Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 700
Chapter 800
Chapter 900
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Chapter 1200
Chapter 1300
Chapter 1400
Chapter 1500
Chapter 1600
Chapter 1700
Chapter 1800
Chapter 1900
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Chapter 2100
Chapter 2200
Chapter 2300
Chapter 2400

310.7 The Time, Effort, or Expense Required to Create the Work

310.7 The Time, Effort, or Expense Required to Create the Work


When examining a work for original authorship, the U.S. Copyright Office will focus on the appearance or sound of the work that the author created but will not consider the amount of time, effort, or expense required to create the work. These issues have no bearing on whether a work possesses the minimum creative spark required by the Copyright Act and the Constitution. See, e.g., Feist, 499 U.S. at 352-354, 364 (rejecting the so-called “sweat of the brow” doctrine that provided copyright protection solely as a “reward for the hard work” of creating a work); Star Athletica, 137 S. Ct. at 1015 (“our inquiry is limited to how the [work is] perceived,” not how it was designed). As Justice O’Connor observed, “copyright rewards originality, not effort” and “[w]ithout a doubt, the ‘sweat of the brow’ doctrine flouted basic copyright principles.” Feist, 499 U.S. at 352, 354, 364.

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