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

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909.2 Subject Matter of Photographs

909.2 Subject Matter of Photographs

To be eligible for copyright protection, the subject of the photograph does not need to be copyrightable. A photograph may be protected by copyright and registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, even if the subject of the photograph is an item or scene that is uncopyrightable or in the public domain.


• Phoebe Pool takes a photograph of a mountain range, selecting the angle, distance, and lighting for the image. The registration specialist will register the work even though the mountain range itself is not copyrightable.

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