Copyright Compendium

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618.8 (A) (1) Design

 

618.8 (A) (1) Design

 

As a general rule, the terms “2-D artwork” or “sculpture” should be used to describe the copyrightable authorship in a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, while the term “computer program” should be used to describe the copyrightable authorship in a computer program.

 

The term “design” should not be used in the Author Created field or the Nature of Authorship space, because it suggests that the applicant may be asserting a claim in an idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery.

 

Example:

 

• An application is submitted for a book titled Redesign Your Backyard. The deposit copies contain text and two-dimensional artwork depicting landscape designs. The application states that the author created “text” and “2-D artwork.” The registration specialist will register the claim.

 

If an applicant uses the term “design” in the Author Created field or the Nature of Authorship space for a pictorial or graphic work, the registration specialist may register the claim, if that term is clearly being used to describe copyrightable artwork.

 

Example:

 

• An application is submitted for a book titled How to Make Stained Glass Windows. The deposit copies contain text and two- dimensional artwork depicting stained glass windows. The application states that the author created “text and designs.” The registration specialist may register the claim, because the term “designs” apparently refers to the two-dimensional artwork embodied in the stained glass windows (although the term “2-D artwork” would be a more appropriate authorship statement).

 

If the applicant appears to be asserting a claim in the ideas, concepts, or methods embodied in the work or the plan, scheme, layout, or format of the work, the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant. Alternatively, the specialist may add an annotation to the registration record, provided that the work contains a sufficient amount of copyrightable authorship to warrant registration.

 

Examples:

 

• An application is submitted for a computer program. In the Author Created/Other field the applicant states that the author created “source code and design for high speed retrieval tasks.” The registration specialist will ask for permission to remove the phrase “design for high speed retrieval tasks,” because it suggests that the applicant is attempting to register the ideas, concepts, or methods embodied in the program.

 

• An application is submitted for a motion picture. The applicant asserts a claim in “script, cinematography, set design.” The registration specialist may register the claim if the backdrops for the set contain copyrightable artwork. If the set merely consists of furniture and other physical props, the specialist will ask for permission to remove the term “set design,” because it suggests that the applicant is asserting a claim in the arrangement or layout of props.

 

• An application is submitted for a sound recording. The cover of the CD contains a photograph and a list of credits, but no artwork. The applicant asserts a claim in “sound recording, photography, and CD design.” The registration specialist will ask for permission to remove the term “CD design,” because it suggests that the applicant is asserting a claim in the layout or format of the CD cover.

 

• An application is submitted for a book containing text, but no illustrations. The applicant asserts a claim in “text, design.” The term “design” suggests that the applicant is attempting to register the overall format, layout, or appearance of the pages in the book. The registration specialist may ask the applicant for permission to remove the term “design” or may register the claim with an annotation, such as: “Regarding authorship information: Layout and format not copyrightable. Compendium 313.3 (E).”

 

As a general rule, the specialist will communicate with the applicant if the applicant appears to be using the term “design” to assert a claim in a useful article, a typeface, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, or other de minimis or uncopyrightable material. If the work is not separable from the useful article, or if it does not contain a sufficient amount of copyrightable authorship, the specialist will refuse registration.

 

Examples:

 

• An application is submitted for a bowl with a flower painted on the surface. The applicant asserts a claim in “pottery design.” The term “design” suggests that the applicant is asserting a claim in the shape of the bowl, rather than the image of the flower. The registration specialist will ask the applicant for permission to remove this term from the application and replace it with an appropriate authorship statement, such as “2- D artwork.”

 

• An application is submitted for a book containing text and photographs explaining how to knit hats. The applicant asserts a claim in “knitting designs.” The term “design” suggests that the applicant is asserting a claim in the hats themselves, rather than the text and photographs. The registration specialist will ask the applicant for permission to remove this term from the application and replace it with an appropriate authorship statement, such as “text, photographs.”

 

• An application is submitted for a motion picture. The applicant asserts a claim in “script, direction, cinematography, and title design.” The registration specialist will ask for permission to remove the term “title design” because it suggests that the applicant is asserting a claim in typeface or typographic ornamentation.