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Encyclopedia > Copyright Act of 1976
Copyright Act of 1976
Full title: An Act for the general revision of the Copyright Law, title 17 of the United States Code, and for other purposes.
Enacted by the: 94th Congress
Effective Date: January 1, 1978
Citations
Public Law: Pub. L. 94-553
U.S. Statutes at Large: 90 Stat. 2541 (1976)
Codification
Act(s) amended: Copyright Act of 1909
Title(s) amended: 17 (Copyright)
United States Code sections created: 17 U.S.C. §§ 101-810
United States Code sections substantially amended: 44 U.S.C. §§ 505 & 2113; 18 U.S.C. § 2318
Legislative history
Major amendments
Digital Millennium Copyright Act; Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act

The Copyright Act of 1976 is a landmark statute in United States copyright legislation and remains the primary basis of copyright law in the United States. The Act spells out the basic rights of copyright holders, codified the doctrine of "fair use", and converted the term of copyrights from a fixed period requiring renewal to an extended period based on the date of the creator's death. It became Public Law number 94-553 on October 19, 1976 and went into effect on January 1, 1978. The Great Seal of the United States, obverse side. ... // 1975-1976 The first session of this Congress took place in Washington, DC from January 14, 1975 to December 19, 1975. ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... The Copyright Act of 1909 was a landmark statute in United States statutory copyright law. ... Seal of the U.S. Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral United States Congress, the other being the House of Representatives. ... John L. McClellan. ... The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States; the other being the Republican Party. ... Official language(s) English Capital Little Rock Largest city Little Rock Area  Ranked 29th  - Total 53,179 sq mi (137,732 km²)  - Width 239 miles (385 km)  - Length 261 miles (420 km)  - % water 2. ... January 15 is the 15th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday. ... U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, or (more commonly) the House Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. ... The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (informally Senate Judiciary Committee) is a standing committee of the United States Senate, the upper house of the United States Congress. ... Seal of the U.S. Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral United States Congress, the other being the House of Representatives. ... February 19 is the 50th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Seal of the House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives (or simply the House) is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress, the other being the Senate. ... September 22 is the 265th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (266th in leap years). ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... September 29 is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Seal of the U.S. Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral United States Congress, the other being the House of Representatives. ... September 30 is the 273rd day of the year (274th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Seal of the House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives (or simply the House) is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress, the other being the Senate. ... September 30 is the 273rd day of the year (274th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. ... October 19 is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. ... The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. ... Copyright symbol Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. ... For fair use in trademark law, see Fair use (US trademark law). ... October 19 is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ...

Contents

History & purpose

Before the 1976 Act, the last major revision to statutory copyright law in the United States occurred in 1909. In deliberating the Act, Congress noted that extensive technological advances had occurred since the adoption of the 1909 Act. Television, motion pictures, sound recordings, and radio were cited as examples. The Act was designed in part to address intellectual property questions raised by these new forms of communication. (see House report number 94-1476) The Statute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate Dick Cheney, R, since January 20, 2001 Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R, since January 6, 1999 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political groups (as of January 4, 2005 elections) Democratic Party Republican Party... The Copyright Act of 1909 was a landmark statute in United States statutory copyright law. ... For other uses see film (disambiguation) Film refers to the celluliod media on which movies are printed Film — also called movies, the cinema, the silver screen, moving pictures, photoplays, picture shows, flicks, or motion pictures, — is a field that encompasses motion pictures as an art form or as... Methods and media for sound recording are varied and have undergone significant changes between the first time sound was actually recorded for later playback until now. ... In law, intellectual property (IP) is an umbrella term for various legal entitlements which attach to certain types of information, ideas, or other intangibles in their expressed form. ... Seal of the House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives (or simply the House) is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress, the other being the Senate. ...


Aside from advances in technology, the other main impetus behind the adoption of the 1976 Act was the development of and the United States' participation in the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) (and its anticipated participation in the Berne Convention). While the U.S. became a party to the UCC in 1955, the machinery of government was slow to update U.S. copyright law to conform to the Convention's standards. In the years following the United States' adoption of the UCC, Congress commissioned multiple studies on a general revision of copyright law, culminating in a published report in 1961. A draft of the bill was introduced in both the House and Senate in 1964, but the original version of the Act was revised multiple times between 1964 and 1976 (see House report number 94-1476). The bill was passed as S. 22 of the 94th Congress by a vote of 97-0 in the Senate on February 19, 1976. S. 22 was passed by a vote of 316-7 in the House of Representatives on September 22, 1976. The final version was adopted into law as title 17 of the United States Code on October 19, 1976 when Gerald R. Ford signed it. The law went into effect on January 1, 1978. The Universal Copyright Convention (UCC), adopted at Geneva in 1952, is one of the two principal international conventions protecting copyright; the other is the Berne Convention. ... The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, sometimes called the Berne Union or Berne Convention, adopted at Berne in 1986, first established the recognition of copyrights between sovereign nations. ... Seal of the U.S. Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral United States Congress, the other being the House of Representatives. ... February 19 is the 50th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... September 22 is the 265th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (266th in leap years). ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... The United States Code (U.S.C.) is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal law of the United States. ... October 19 is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ...


