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Copyright is a form of intellectual property that gives the author of an original work exclusive right for a certain time period in relation to that work, including its publication, distribution and adaptation, after which time the work is said to enter the public domain. Copyright applies to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete and fixed in a medium. Some jurisdictions also recognize "moral rights" of the creator of a work, such as the right to be credited for the work. Copyright is described under the umbrella term intellectual property along with patents and trademarks.

The concept of copyright originates with the Statute of Anne (1710) in Great Britainmarker. An example of the intent of copyright, as expressed in the United States Constitution, is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Copyright has been internationally standardized, lasting between fifty to a hundred years from the author's death, or a shorter period for anonymous or corporate authorship. Some jurisdictions have required formalities to establish copyright, but most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.


Concept of copyright originates with the Statute of Anne (short title Copyright Act 1709 8 Anne c.19; long title "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned"), in Britainmarker, enacted in 1709 and entering into force on 10 April 1710. The act established the author of a work as the owner of the right to copy that work and the concept of a fixed term for that copyright. It was created as an act "for the encouragement of learning", as it had been noted at the time that publishers were reprinting the works of authors without their consent "to their very great detriment, and too often to the Ruin of them and their Families". As such, copyright was first created with the intention that authors might have some control over the printing of their work and to receive some financial recompense, so that this would encourage them to write more books and thus to aid the flow of ideas and learning. As the act itself says: "for the encouragement of learned men to compose and write useful books".

The Statute of Anne was the first real copyright act, and gave the authors rights for a fixed period, a fourteen year term for all works published under the statute, after which the copyright expired. Copyright has grown from a legal concept regulating copying rights in the publishing of books and maps to one with a significant effect on nearly every modern industry, covering such items as sound recordings, films, photographs, software, and architectural works. Subsequently the Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution (1787) authorized copyright legislation: "To promote the Progress of Science..., by securing for limited Times to Authors.... the exclusive Right to their... Writings."

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

The 1886 Berne Convention first established recognition of copyrights among sovereign nations, rather than merely bilaterally. Under the Berne Convention, copyrights for creative works do not have to be asserted or declared, as they are automatically in force at creation. In these countries, there is no requirement for an author to "register" or "apply for" a copyright, or to mark his or her works with a copyright symbol or other legend. As soon as a work is "fixed", that is, written or recorded on some physical medium, its author is automatically entitled to all copyrights in the work, and to any derivative works unless and until the author explicitly disclaims them, or until the copyright expires. The Berne Convention also resulted in foreign authors being treated equivalently to domestic authors, in any country signed onto the Convention. The UK signed the Berne Convention in 1887 but did not implement large parts of it until a century later with the passage of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988. The USA did not sign the Berne Convention until 1989.

Other international conventions

The United States and most Latin American countries instead entered into the Buenos Aires Convention in 1910, which required a copyright notice (such as "all rights reserved") on the work, and permitted signatory nations to limit the duration of copyrights to shorter and renewable terms. The Universal Copyright Convention was drafted by UNESCOmarker in 1952 as another less demanding alternative to the Berne Convention, and ratified by nations such as the Soviet Unionmarker and developing nations.

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral trade agreement which is claimed by its proponents to be in response "to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works." The scope of ACTA is broad, including counterfeit physical goods, as well as "internet distribution and information technology".

In October 2007 the United Statesmarker, the European Community, Switzerlandmarker and Japanmarker announced that they would negotiate ACTA. Furthermore the following countries have joined the negotiations: Australia, the Republic of Koreamarker, New Zealandmarker, Mexicomarker, Jordanmarker, Moroccomarker, Singaporemarker, the United Arab Emiratesmarker and Canadamarker. The ACTA negotiations have been largely conducted in secrecy, with very little information being officially disclosed. However, on 22 May 2008 a discussion paper about the proposed agreement was uploaded to Wikileaks, and newspaper reports about the secret negotiations quickly followed.

Copyright by country

Copyright laws have been standardized to some extent through international conventions such as the Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention. These multilateral treaties have been ratified by nearly all countries, and international organizations such as the European Union or World Trade Organization require their member states to comply with them. Although there are consistencies among nations' intellectual property laws, each jurisdiction has separate and distinct laws and regulations about copyright. The World Intellectual Property Organization summarizes each of its member states' intellectual property laws on its website (see WIPO Guide to Intellectual Property Worldwide and National copyright laws in the See also section below).

The regulations of the Berne Convention are incorporated into the World Trade Organization's TRIPS agreement (1995), thus giving the Berne Convention effectively near-global application. The 2002 WIPO Copyright Treaty enacted greater restrictions on the use of technology to copy works in the nations that ratified it.


The British Statute of Anne, full title “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned”, was the first act to directly protect the rights of authors. Since its inception, copyright is considered a property right and attempts to balance the rights of the producer with the rights of society at large. According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), intellectual property laws, which includes industrial property and copyright, exist for primarily two reasons:
"One is to give statutory expression to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creations and to the rights of the public in accessing those creations. The second is to promote creativity, and the dissemination and application of its results, and to encourage fair trade, which would contribute to economic and social development."

