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

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906.8 Mechanical Processes and Random Selection

906.8 Mechanical Processes and Random Selection

The copyright law only protects works of authorship that are created by human beings. Works made through purely mechanical processes or with an automated selection and arrangement are not eligible for copyright protection without sufficient human authorship. The U.S. Copyright Office will refuse to register a claim in a work that is created through the operation of a machine or process without sufficient human interaction, even if the design is randomly generated.


• Megan Mott developed linoleum flooring with a random confetti design. The design was created by a purely mechanical process that randomly distributed material on the surface of the linoleum. The registration specialist will refuse to register this design because it was produced by a mechanical process and a random selection and arrangement.

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