Copyright Compendium

Search
Filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
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

707.2 Research

707.2 Research


The U.S. Copyright Office cannot register a claim in research, because it suggests that the applicant may be asserting a claim in the facts that appear in the work or the effort involved in collecting that information.


The Supreme Court expressly rejected the “sweat of the brow” or “industrious collection” doctrines, which made copyright protection a “reward for the hard work” involved in creating a work. Feist, 499 U.S. at 352, 364. The Court concluded that “[p]rotection for the fruits of such research … may in certain circumstances be available under a theory of unfair competition,” but recognized that a claim to copyright “on this basis alone distorts basic copyright principles.” Id. at 354.


Although research is not copyrightable, the Office may register a work of authorship that describes, explains, or illustrates factual research, provided that the work contains a sufficient amount of original authorship. For example, a research paper, a scientific journal, or a biopic may be registered if the work contains a sufficient amount of literary, pictorial, graphic, or audiovisual expression. However, the registration does not extend to the facts, ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries described in the work. “They may not be copyrighted and are part of the public domain available to every person.” Id. at 348 (quoting Miller v.

Universal City Studios, Inc., 650 F. 2d 1365, 1369 (5th Cir. 1981).


For a further discussion on “research” as an authorship term, see Chapter 600, Section 618.8 (A) (9).

[convertkit form=2550354]