a sum of not more than $ 150,000. In a case where the infringer
sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer
was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted
an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce
the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $ 200.
(d) Additional damages in certain cases. In any case in which the court finds
that a defendant proprietor of an establishment who claims as a defense that
its activities were exempt under section 110(5) [17 USCS § 110(5)] did not
have reasonable grounds to believe that its use of a copyrighted work was exempt
under such section, the plaintiff shall be entitled to, in addition to any award
of damages under this section, an additional award of two times the amount of
the license fee that the proprietor of the establishment concerned should have
paid the plaintiff for such use during the preceding period of up to 3 years.
In a case of infringement, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that
the infringement was committed willfully for purposes of determining
relief if the violator, or a person acting in concert with the violator,
knowingly provided or knowingly caused to be provided materially false
contact information to a domain name registrar, domain name registry,
or other domain name registration authority in registering, maintaining,
or renewing a domain name used in connection with the infringement.
(B) Nothing in this paragraph limits what may be considered willful infringement
under this subsection.
(C) For purposes of this paragraph, the term "domain name" has the
meaning given that term in section 45 of the Act entitled "An Act to provide
for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry
out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes" approved
July 5, 1946 (commonly referred to as the "Trademark Act of 1946";
15 U.S.C. 1127).
17 U.S.C. § 505. Remedies for infringement: Costs and attorney's
In any civil action under this title, the court in its discretion may allow
the recovery of full costs by or against any party other than the United
States or an officer thereof. Except as otherwise provided by this
title, the court may also award a reasonable attorney's fee to the prevailing
party as part of the costs.
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