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SUNY Buffalo Law School
Bartholomew, Mark

Copyright Term: Life of the Author + 70 Years (This changed in ’98 from life +50)
– Many countries still use life + 50 years (like Australia – Gone with the wind is in public domain)
– Or if “Work for Hire” – Then it is 95 years from date of publication, or 120 years from date it is created (whichever is first)
– Why is it so long? Some movie companies could start a movie then shelve it. Then
start again years later.

I. Introduction – Overview of the Norms, Justification, and History of Copyright

– Initial class Example: Midnight in the Garden of good and Evil
1) If 100 copies of first page are made and distributed to the class
1) Making copies violates the Right of Reproduction
2) Distributing copies violates the Right of Distribution

2) If WB made a movie of the garden of good and evil w/o author’s permission, violate ©?
– Idea/Expression Dichotomy
– If it is considered an Idea, not protected by copyright
– If it is considered an expression, then copyright does protect it
3) Cover Art for the book – the cover art has a photograph on it
– If random house used the photograph for the cover art w/o Photographers permission, then they violated the copyright.
4) Picture of Sculpture of “the bird girl”
– Picture however is not a copy of the sculpture. (Like a 3-D object that looks like the sculpture)
– It is a derivative work –Adaptations, Visible reuse of the same work. – Author has rights
o Harriet Beecher Stowe sued when Uncle Tom’s cabin was translated into German. She lost. – The law was changed to give authors the right to the derivative works
5) Posters for promoting the movie have pictures of the sculpture. However, they did not use the same photograph as the Lay.
– 2 posters – One, very similar to the book cover, the other is much brighter and diff. colors
– The photographer will have a better argument about the ones that are the same color.
– WB Defense –WB could say that photographer does not have the rights over the idea of photographing the sculpture.
– Photographer argues: will say he has the right over the expression and that is what WB stole in the post

– Historical Perspective
A) With the advent of Type and reproduction, it appeared that authors had no protection for work
Statute of Anne: (England) First statute to recognize the rights of authors.
– 14 years of exclusive printing
– Could renew for 14 years (if author is living)
– Must register the title
– If violated, offender must turn over copies to the author (to be destroyed) and pay 1 penny for every page in his possession
o Sanctioned the importing of books in foreign languages without recognition of foreign authorities.
– * Class: Statute of Anne only protected books.
– Class: Statute of Anne was a response to the Industrial Revolution (that brought works to the masses, instead of just the

– Copyright Act of 1790: Protected works for 14 years if: Recorded title, public copy of record in newspaper for 4 weeks, give copy of work to the office

– Wheaton v. Peters: Does common law copyright exist in the US?
– Court held that there is no Federal Common Law copyright
o Must be resolved under the law of the state. In PA, there was no CL for copyright
– * The right to copy and sell published works was a creation of Congress. The only recourse is the Federal statutory copyright.

– 1909 Act: (Changes to 1790 Act)
1) Published works © began with publication with © notice (as opposed to the date of the filing)
2) Statutory copyright for unpublished work for exhibition, performance or speech
3) Renewal maximum extended to 36 years
4) Registration is prima facie evidence of facts recorded therein.

* 1976 Act: Modern inventions like the TV required new considerations. Needed more protection for US abroad. Looks to international laws
1) Protection granted from the moment it is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.
2) Life of author + 50 years
3) Author permitted to terminate the transfer after 35 years.