The Copyright Book

The Copyright Book: A Practical Guide

William S. Strong
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 6
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 496
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qf8gq
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Copyright Book
    Book Description:

    Through five editions since 1981, this book has offered the most comprehensive accessible guide available to all aspects of copyright law. Now, with the sixth edition,The Copyright Bookhas been thoroughly updated to cover copyright for the Internet age, discussing a range of developments in the law since 2000. The only book written for nonlawyers that covers the entire field of copyright law, it is essential reading for authors, artists, creative people in every medium, the companies that hire them, users of copyrighted material, and anyone with an interest in copyright law from a policy perspective. New material includes greatly expanded coverage of infringement and fair use, with detailed discussion of recent decisions, including the Grateful Dead, Google, and HathiTrust cases. The new edition considers such topics as open access, the defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), file sharing, e-reserves, the status of "orphan works," and the latest developments under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The sixth edition also brings up to dateThe Copyright Book's plain English explanation of such fundamental topics as authorship and ownership; transfers and licenses of copyright; copyright notice; registration of copyright (including the new online registration and "preregistration" systems); the scope of rights included in copyright, and exceptions to those rights; "moral rights"; compulsory licenses; tax treatment of copyright; and international aspects of copyright law. As copyright issues grow ever more complicated,The Copyright Bookbecomes ever more indispensable.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-32350-5
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. 1 THE SUBJECT MATTER OF COPYRIGHT
    (pp. 1-46)

    Copyright law is essentially a system of property. Like property in land, you can sell it, leave it to your heirs, donate it, or lease it under any sort of conditions; you can divide it into separate parts; you can protect it from almost every kind of trespass. Also like property in land, copyrights can be subjected to certain kinds of public use that are considered to be in the public interest. I shall explain these various aspects of copyright property through the course of this book.

    The province of copyright is communication. It does not deal with machines or...

  5. 2 OWNERSHIP
    (pp. 47-76)

    Copyright comes into existence at the moment of a work’s creation, just as, in some theologies, the soul enters the body at birth. At that time ownership vests in the author orauthors.

    The wordauthorhas a special meaning in the copyright law. It is used regardless of the kind of work: writers, painters, sculptors, and composers are all authors. This usage indeed is almost universal—in other countries as a matter of convenience and in this country as a necessity. The Constitution, from which Congress derives its power to establish copyrights, speaks specifically of “authors” and

    “writings,” and,...

  6. 3 TRANSFERS AND LICENSES OF COPYRIGHT
    (pp. 77-110)

    An argument can be made that the wordpropertyrefers not to possession of a thing but only to the right to use or dispose of it. It is this, I think, that underlies our use of the wordpropertyfor so intangible a thing as copyright.

    Because copyright is property, it can be sold, given away, donated to charity, bequeathed by will, or rented out on whatever terms the owner desires. And the same is true of any subsidiary right, such as the right to publish, the right to perform, and so on. However, copyright differs from most other...

  7. 4 COPYRIGHT NOTICE
    (pp. 111-126)

    Just as much as copyright is property, it is also a bundle of procedures, paperwork, and footwork. These should be followed scrupulously to protect a copyright to the fullest extent.

    For purposes of the federal statute, you acquire copyright upon fixation of the work, and at any point before completed fixation you automatically have copyright in as much of the work as you have fixed. Until the United States joined the Berne Convention, a multilateral copyright treaty, on March 1, 1989, another important rite of passage was “publication.” Under our pre-Berne law, once a work was published, you acquired federal...

  8. 5 REGISTRATION OF A COPYRIGHT CLAIM
    (pp. 127-170)

    Registration does not affect the existence or validity of a copyright. It is and has been, however, important as a method of protecting one’s rights under the copyright, for these reasons:

    1. For works of U.S. origin, it is a prerequisite for bringing suit to enforce a copyright. The only exception is that if you have attempted to register in the proper manner but the Copyright Office has rejected your application for any reason, you may still file suit for infringement, but you must give the Copyright Office notice of your suit.¹ Also—although the courts are split on this...

  9. 6 RIGHTS IN COPYRIGHTED WORKS
    (pp. 171-210)

    One of the many respects in which copyright resembles property in land is divisibility. If you own a parcel of land, you can sell mineral rights to A, water rights to B, and a right of way to C, and still be considered the owner of the underlying property. Copyright too can be exploited in many different ways. It comprises five basic rights, which, along with certain limitations, are set forth in the statute.

    The limitations take various forms. One consists of specific exceptions and exemptions, which I will discuss in this chapter along with the rights to which they...

