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806.4 (B) Pantomime Authorship

806.4 (B) Pantomime Authorship


“To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be original to the author.” Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340, 345 (1991). In the case of a pantomime, original authorship requires the composition and arrangement of a related series of movements, gestures, and facial expressions organized into an integrated, coherent, and expressive whole.


The U.S. Copyright Office may register a pantomime, provided that the work contains a sufficient amount of creative authorship that was created by the author of that work. The registration specialist will use objective criteria to determine whether a pantomime satisfies these requirements by reviewing the information provided in the application and by examining the deposit copy(ies), including the individual elements of the work as well as the pantomime as a whole. The specific criteria that the specialist will consider are set forth in Section 806.2 above. The specialist will not consider subjective criteria that have no bearing on whether the originality requirement has been met, such as the author’s intent, the aesthetic value, artistic merit, or intrinsic quality of the work, or the symbolic meaning or commercial impression of the work.


Examples of movements, gestures, and facial expressions that do not satisfy this requirement are discussed in Section 806.5 (A).

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