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Copyright
South Texas College of Law Houston
Page, Phillip E.

 
COPYRIGHT LAW PAGE FALL 2015
 
I. INTRODUCTION TO COPYRIGHT LAW & IP LAW
            A. Historical overview
                        1. Before 1710 = the invention of the printing press following by the                          large-scale reproduction of books forced the Crown to limit “copying.”
                                    a. In 1534 a royal decree prohibited anyone from publishing                                        w/o prior approval
                                    b. In 1557, the Crown conferred a publishing monopoly on the                                                Stationer’s Company, a cartel of London printers and                                                    booksellers who were expected to do the Crown’s bidding
                                                i. The exclusive license expired in 1695, allowing                                                                        upstart publishers to compete with the Stationer’s Co.
                        2. Statute of Anne (1709/10) (G.B.) = shifted the emphasis from the                                        Stationer’s Co. to Authors’ Rights
                                    a. Donaldson v. Beckett = House of Lords said that the copyright                                   term is finite
                                                i. Two 14-year terms
                        3. United State Copyright Acts before 1976
                                    a. 1790 Copyright Act (U.S.) = grave protection to the author or                                               his assigns of maps, charts, and books
                                                i. Term was two 14-year terms, an original and a                                                                        renewal term
                                    b. 1909 Act
                                                i. Covered “all the writings of an author”
                                                ii. Bifurcated durational system = two 28-year terms, an                                                            original and renewal term
                                                iii. Publication requirement = copyright began at the                                                      moment of publication
                                                            * Unpublished works were not covered by the                                                                 1909 Act
                        4. 1976 Act
                                    a. Preemption of CL Copyright = abolished the dual system of                                       federal and state copyright
                                    b. All works fixed in a tangible medium got federal                                                          copyright protection
                                    c. Duration = got rid of the dual term, replacing it with a                                                            single, extended term of the life of the author + 50 years
                                                i. For pseudonymous / anonymous works = the                                                              term was 75 years from publication or 100 years                                                           from fixation, whichever is less
                                    d. Formalities
                                                i. Notice was required for all published works, so                                                                        one could lose copyright protection by                                                                             publishing w/o notice
                                                ii. Registration of copyright and recordation of                                                                transfers were both conditions of bringing                                                                       infringement suits
                                    e. Subject Matter = sketched out eight broad categories:
                                                i. Literary works;
                                                ii. Musical works, including any accompanying works;
                                                iii. Dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
                                                iv. Pantomimes and choreographic works;
                                                v. Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
                                                vi. Motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
                                                viii. Sound recordings; and
                                                ix. Architectural works (protected in 1990)
                                    f. Exclusive Rights and their Limitations: 5 + 1 exclusive rights:
                                                i. Reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or                                                               phonorecords
                                                ii. Prepare derivative works
                                                iii. Distribute to the public by sale, lease, rental, etc.
                                                iv. Public performance right = in the case of literary,                                                       musical, dramatic, and choreographic, pantomimes, and                                                            motion pictures
                                                v. Public display right = in the case of literary, musical,                                                   dramatic, and chor

perceived with the aid of a machine or                                                                device
                        2. What about live broadcasts? = the Act says a live broadcast is fixed                                     as long as it is simultaneously recorded
                                    a. What is a Broadcast? = a transmission communicated by                                           any device or process whereby images or sounds are received                                           beyond the place from which they are sent
                                                i. If there is no broadcast, then a live performance, even                                                            if simultaneously recorded, may be appropriated by                                                      someone in the audience making an unauthorized                                                   recording & the performer may not sue for infringement
                                                            * Anti-bootlegging statute = says that a                                                                              concertgoer is guilty of infringement for taping a                                                                        live performance   
            B. Originality & Creativity
                        1. The Act says that copyright protection only applied to “original                                works of authorship”
                                    a. What is an Author = it is he to whom anything owes its origin
                                                i. An author must intend for his work to communicate                                                    something
                        2. Independent Creation = originality requires independent creation,                          independent thought, your own thought
                                    a. Anything not copied from someone else is an independent                                        creation
                                    b. Slavish copy = one who has slavishly copied from another                                        may not claim the status of an author
                                    c. Is a question of fact for the fact finder