Title 17 of the United States Code

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In the United States Code, Title 17 outlines its copyright law. [1] It was codified into positive law on July 30, 1947. [2] The latest version is from December 2016.

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A copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy, distribute, adapt, display, and perform a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyright is intended to protect the original expression of an idea in the form of a creative work, but not the idea itself. A copyright is subject to limitations based on public interest considerations, such as the fair use doctrine in the United States.

A work made for hire, in copyright law in the United States, is a work that is subject to copyright and is created by employees as part of their job or some limited types of works for which all parties agree in writing to the WFH designation. Work for hire is a statutorily defined term and so a work for hire is not created merely because parties to an agreement state that the work is a work for hire. It is an exception to the general rule that the person who actually creates a work is the legally-recognized author of that work. In the United States and certain other copyright jurisdictions, if a work is "made for hire," the employer, not the employee, is considered the legal author. In some countries, this is known as corporate authorship. The entity serving as an employer may be a corporation or other legal entity, an organization, or an individual.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States Copyright Office</span> Government body that maintains records of copyright registration in the United States

The United States Copyright Office (USCO), a part of the Library of Congress, is a United States government body that maintains records of copyright registration, including a copyright catalog. It is used by copyright title researchers who are attempting to clear a chain of title for copyrighted works.

A work of the United States government, is defined by the United States copyright law, as "a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties." Under section 105 of the Copyright Act of 1976, such works are not entitled to domestic copyright protection under U.S. law and are therefore in the public domain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Audio Home Recording Act</span>

The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (AHRA) amended the United States copyright law by adding Chapter 10, "Digital Audio Recording Devices and Media". The act enabled the release of recordable digital formats such as Sony and Philips' Digital Audio Tape without fear of contributory infringement lawsuits.

The threshold of originality is a concept in copyright law that is used to assess whether a particular work can be copyrighted. It is used to distinguish works that are sufficiently original to warrant copyright protection from those that are not. In this context, "originality" refers to "coming from someone as the originator/author", rather than "never having occurred or existed before".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uruguay Round Agreements Act</span> US free trade law with implications for intellectual property

The Uruguay Round Agreements Act is an Act of Congress in the United States that implemented in U.S. law the Marrakesh Agreement of 1994. The Marrakesh Agreement was part of the Uruguay Round of negotiations which transformed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) into the World Trade Organization (WTO). One of its effects is to give United States copyright protection to foreign works that had previously been in the public domain in the United States.

The copyright symbol, or copyright sign, ©, is the symbol used in copyright notices for works other than sound recordings. The use of the symbol is described by the Universal Copyright Convention. The symbol is widely recognized but, under the Berne Convention, is no longer required in most nations to assert a new copyright.

The sound recording copyright symbol or phonogram symbol, , is the copyright symbol used to provide notice of copyright in a sound recording (phonogram) embodied in a phonorecord. It was first introduced in the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations. The United States added it to its copyright law as part of its adherence to the Geneva Phonograms Convention in 17 U.S.C. § 402, the codification of the Copyright Act of 1976.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Copyright notice</span> Notice to inform consumers of claimed copyright ownership

In United States copyright law, a copyright notice is a notice of statutorily prescribed form that informs users of the underlying claim to copyright ownership in a published work.

The rule of the shorter term, also called the comparison of terms, is a provision in international copyright treaties. The provision allows that signatory countries can limit the duration of copyright they grant to foreign works under national treatment to no more than the copyright term granted in the country of origin of the work.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Copyright Renewal Act of 1992</span> United States copyright law

Copyright Renewal Act of 1992, Pub. L. 102–307, 106 Stat. 264, enacted June 26, 1992, is the first title of the Copyright Amendments Act of 1992, an act of the United States Congress that amended copyright renewal provisions of Title 17 of the United States Code enacted under Copyright Act of 1976. The act eliminated the previous requirements under US law that a second term of copyright protection is contingent on a renewal registration with the U.S. Copyright Office. It amended the Copyright Act of 1976.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Copyright Act of 1976</span> United States law

The Copyright Act of 1976 is a United States copyright law and remains the primary basis of copyright law in the United States, as amended by several later enacted copyright provisions. The Act spells out the basic rights of copyright holders, codified the doctrine of "fair use", and for most new copyrights adopted a unitary term based on the date of the author's death rather than the prior scheme of fixed initial and renewal terms. It became Public Law number 94-553 on October 19, 1976 and went into effect on January 1, 1978.

The copyright law of the United States grants monopoly protection for "original works of authorship". With the stated purpose to promote art and culture, copyright law assigns a set of exclusive rights to authors: to make and sell copies of their works, to create derivative works, and to perform or display their works publicly. These exclusive rights are subject to a time limit, and generally expire 70 years after the author's death or 95 years after publication. In the United States, works published before January 1, 1928, are in the public domain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Digital Millennium Copyright Act</span> United States copyright law

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a 1998 United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Passed on October 12, 1998, by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of online services for copyright infringement by their users.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Public domain in the United States</span> Status of public domain in the USA

Works are in the public domain if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all, or if the intellectual property rights to the works have expired.

Typefaces, fonts, and their glyphs raise intellectual property considerations in copyright, trademark, design patent, and related laws. The copyright status of a typeface and of any font file that describes it digitally varies between jurisdictions. In the United States, the shapes of typefaces are not eligible for copyright but may be protected by design patent. Typefaces can be protected in other countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, by industrial design protections that are similar to copyright or design patent in that they protect the abstract shapes. Additionally, in the US and some other countries, computer fonts, the digital instantiation of the shapes as vector outlines, may be protected by copyright on the computer code that produces them. The name of a typeface may also be protected as a trademark.

The copyright status of works produced by the governments of states, territories, and municipalities in the United States varies. Copyright law is federal in the United States. Federal law expressly denies U.S. copyright protection to two types of government works: works of the U.S. federal government itself, and all edicts of any government regardless of level or whether or not foreign. Other than addressing these "edicts of government", U.S. federal law does not address copyrights of U.S. state and local government.

Remedies for copyright infringement in the United States can be either civil or criminal in nature. Criminal remedies for copyright infringement prevent the unauthorized use of copyrighted works by defining certain violations of copyright to be criminal wrongs which are liable to be prosecuted and punished by the state. Unlike civil remedies, which are obtained through private civil actions initiated by the owner of the copyright, criminal remedies are secured by the state which prosecutes the infringing individual or organisation.


  1. "United States Code". Office of the Law Revision Counsel . Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  2. "Circular 1a, United States Copyright Office: A Brief Introduction and History". U.S. Copyright Office. Retrieved 31 July 2014.