Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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707 Uncopyrightable Material


707 Uncopyrightable Material


The U.S. Copyright Office is charged with administering the provisions of the Copyright Act and with issuing regulations for the administration of the copyright system that are consistent with the statute. The Office has no authority to register claims to copyright in works that fall outside the scope of federal statutory protection.


Section 102 (A) of the Copyright Act states that copyright protection extends only to “original works of authorship.” Works that have not been fixed in a tangible medium of expression, works that have not been created by a human being, and works that are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States do not satisfy this requirement.


Likewise, the copyright law does not protect works that do not constitute copyrightable subject matter or works that do not contain a sufficient amount of original authorship, such as the following:


• An idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery.


• Facts.


• Research.


• Typeface or mere variations of typographic ornamentations.


• Format and layout.


• Book designs.


• Works that contain an insufficient amount of authorship.


• Names, titles, slogans, or other short phrases.


• Numbers.


• Works consisting entirely of information that is common property, such as standard calendars, height and weight charts, schedules of sporting events, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources.


• Measuring and computing devices.


• A mere listing of ingredients or contents.


• Blank forms.


• Sc√®nes √† faire.


• Familiar symbols and designs.


• Mere variations of coloring.


• U.S. government works.


• Government edicts.


• Works that are in the public domain.


For a discussion of numbers, research, and book designs, see Sections 707.1 through 707.3 below. For a discussion of other types of works that cannot be registered with the Office, see Chapter 300, Section 313.


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