Federal courts have original jurisdiction in matters of copyright law. To search federal cases involving copyright consult the following:
"Federal"→"By Area of Law"→"Copyright Cases, Federal"
Federal Intellecutal Property (FIP-CS)
Intellectual Property Law Resource Center→Copyright Law→Search USPQ Cases
Most rules for copyright law in the U.S. are within the Copyright Act of 1976. The following are some of the key provisions:
|§101||Definitions||This section contains the important definitions for understanding what is and what is not covered by copyright law. Among the important definitions in this section are "copies," "collective work," "derivative work," "display," "fixed," "joint work," "perform," "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works," "publication," "publicly," "useful article," and "work made for hire."|
|§102||Subject Matter of Copyright||Lists eight categories of works of authorship, specifies that copyright protection requires originality and fixation, and excludes ideas, proceduress, processes, methods, and discoveries.|
|§106||Exclusive Rights in CopyrightedWorks||Lists the rights held by copyright owners, including the right to reproduce, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies of work, to perform the work publicly, and to display the work publicly.|
|§106(A)||Rights of Certain Authors to Attribution and Integrity||Sets out the moral rights protections for particular visual works of recognized stature under the Visual Artists Rights Act.|
|§107||Limitations on Exclusive Rights/Fair Use||Codifies the four factor fair use test from the common law.|
|§110||Limitations on Exclusive Rights/ Exemption of Certain Performances and Displays||Provides several specific safe harbors for the performance and display of copyrighted works|
|§117||Limitations on Exclusive Rights/Computer Programs||Create certain exceptions that alow users of computer software without infringing on the software copyright|
|§201||Ownership of Copyright||Assigns copyright ownership to "authors"|
|§203||Termination of Transfers and Licenses Granted by the Author||Governs termination of transfers of copyright for transfers executed after January 1, 1978|
|§302, §303, & §304||Duration of Copyright||Sets the length of copyright protection. Incoporates the 20 year extension of copyright under the Copyright Term Extension Act|
Legislative histories are the best place to search for legislative intent. For more information on compiling documents to determine legislative intent, please see the "Legislative History Research Guide" provided by the Georgetown Law Library.
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