Copyright – a property right in an original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, giving the holder the exclusive right (for a period of time) to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display the work

U.S. Copyright Clause:


To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

aka Intellectual Property Clause; Copyright and Patent ClauseProgress Clause.

1. Constitutional lawU.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 8, which gives Congress the power to secure to authors the exclusive rights to their writings for a limited time. Also applies to inventors and their inventions. [1]

n. (18c)

l. The right to copy; specifically, a a property right in an original work of authorship (including literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and architectural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; and sound recordings) fixed in any tangible medium of expression, giving the holder the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display the work.

2. The body of law relating to such works.  *  Copyright law is governed by the

Copyright Act of 1976. 17 USCA §§ 101 et seq. -Abbr. c. Cf. COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1976. ~copyright, vb. -copyrighted, adj. -copyrightable, adj. [1]

1. noun. The right of an author, granted by federal statute, to exclusively control the reproduction, distribution, and sale of her literary, artistic, or intellectual productions for the period of the copyright’s existence.  Copyright protection extends to written work, music, films, sound recordings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, and some computer programs and chips.  See right. Also see intellectual property; literary property.

2. verb.  To acquire 3 COPY‘ right. See copyright (noun). right lute, lion, [2]

     Excerpt from Ethan S. Drone’s A Treatise on the Law of Property in Intellectual Productions:

     “[C]opyright is a monopoly of limited duration, created and wholly regulated by the legislature; and . . . an author has, therefore, no other title to his published works than that given by statute.” [3]

     Excerpt form Paul Goldstein’s Copyright’s Highway:

     “What is copyright? From copyright law’s beginnings close to three centuries ago, the term has meant just what it says: the right to make copies of a given work -at first it meant simply written work -and to stop others from making copies without one ’s permission.[4]

     Excerpt from William F. Patry’s Copyright Law ahd Practice (1994):

     “Before the 1976 Copyright Act swept virtually all copyrightable subject matter within the exclusive domain of federal protection, the term ‘copyright’ implied a statutory right created by Congress in order to ‘Promote the Progress of Science.’ Our first copyright act, in 1790, protected only maps, charts, and books. Protection gradually was extended to musical compositions and graphic works. In the middle of the nineteenth century, photography was developed and then protected, followed at the end of the century by motion pictures (although they were protected as photographs). As the twentieth century comes to a close, digital technology and multimedia forms of authorship seriously challenge the gradual, compartmentalized approach to granting new rights and new subject matter.” [5]

Types of Copyrights:

ad interim copyright – a limited five-year US. copyright granted to the author of a foreign edition of an English language book or periodical under certain circumstances.

common-law copyright – a property right that arose when the work was created, rather than when it was published.

future copyright – a copyright that will come into existence upon the occurrence of a particular event.

Copyright Laws – Past and Present:

copyrightability test – a judicial test for determining whether a contributor to a joint work is an author for legal purposes. *This test has been adopted by a majority of courts.

adj. (1895)

1. Eligible for copyright protection. copyrightable work. See WORK (2).

Copyright Act of 1790:

1. The first US. copyright law, which, like England’s Statute of Anne, gave authors copyright protection for 14 years, renewable for another 14 years. after which time the work then entered the public domain.

Copyright Act of 1909:

1. A major revision of U.S copyright law, extending the term of protection from 14 to 28 years (renewable for a second 28-year term); measuring the copyright term from the time of publication rather than the time of registration with the Copyright Office; and expanding coverage to all writings.  *  The Act retained the formalities for securing a copyright and required that a copyright mark appear on the work.  It governed U.S. copyrights issued between July 1, 1909 and December 31, 1977.  Although the 1976 Copyright Act supplanted the 1909 Act, the 1909 Act still applies to some pre-1978 claims and affects certain other rights of copyright owners. — aka 1909 Copyright Act.

Copyright Act of 1976:

1. A major revision of U.S. copyright law, extending the term of protection to the life of the author plus 50 years, measured from the date of creation; greatly expanding the types of works that qualify for protection; dropping the requirement that the work be published before it can be protected; making fair use a statutory defense to a claim in infringement; and preempting state common-law copyright. 17 USCA §§ 101 et seq.  *  This is the current federal statute that governs copyright registrations and rights.  aka 1976 Copyright Act.

Copyright and the Challenge of Technology:


copyright application:

1. A written request for copyright protection made by a work’s creator, filed with the U.S. Copyright Office and accompanied by a filing fee and either a deposit copy of the work or approved identifying material.  *  A registrant who does not meet the deposit requirement of the Copyright Act of 1976 risks losing copyright protection. See, e.g., Coles v. Wonder, 283 F.3d 798 (6th Cir. 2002).

copyright bug:



copyright clearinghouse:

1. An organization that licenses members’ works to applicants for specific purposes.  *  A clearinghouse usually licenses only one type or class of works, such as songs, photographs, cartoons, or written materials.

copyright infringement:

1. See INFRINGEMENT. copyright legend. See COPYRIGHT NOTICE.

copyright-management information:

1. The name and other identifying information about the creator, performer, or copyright owner of a creative work. See DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT.

copyright misuse:

1. In an infringement action, an affirmative defense based on the copyright owner’s use of a license to restrain trade or in any other manner that is against public policy.  *  The defense, roughly parallel to the declining patent-misuse defense, was invoked, for example. to prevent the American Medical Association from enforcing its copyright in its medical-procedure codes after licensing them to the U.S. government for use in the Medicaid program. See Practice Mgmt. Info. Corp. Am. Med. Asia, 121 F.3d 516 (9th Cir. 1997).

copyright notice:

1. A notice that a work is copyright-protected, usually placed in each published copy of the work.  A notice takes the form © (year of publication) (name of basic copyright owner).  Since March 1, 1989, such notice is not required for a copyright to be valid (although the notice continues to provide certain procedural advantages). The phrase “all rights reserved” is usually no longer required. —Sometimes termed copyright bug; copyright legend; notice of copyright. See ALL RIGHTS RESERVED; BUENOS AIRES CONVENTION.

Copyright Office:


Copyright Office Circulars:

1. Copyright. A series of publications available from the U.S. Copyright Office providing basic information about registration, fees, compulsory licenses, and other aspects of the copyright process.

copyright owner:

1. Someone who holds an exclusive right or rights to copyrighted, material. 17 USCA § 101.

2. Someone who is named as the owner on any copyright notice attached to a work and who is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office as the owner.

Copyright Royalty Tribunal:

1. A former board in the legislative branch of the federal government responsible for establishing and monitoring copyright royalty rates for published and recorded materials.  *  Its functions are now performed by copyright arbitration royalty panels. Abbr. CRT.

Copyright Term Extension Act:


copyright troll:

1. A person, usually an entity, that acquires from the owners of copyrighted works the right to sue infringers of those works.  *  The right to sue does not, by itself, convey standing under the Copyright Act because it is not included in § 106 of the Act, which lists the six exclusive rights that establish standing. — Sometimes shortened to troll. [1]


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is pertinent to people everywhere, and is being utilized in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[3]: Ethan S. Drone, A Treatise on the Law of Property in Intellectual Productions 2 (1879).

[4]: Paul Goldstein, Copyright’s Highway 3 (1994).

[5]: 1 William F. Patry, Copyright Law ahd Practice 1 (1994).


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