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

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Chapter 200
Chapter 300
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906 Uncopyrightable Material


906 Uncopyrightable Material


Section 102 (A) of the Copyright Act states that copyright protection only extends to “original works of authorship.” 17 U.S.C. § 102 (A). 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.


The U.S. Copyright Office will register a visual art work that includes uncopyrightable material if the work as a whole is sufficiently creative and original. Some of the uncopyrightable elements that are commonly found in visual art works are discussed in Sections 906.1 through 906.10 below. For a general discussion of uncopyrightable material, see Chapter 300, Section 313.


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