Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 100
Chapter 200
Chapter 300
Chapter 400
Chapter 500
Chapter 600
Chapter 700
Chapter 800
Chapter 900
Chapter 1000
Chapter 1100
Chapter 1200
Chapter 1300
Chapter 1400
Chapter 1500
Chapter 1600
Chapter 1700
Chapter 1800
Chapter 1900
Chapter 2000
Chapter 2100
Chapter 2200
Chapter 2300
Chapter 2400

102.2 Statutes and Regulations

102.2 Statutes and Regulations


Congress has exercised its authority to enact federal copyright laws on numerous occasions. The first Copyright Act, enacted in 1790, and subsequent laws are summarized in the historical timeline in Section 102.7 below. The current Copyright Act was enacted in 1976 and became effective on January 1, 1978. It has been amended numerous times since its enactment. The Copyright Act protects “original works of authorship” that are “fixed in any tangible medium of expression … .” 17 U.S.C. § 102 (A). Section 106 of the Act provides copyright holders with a number of exclusive rights (including the right to reproduce works, prepare derivative works, distribute works, and in certain cases, to publicly perform and display works). It also provides certain exceptions and limitations to these exclusive rights. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 107-122.


Works that predate the effective date of the 1976 Act are governed by statutory provisions of the 1909 Copyright Act; the most relevant of these provisions are discussed in Chapter 2100 of this Compendium.

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