310.5 The Author’s Inspiration and Intent
When examining a work for original authorship, the U.S. Copyright Office will not
consider the author’s inspiration for the work, creative intent, or intended meaning. Instead, the Office will focus solely on the appearance or sound of the work that has been submitted for registration to determine whether it is original and creative within the meaning of the statute and the relevant case law.
Evaluating the author’s inspiration or intent would require the Office “to consider evidence of the creator’s design methods, purposes, and reasons.” Star Athletica, 137 S. Ct. at 1015. The Supreme Court has made it clear that copyrightability should be based on how a work is perceived, not how or why it was designed. See id.
Likewise, the fact that creative thought may take place in the mind of the person who created a work (or a person viewing or listening to the work) has no bearing on the issue of originality unless the work objectively demonstrates original authorship.