Copyright, and Related Legalities
Copyright in a work is not a single right. Rather, copyright is a bunch of rights, including: the right to display (or perform or publish) a work; the right to make copies of a work; the right to distribute copies of a work; and the right to make “derivative” works of the original (works that are a variation, or are based on the original, like a screenplay to a book). An artist can sell or license one of these rights, a part of one of these rights, or groups of these rights, in any combination and with any restrictions that the artist requires.
§ 102 . Subject matter of copyright: In general28
(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in 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. Works of authorship include the following categories:
(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;
(7) sound recordings; and
(8) architectural works.
(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.
§ 103 . Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works
(a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.
(b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.
§ 104 . Subject matter of copyright: National origin29
(a) Unpublished Works.—The works specified by sections 102 and 103, while unpublished, are subject to protection under this title without regard to the nationality or domicile of the author.
(b) Published Works.—The works specified by sections 102 and 103,when published, are subject to protection under this title if—
(1) on the date of first publication, one or more of the authors is a national or domiciliary of the United States, or is a
national, domiciliary, or sovereign authority of a treaty party, or is a stateless person, wherever that person may
be domiciled; or
(2) the work is first published in the United States or in a foreign nation that, on the date of first publication, is a
treaty party; or
(3) the work is a sound recording that was first fixed in a treaty party; or
(4) the work is a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work that is incorporated in a building or other structure, or an
architectural work that is embodied in a building and the building or structure is located in the United States or a
treaty party; or
(5) the work is first published by the United Nations or any of its specialized agencies, or by the Organization of
American States; or
(6) the work comes within the scope of a Presidential proclamation. Whenever the President finds that a particular
foreign nation extends, to works by authors who are nationals or domiciliaries of the United States or to works
that are first published in the United States, copyright protection on substantially the same basis as that on which
the foreign nation extends protection to works of its own nationals and domiciliaries and works first published in
that nation, the President may by proclamation extend protection under this title to works of which one or more of
the authors is, on the date of first publication, a national, domiciliary, or sovereign authority of that nation, or
which was first published in that nation. The President may revise, suspend, or revoke any such proclamation or
impose any conditions or limitations on protection under a proclamation.
§ 107 . Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use40
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon
consideration of all the above factors.