  10. 7 THE COMPULSORY LICENSES
    (pp. 211-226)

    Implicit in the ownership of property is the privilege of determining who reaps the profits of it and what those profits will be. This is true of copyright no less than of other kinds of property. But in recent decades our laws have tended to make exceptions to this privilege; in the case of copyright these are the so-called compulsory licenses.

    The most venerable of the compulsory licenses affects the right to make and distribute phonorecords of nondramatic musical compositions. In essence, once phonorecords of a piece of music have been distributed to the public in the United States (and...

  11. 8 INFRINGEMENT
    (pp. 227-272)

    If copyright is like property in land, infringement is like moving onto someone’s land without permission, chopping down trees, mining coal, and stealing water from the well. But unlike boundaries in land, the boundaries of a copyright are never clearly defined and frequently are not known until the end of a lawsuit. I can give, then, only general guidelines for determining those boundaries ahead of time.

    Some cases are relatively easy. If an artist claims that someone has performed or displayed his work or made and sold copies of it without his permission, he has raised a simple question of...

  12. 9 FAIR USE
    (pp. 273-328)

    In infringement suits the two great principles of copyright law almost invariably clash: on one hand the need to protect the financial interests of creators, to make it worth their while to create; on the other hand the need to make each person’s addition to the sum of human art and knowledge available for the use of all. From this second principle has evolved the concept of “fair use” of copyrighted material. Fair use, as its name makes no attempt to conceal, is not a fixed navigational point; in any given case much will depend on the judge or jury’s...

  13. 10 WORKS CREATED BEFORE 1978
    (pp. 329-368)

    So far I have dealt with the law that applies to works created in 1978 or thereafter. In all respects but one it is also the law that applies to works created but neither published, nor registered with the Copyright Office as unpublished works, before 1978. (The previous federal statute permitted registration of certain works of the performing and visual arts prior to publication.) The one difference has to do with duration of the copyright term. For works in this category, no copyright could expire before December 31, 2002, and if the work was published before that date, its copyright...

  14. 11 TAX TREATMENT OF COPYRIGHTS
    (pp. 369-380)

    Authors generally have two tax problems: how to report their income and how to deduct their expenses. Other copyright owners have similar problems but from a different perspective. For them the problems are not much different from those of someone who buys a machine or farm. For an author, though, Congress has created a veritable funhouse of rules.

    The author’s trouble arises principally from governmental ambivalence as to whether a copyright is a capital asset in the hands of its creator. In many respects an author is like someone who builds houses rather than like someone who buys them: his...

  15. 12 INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT PROTECTION
    (pp. 381-392)

    If you know something of the life of Charles Dickens, you know something also of the chaos that existed in the early days of bulk printing, when, in the view of the U.S. Government, copyrights stopped at the borders of an author’s native land. Dickens and other popular English writers suffered wholesale piracy of their works by American printers, until at last the U.S. Senate, against strong domestic pressure, agreed by treaty to recognize English copyrights.

    Copyright is intrinsically a creature of national law. However, there are now few countries that do not have treaty arrangements for the international protection...

  16. 13 COPYRIGHT AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: A FEW PARTING THOUGHTS, AND A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE
    (pp. 393-398)

    Information is power, as we are often told. But like most other kinds of power, it has no value except in use. We as a society benefit from that use and so we encourage authors as best we know how, realizing, as Samuel Johnson once put it, that “nobody but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.”

    In 1909, when the predecessor to our current Copyright Act was passed, few if any foresaw the development of radio, television, or sound recording. Yet these three media have radically changed our culture, and for many people they have greater importance than the...

  17. APPENDIX A: DURATION CHART
    (pp. 399-402)
  18. APPENDIX B: METHODS OF AFFIXATION AND POSITIONS OF THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE ON VARIOUS TYPES OF WORKS
    (pp. 403-412)
  19. APPENDIX C: REGISTRATION OF COMPUTER PROGRAMS AND DATABASES
    (pp. 413-418)
  20. APPENDIX D: DESCRIPTION OF WORKS FOR PREREGISTRATION
    (pp. 419-422)
  21. APPENDIX E: WARNINGS OF COPYRIGHT FOR USE BY CERTAIN LIBRARIES AND ARCHIVES
    (pp. 423-426)
  22. APPENDIX F: DIGEST OF CONFU DRAFT ON FAIR USE GUIDELINES
    (pp. 427-434)
  23. APPENDIX G: STANDARD FIDUCIARY COPYRIGHT POWERS
    (pp. 435-436)
  24. NOTES
    (pp. 437-466)
  25. INDEX
    (pp. 467-482)