Copyright Compendium

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

102.6 Territorial Scope of U.S. Copyright Law

 

102.6 Territorial Scope of U.S. Copyright Law

 

Generally speaking, U.S. copyright law applies only to acts that take place in the United States, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and U.S. territories. See Subafilms, Ltd. v. MGM-Pathe Communications Co., 24 F.3d 1088, 1094-95 (9th Cir. 1994). Under the Berne Convention, national law applies to foreign works, and the law of the country in which infringement takes place generally applies to infringement disputes. Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, art. 5 (1), (3), Sept. 9, 1886, as revised at Paris on July 24, 1971 and amended on Sept. 28, 1979, S. Treaty Doc. No. 99-27 (1986). Thus, copyright infringement that occurs in the United States is governed by U.S. law. However, courts may look to the law of a foreign country where ownership of the work was established or transferred in cases where questions are raised concerning foreign ownership and copyright origin even in the context of a U.S. infringement action. See, e.g., Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v. Russian Kurier, Inc., 153 F.3d 82, 88-92 (2d Cir. 1998).