At the time, the law was considered to be a fair compromise between publishers' and authors' rights. Barbaro Ringer, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, called the new law "a balanced compromise that comes down on the authors' and creators' side in almost every instance."[1] The law was almost exclusively discussed in publishers' and librarians' journals, and with the exception of a half page article in Time, was not discussed in mainstream publications at all. The claimed advantage of the law's extension of the term of subsisting copyrights was that "royalties will be paid to widows and heirs for an extra 19 years for such about-to-expire copyrights as those on Sherword Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio . . . ."[1] The other intent of the extension was to protect authors' rights "for life plus 50 years—the most common term internationally and the one Twain fought for in his lifetime."[1] Further extensions of both term and scope have been desired by some, as foreshadowed by the contemporary quote made by James Fitzpatrick, a Recording Industry Association of America copyright lawyer, in response to a question about whether his workload would decrease with the passage of the bill, "It's clear, that I'll continue to be occupied."[1] (Clockwise from upper left) Time magazine covers from May 7, 1945; July 25, 1969; December 31, 1999; September 14, 2001; and April 21, 2003. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, the lead section of this article may need to be expanded. ... The RIAA Logo. ...


Significant portions of the Act

The 1976 Act, through its terms, preempts all previous copyright law in the United States. The preempted law includes prior federal legislation, such as the Copyright Act of 1909, but also includes all relevant common law and state copyright laws insofar as they conflict with the Act. Common Law, now often referred to as Non-statutory law is the foundation for justice in the Union States under our constitional scheme. ...


Subject matter of copyright

Under section 102 of the Act, copyright protection extends to "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." The Act defines "works of authorship" as any of the following: Look up Fixation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Wind turbines A machine is any mechanical or organic device that transmits or modifies energy to perform or assist in the performance of tasks. ...

  1. literary works,
  2. musical works, including any accompanying words,
  3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music,
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works,
  5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works,
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works, and
  7. sound recordings.[2]

An eighth category, architectural works, was added in 1990. Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ... Music is a form of art that involves organized and audible sounds and silence. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Choreography (literally dance-writing, also known as dance composition), is the art of making structures in which movement occurs, the term composition may also refer to the navigation or connection of these movement structures. ... For images in Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Images. ... As a noun, a graphic usually refers to a computer image or picture, or an infographic, such as a chart. ... why hello hello Sculptor redirects here. ... The Parthenon on top of the Acropolis, Athens, Greece Architecture (from Latin, architectura and ultimately from Greek, αρχιτεκτων, a master builder, from αρχι- chief, leader and τεκτων, builder, carpenter) is the art and science of designing buildings and structures. ...


The wording of section 102 is significant mainly because it effectuated a major change in the mode of United States copyright protection. Under the last major statutory revision to U.S. copyright law, the Copyright Act of 1909, federal statutory copyright protection attached to original works only when those works were 1) published and 2) had a notice of copyright affixed. State copyright law governed protection for unpublished works before the adoption of the 1976 Act, but published works, whether containing a notice of copyright or not, were governed exclusively by federal law. If no notice of copyright was affixed to a work and the work was, in fact, "published" in a legal sense, the 1909 Act provided no copyright protection and the work became part of the public domain. Under the 1976 Act, however, section 102 says that copyright protection extends to original works that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Thus, the 1976 Act broadened the scope of federal statutory copyright protection from "published" works to works that are "fixed." The Act does not require that a copyright symbol appear on a work for the work to be covered by copyright protection, rather, the Act requires only that the work be "original" and "fixed." The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...


Exclusive rights

Section 106 granted five exclusive rights to copyright holders:

  1. the right to reproduce (copy),
  2. the right to create derivative works of the original work,
  3. the right to sell, lease, or rent copies of the work to the public,
  4. the right to perform the work publicly (if the work is a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pantomime, motion picture, or other audiovisual work), and
  5. the right to display the work publicly (if the work is a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pantomime, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, motion picture, or other audiovisual work).[3]

The Act was amended in 1995 to include a sixth exclusive right—the right to perform a sound recording by means of digital audio.


