Copyright Compendium

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906.10 Useful Articles and the Mechanical or Utilitarian Aspects of Works of Artistic Craftsmanship

906.10 Useful Articles and the Mechanical or Utilitarian Aspects of Works of Artistic Craftsmanship


The copyright law does not protect useful articles. 17 U.S.C. § 101 (definition of pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works). But it does protect two- or three-dimensional artistic features that have been incorporated into the design of a useful article, if those features are separable from the article. Id.


Copyright also protects the creative form of a work of artistic craftsmanship, but it does

not protect the “mechanical or utilitarian aspects” of such works.” Id.


For a definition and detailed discussion of the legal standards for evaluating copyrightable authorship in the design of a useful article or a work of artistic craftsmanship, see Sections 924 and 925.

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