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

906.7 Naturally Occurring and Discovered Material

 

906.7 Naturally Occurring and Discovered Material

 

Because human authorship is required for copyright protection, the U.S. Copyright Office will not register naturally occurring objects or materials that are discovered in nature.

 

This includes natural objects or materials with standard wear or acute breaks or fissures resulting from weather conditions or other natural phenomena, such as water currents, wind, rain, lightning, sunlight, heat, or cold. Similarly, the Office will refuse to register a work that is created through naturally occurring processes or events, such as the resulting visual appearance of an object or liquid when different chemical elements interact with each other.

 

Examples:

 

• Nina Nine found a piece of driftwood that was smoothed by ocean currents. She carved an intricate seagull design in the side of the driftwood, polished it, and submitted an application to register the overall work. Although there is no human authorship in the driftwood itself, the registration specialist may register the seagull carving if it is sufficiently creative.

 

• Felipe French found a stone with deep grooves. Felipe brought the stone to his studio, polished it, mounted it on a brass plate, and submitted it for registration. The registration specialist will refuse registration because the stone’s appearance was the result of a naturally occurring phenomenon and the polishing and mounting were merely de minimis.

 

• Natalia Night creates a sticker made of two clear plastic sheets bonded together with a small amount of colored liquid petroleum between the sheets. Due to the way petroleum naturally behaves, any slight pressure on the outside of the sticker creates undulating patterns and shapes, no two of which are ever identical. The registration specialist will refuse to register this sticker because the specific outlines and contours of the patterns and shapes formed by the liquid petroleum were not created by Natalia, but instead were created by a naturally occurring phenomenon.