Chapter 8 Copyright Law

When the term of protection of a copyright ends:
it enters the public domain forever.
A work that is in the public domain:
cannot be owned by anyone, and anyone is free to use it.
Works created and published before 1978 are governed by:
the provisions of the 1909 Copyright Act.
Works created in and after 1978 are governed by:
the provisions of the 1976 Copyright Act.
Until ____ a dual system of copyright existed in the U.S.
Under the 1909 Copyright Act
federal copyright protection began upon publication of a work with proper copyright notice or on the date of copyright registration for certain unpublished works.
Once a work was published or registered:
it became subject to the 1909 Copyright Act.
The 1909 Act provided an initial term of ____ years of protection and a renewal term of an additional ____years.
In order to receive the __________ , the copyright owner had to register the work during its 28th year to qualify for an additional 28 years, for a total of 56 years.
renewal term
If the renewal registration was not made during the 28th year:
the copyright expired, and the work was injected into the public domain.
The distinction between common law copyright and federal copyright under the 1909 Act revolved around the concept of:
Publication is defined as:
"the distribution of copies or phonorecords to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, by rental, lease or lending or the offer to distribute for purposes of further distribution."
The main reason for dividing the term of copyright into two periods (initial and renewal) was:
to protect authors
The Copyright Renewal Act of 1992:
amended the law and made renewal automatic for works created from 1964 to 1977. Instead of doing away with the renewal process completely, the Copyright Renewal Act made it optional for qualified works (published between 1964 to 1977).
Under §304(a) of the 1976 Copyright Act:
copyrights in works created from 1 964 to 1977 automatically receive a 67 year renewal term. Works published before 1964 still had to be renewed.
Fred Fischer Music Co. v. M. Witmark & Sons:
The renewal provision ended up being largely ineffective at achieving its purpose b/c the U.S. Supreme Court held that authors could transfer their rights to the renewal term during the initial term. After this case, most publishers required their authors to assign the renewal term to the publisher. If the author was still alive in the 28th year of the initial term, the assignment was valid. If the author was deceased by the time of the 28th year, the renewal assignment was void, and the author's successor (specified in §304) had the right to file the renewal
Termination of Transfer of Renewal Term:
An author or the author's heirs have the right to get back copyright ownership for the last 39 years of the copyright term by terminating any pre-1978 transfers of the renewal term.
Automatic 19 year extension effected as of 1/1/78
20 year extension via Bono Extension Act of 1998.
Accomplished by sending termination notice within 5 years of the 56th anniversary of the publication or registration of the work or January 1, 1978, whichever comes later.
Termination procedure essentially otherwise the same as §203 of the 1976 Act.
Under the 1976 Act copyright protection begins upon creation of the work, and is not dependent on publication.
Creation occurs when an original work is fixed in tangible form.
Congress did away with the renewal term and decided to base copyright duration on the author's lifetime.
Originally, the term of life of the author plus 50 years; now life of the author plus 70 years.
1. Increased life expectancy.
2. Renewal requirement often resulted in the inadvertent loss of copyright for many works due to the failure to file a renewal registration.
3. Most foreign countries based their term of copyright on the author's lifetime, plus a period after death.
4. With the term based on the author's life, all works of an author entered the public domain at the same time.
A copyrighted work's duration never changes regardless of any transfers of ownership in the work. The term is based on the __________ regardless of who owns the copyright.
original author's life
Best to divide the works into 3 groups:
1. Works created beginning in 1978 and after.
2. Works created but not published before 1978.
3. Works published before 1978.
Works Created from 1978 to Present:
1. For most works created on or after January 1, 1978 (other than anonymous works, pseudonymous works and works made for hire) the term of copyright protection begins with the work's creation and ends 70 years after the death of the work's author.
2. If the work is created by two or more authors (i.e. joint authorship), the term of copyright will last for the life of the last surviving author plus 70 years after the last surviving author's death.
There are 3 types of works work involving authors who are either unknown or not an individual:
a. An anonymous work is a work in which no natural person is identified as author on the copies or phonorecords of the work.
b. A pseudonymous work is a work in which the author is identified under a fictitious name on the copies or phonorecords of t he work.
c. Works made for hire are created by an individual on behalf of an employer or hiring party.

For these types of works the term of copyright is not based upon the life o f the author.
Instead, the 1976 Copyright Act provides that copyright protection will last 95 years from t he work's first publication or 120 years from the work's creation whichever expires first.
For anonymous, pseudonymous works, the term of copyright can be converted to the life of the author, plus 70 years by making the author's identity known to the Copyright Office before the expiration of the 95th or 120 year term.
Any person having an interest in a copyright may notify the Copyright Office of the actual author's identity in one of 3 ways:
1. Registering under the author's true name.
2. Filing a supplementary registration if the work has already been registered.
3. Recording a statement that specifies the name of the person filing the statement, the nature of that person's interest in the copyright, the title o f the work, and the registration number if known.
The Copyright Act provides for recordation in the Copyright Office of information concerning the lives and deaths of authors
See §302(d)
The Register of Copyrights is required to maintain current records on the deaths of authors of copyrighted works derived from statements recorded by copyright interest holders.
All works go into the public domain on _______ of the 70th anniversary of the death of the author regardless of what day and month during the 70th year.
December 31st
1. Works that were created but had not been published prior to 1978 were protected by state common law copyright, which lasted indefinitely.
2. The 1976 Copyright Act abolished common law copyright for works fixed in a tangible medium.
3. Section 303 of the Copyright Act provides t hat works that were protected by common law copyright on the effective day of the 1976 Act (i.e. January 1, 1978) became subject to the term of protection specified by the 1976 Act (i.e. life plus 70 years) or until December 31, 2002 whichever expires later.
4. The second potential expiration date (i.e. 12/31/02) protects works created by authors who have been deceased for more than 70 years by 1978 (which otherwise would have not received any federal copyright protection).
5. Additionally, if such works are published before 12/31/02, the copyright will not expire before December 31, 2047, thereby encouraging publication.
There are 2 categories of works that may still be protected under common law copyright. These are:
(1) Works that have not been fixed in any tangible form, such as unrecorded improvisations; and
(2) Sound recordings fixed before 2/15, 1972 which are protected until FEBRUARY 15, 2067.
Works Published Before 1978:
1. Works published before 1978 are protected under the 1909 Copyright Act.
2. These works have an initial term of 28 years if published with a proper copyright notice.
A. The 1976 Copyright Act extended the duration of the renewal term for an additional 19 years making the total renewal period 47 years.
28 initial term
19 auto extension in 1978 by the 1976 Act
75 years Total
A. The Sonny Bono Term Extension Act of 1998 amended the 1976 Copyright Act, extending the previous 47 year renewal term by an additional 20 years (as well a s adding 20 years to works created beginning in 1978).
B. Consequently, the renewal term now lasts for 67 years, and the maximum term for works in the initial term as of 1999 is 95 years (28 years, plus 67 years of copyright protection).