Copyright is granted under congress acts, not under common law. An author can only get the right after he comply with the requirements of the statute of Ann. (deposit of book and title, notice, registration)
1. Constitutional ground B Congress has the power to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited time, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.
Wheaton v. Peters: Asecure@means granting the right in the first place, instead of providing an additional warranty.
No reporter can have copyright in the written opinions delivered by this court.
(Unpublished work protected under state law only — common law copyright; published work which complies with formality protected under federal law only. no protection for published work which does not comply)
2. 1976 Amendment removed formality requirements. All works are protected by Federal Copyright Act at time of creation. (different remedy for published/unpublished works)
Formalities are optional, certain advantages to registration. (first class protection, precondition to sue, sue copyright office).
1. Scope of rights
‘101-6 grant rights, 107-119 limit.
Authors both to published and unpublished work have exclusive right to reproduce in copies or phonorecords, to prepare derivative work, to distribute copies, to perform in public, to display publicly.
2. Protection upon creation
a. copyright secured automaticaly from the time of creation B fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time.
The portion that has been fixed at any particular time constitutes the work as of that time. where the work has been prepared in different versions, each version constitutes a separate work.
Distribution of copies or phonorecords to public. or distribute for further distribution, public performance or public display.
(1) House Report — any form of dissemination in which the material object does not change hands is not a publication. A public performance or display of the work does not itself constitute publication.
(2) publication when copies or phonorecords are offered for sale or lease. Publication takes place if the purpose is further distribution, public performance, or public display.
c. notice B recommended but not required. if a work is published with not
in writing, non-exclusive right does not.
6. 1909 Act — renewal right vested in author if living, or in spouse and statutory heirs
1976 Act — termination right after 35 years by serving written notice within specified time limits, drop the renewal right.
7. Berne Convention is not self-executing.
Its provisions are enforceable only after internal policies to implement them have been passed. Congress emphasized that the participation in the Convention should not give rise to an expanded claim of copyright protection.
C. method of interpretation
1. follow court decisions interpreting earlier similar language in earlier statutes.
Wheaton. (e.g. interpretation of 1976 act would follow decisions interpreting 1909 act).
2. New statute intends to cure the mischief of the old Act. P.103
1976 Act replace the phrase Awritings of all authors@ by Aoriginal works of authorship.@
3. Follow the interpretation of the same words in other statutes