Under US copyright law, the justification appears in the constitutional provision authorizing Congress to enact copyright laws: Article I, section 8, clause 8 provides that "Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science ... by securing for limited Times to Authors ... the exclusive Right to their ... Writings." The term "science" has been interpreted to refer to human knowledge in general. The justification for US copyright is thus seen to be that the prospect of copyright grants encourages authors to make public their writings, which will then become a part of the public domain after a limited period. The theory that copyright is a natural property right of authors has been rejected in a series of decisions of the U.S. Supreme Courtmarker beginning with Wheaton v. Peters (1834).


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Copyright may apply to a wide range of creative, intellectual, scientific, or artistic forms, or "works". Specifics vary by jurisdiction, but these can include poems, theses, plays, other literary works, movies, dances, musical compositions, audio recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, software, radio and television and broadcasts.

Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed. For example, the copyright to a Mickey Mouse cartoon restricts others from making copies of the cartoon or creating derivative works based on Disney's particular anthropomorphic mouse, but it does not prohibit the creation of other works about anthropomorphic mice in general, so long as they're not copies or adaptations of Disney's mouse. In many jurisdictions, copyright law makes exceptions to these restrictions when the work is copied for the purpose of commentary or other related uses (See Fair Use, Fair Dealing). However, other laws — such as trademark and patent law — may impose additional restrictions that copyright does not.

Obtaining and enforcing copyright

Typically, a work must meet minimal standards of originality in order to qualify for copyright, and the copyright expires after a set period of time (some jurisdictions may allow this to be extended). Different countries impose different tests, although generally the requirements are low; in the United Kingdom there has to be some 'skill, labour and judgment' that has gone into it. In Australia and the United Kingdom it has been held that a single word is insufficient to comprise a copyright work. However, single words or a short string of words can sometimes be registered as a trademark instead.

Copyright law recognizes the right of an author based on whether the work actually is an original creation, rather than based on whether it is unique; two authors may own copyright on two substantially identical works, if it is determined that the duplication was coincidental, and neither was copied from the other.

In all countries where the Berne Convention standards apply, copyright is automatic, and need not be obtained through official registration with any government office. Once an idea has been reduced to tangible form, for example by securing it in a fixed medium (such as a drawing, sheet music, photograph, a videotape, or a computer file), the copyright holder is entitled to enforce his or her exclusive rights. However, while registration isn't needed to exercise copyright, in jurisdictions where the laws provide for registration, it serves as prima facie evidence of a valid copyright and enables the copyright holder to seek statutory damages and attorney's fees. (In the USA, registering after an infringement only enables one to receive actual damages and lost profits.)

The original holder of the copyright may be the employer of the author rather than the author himself, if the work is a "work for hire". For example, in English law the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 provides that if a copyrighted work is made by an employee in the course of that employment, the copyright is automatically owned by the employer as a "Work for Hire."

Copyrights are generally enforced by the holder in a civil law court, but there are also criminal infringement statutes in some jurisdictions. While central registries are kept in some countries, which aid in proving claims of ownership, registering does not necessarily prove ownership, nor does the fact of copying (even without permission) necessarily prove that copyright was infringed. Criminal sanctions are generally aimed at serious counterfeiting activity, but are now becoming more commonplace as copyright collectives such as the RIAA are increasingly targeting the file sharing home Internet user. Thus far, however, most such cases against file sharers have been settled out of court. (See: File sharing and the law)

"Poor man's copyright"

Because of the cost associated with copyright registration some creators, particularly musicians, have attempted to establish evidence of ownership and creation of a work by mailing it to themselves. In the US this non-statutory practice became known as "poor man's copyright." Today the US Copyright Office makes it clear that the technique is no substitute for actual copyright registration, although the practice may be accepted as proof of creation in a number of national jurisdictions, such as the UK and the Netherlands. "Poor man's copyright" may also include depositing a copy of the work with a bank or attorney.

Exclusive rights

Several exclusive rights typically attach to the holder of a copyright:

The phrase “exclusive right,” in this context, means that only the copyright holder has a legal power to secure relief from a court against certain, statutorily defined uses by others without the copyright holder's authorization. The copyright holder is free to exercise those rights, unless doing so would violate rights of others. Copyright is sometimes called a “negative right” or "exclusionary right," as it serves to prohibit or exclude other people (e.g., readers, viewers, or listeners, and primarily publishers and would-be publishers) from doing something they would otherwise be able to do, rather than permitting people (e.g., authors) to do something they would otherwise be unable to do. In this way it is similar to the unregistered design right in English law and European law. The rights of the copyright holder also permit him/her to not use or exploit their copyright, for some or all of the term.

There is, however, a critique that rejects this assertion as being based on a philosophical interpretation of copyright law that is not universally shared. There is also debate on whether copyright should be considered a property right or a moral right. Many argue that copyright does not exist merely to restrict third parties from publishing ideas and information, and that defining copyright purely as a negative right is incompatible with the public policy objective of encouraging authors to create new works and enrich the public domain.

The right to adapt a work means to transform the way in which the work is expressed. Examples include developing a stage play or film script from a novel, translating a short story, and making a new arrangement of a musical work.