Fair use

Additionally, the fair use defense to copyright infringement was codified for the first time in section 107 of the 1976 Act. Fair use was not a novel proposition in 1976, however, as federal courts had been using a common law form of the doctrine since the 1840s (an English version of fair use appeared much earlier). The Act codified this common law doctrine with little modification. Under section 107, the fair use of a copyrighted work is not copyright infringement, even if such use technically violates section 106. While fair use explicitly applies to use of copyrighted work for criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research purposes, the defense is not limited to these areas. The Act gives four factors to be considered to determine whether a particular use is a fair use: Copyright infringement (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized use of material that is protected by intellectual property rights law particularly the copyright in a manner that violates one of the original copyright owners exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make... ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2005 est. ... In education, teachers are those who teach students or pupils, often a course of study or a practical skill. ... Scholarly method - or as it is more commonly called, scholarship - is the body of principles and practices used by scholars to make their claims about the world as valid and trustworthy as possible, and to make them known to the scholarly public. ...

  1. the purpose and character of the use (commercial or educational, transformative or reproductive);
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work (fictional or factual, the degree of creativity);
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion of the original work used; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the market (or potential market) for the original work.[4]

The Act was later amended to extend the fair use defense to unpublished works. Look up Market in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Term of protection

Previous copyright law set the duration of copyright protection at twenty-eight years with a possibility of a twenty-eight year extension, for a total maximum term of fifty-six years. The 1976 Act, however, substantially increased the term of protection. Section 302 of the Act extended protection to "a term consisting of the life of the author and 50 years after the author's death."[5] In addition, the Act created a static seventy-five year term (dated from the date of publication) for anonymous works, pseudonymous works, and works made for hire. In 1998 the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act extended copyright protection to the duration of the author's life plus seventy years for general copyrights and to ninety-five years for works made for hire. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. ...


Transfer of copyright

Section 204 of the Act governs the transfer of ownership of copyrights. The section requires a copyright holder to sign a written instrument of conveyance that expressly transfers ownership of the copyright to the intended recipient for a transfer to be effective.[6] Prior case law on this issue was conflicting, with some cases espousing a rule similar to section 204 and others reaching a quite different conclusion. A 1942 New York case, for example, held the opposite—the court said that while a copyright in a work is distinct from a property right in the work, the copyright must be expressly withheld by the author if the work is sold or it will automatically transfer with the property right in the work. While the 1976 Act retains the property right/copyright distinction (in section 202), section 204 eliminates the inconsistent common law by assuming that the copyright is withheld by the author unless it is expressly transferred. Official language(s) English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ...


Registration & deposit

According to section 408 of the Act, registration of a work with the Copyright Office is not a prerequisite for copyright protection.[7] The Act does, however, allow for registration, and gives the Copyright Office the power to promulgate the necessary forms. Aside from Copyright Office paperwork, the Act requires only that one copy, or two copies if the work has been published, be deposited with the Office to accomplish registration. Though registration is not required for copyright protection to attach to a work, section 411 of the Act does require registration before a copyright infringement action by the creator of the work can proceed.[8] Even if registration is denied, however, an infringement action can continue if the creator of the work joins the Copyright Office as a defendant, requiring the court to determine the copyrightability of the work before addressing the issue of infringement. The United States Copyright Office, a part of the Library of Congress, is the official U.S. government body that maintains records of copyright registration in the United States. ...


See also

United States copyright law governs the legally enforceable rights of creative and artistic works in the United States. ... The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. ...

References

  1. ^ a b c d Righting Copyright, Time, Nov. 1, 1976, at 92.
  2. ^ 17 U.S.C. 102
  3. ^ 17 U.S.C. 106
  4. ^ 17 U.S.C. 107
  5. ^ 17 U.S.C. 302
  6. ^ 17 U.S.C. 204
  7. ^ 17 U.S.C. 408
  8. ^ 17 U.S.C. 411

External links

  • US Copyright Office, Title 17
  • Cornell Law School, on Copyright
  • World wide school.org
  • New York Law School Law Review, The Complete Guide to the New Copyright Law, Lorenz Press Inc., 1977, ISBN 0-89328-013-5
  • 1976 Revision

  Results from FactBites:
 
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U.S. copyright law is grounded in the Patent and Copyright clause of the United States Constitution.
In 1998, copyright protection was extended from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author.
The TEACH Act revised the section of copyright law that deals with the performance and display of others' works in distance education settings and prescribes new rules for faculty members at institutions with students in remote classrooms, online courses, or other distance educations settings.
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