Copyright subsists for a variety of lengths in different jurisdictions. The length of the term can depend on several factors, including the type of work (e.g. musical composition, novel), whether the work has been published or not, and whether the work was created by an individual or a corporation. In most of the world, the default length of copyright is the life of the author plus either 50 or 70 years. In the United States, the term for most existing works is a fixed number of years after the date of creation or publication. In some countries (for example, the United States and the United Kingdom), copyrights expire at the end of the calendar year in question.

The length and requirements for copyright duration are subject to change by legislation, and since the early 20th century there have been a number of adjustments made in various countries, which can make determining the duration of a given copyright somewhat difficult. For example, the United States used to require copyrights to be renewed after 28 years to stay in force, and formerly required a copyright notice upon first publication to gain coverage. In Italy and France, there were post-wartime extensions that could increase the term by approximately 6 years in Italy and up to about 14 in France. Many countries have extended the length of their copyright terms (sometimes retroactively). International treaties establish minimum terms for copyrights, but individual countries may enforce longer terms than those.

Limits and exceptions to copyright

Idea-expression dichotomy

Immanuel Kant in his 1785 essay Von der Unrechtmäßigkeit des Büchernachdrucks distinguishes the physical from the ideological, the thought involved from the book. This distinction is of critical importance to the near constant wrangling between publishers, other intermediaries, and the original, creative authors.

First-sale doctrine and exhaustion of rights

Copyright law does not restrict the owner of a copy from reselling legitimately obtained copies of copyrighted works, provided that those copies were originally produced by or with the permission of the copyright holder. It is therefore legal, for example, to resell a copyrighted book or CD. In the United States this is known as the first-sale doctrine, and was established by the courts to clarify the legality of reselling books in second-hand bookstores. Some countries may have parallel importation restrictions that allow the copyright holder to control the aftermarket. This may mean for example that a copy of a book that does not infringe copyright in the country where it was printed does infringe copyright in a country into which it is imported for retailing. The first-sale doctrine is known as exhaustion of rights in other countries and is a principle that also applies, though somewhat differently, to patent and trademark rights. It is important to note that the first-sale doctrine permits the transfer of the particular legitimate copy involved. It does not permit making or distributing additional copies.

In addition, copyright, in most cases, does not prohibit one from acts such as modifying, defacing, or destroying his or her own legitimately obtained copy of a copyrighted work, so long as duplication is not involved. However, in countries that implement moral rights, a copyright holder can in some cases successfully prevent the mutilation or destruction of a work that is publicly visible.

Fair use and fair dealing

Copyright does not prohibit all copying or replication. In the United States, the fair use doctrine, codified by the Copyright Act of 1976 as , permits some copying and distribution without permission of the copyright holder or payment to same. The statute does not clearly define fair use, but instead gives four non-exclusive factors to consider in a fair use analysis. Those factors are:

  1. the purpose and character of the use;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

In the United Kingdom and many other Commonwealth countries, a similar notion of fair dealing was established by the courts or through legislation. The concept is sometimes not well defined; however in Canada, private copying for personal use has been expressly permitted by statute since 1999. In Australia, the fair dealing exceptions under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) are a limited set of circumstances under which copyrighted material can be legally copied or adapted without the copyright holder's consent. Fair dealing uses are research and study; review and critique; parody and satire; news reportage and the giving of professional advice (i.e. legal advice). Under current Australian law it is still a breach of copyright to copy, reproduce or adapt copyright material for personal or private use without permission from the copyright owner. Other technical exemptions from infringement may also apply, such as the temporary reproduction of a work in machine readable form for a computer.

In the United States the AHRA (Audio Home Recording Act Codified in Section 10, 1992) prohibits action against consumers making noncommercial recordings of music, in return for royalties on both media and devices plus mandatory copy-control mechanisms on recorders.

Section 1008. Prohibition on certain infringement actions

No action ever may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.

Later acts amended US Copyright law so that for certain purposes making 10 copies or more is construed to be commercial, but there is no general rule permitting such copying. Indeed making one complete copy of a work, or in many cases using a portion of it, for commercial purposes will not be considered fair use. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act prohibits the manufacture, importation, or distribution of devices whose intended use, or only significant commercial use, is to bypass an access or copy control put in place by a copyright owner. An appellate court has held that fair use is not a defense to engaging in such distribution.

Educational use is regarded as "fair use" in most jurisdictions, but the restrictions vary wildly from nation to nation.

Recent Israeli District Court decision dated Sep. 2, 2009 accepted the defence of fair use for a site linking to P2P live feeds of soccer matches. The main reasoning was based on the public importance of certain sporting events, i.e. - the public's rights as counter weight to the copyright holders rights.

Transfer and licensing

A copyright, or aspects of it, may be assigned or transferred from one party to another. For example, a musician who records an album will often sign an agreement with a record company in which the musician agrees to transfer all copyright in the recordings in exchange for royalties and other considerations. The creator (and original copyright holder) benefits, or expects to, from production and marketing capabilities far beyond those of the author. In the digital age of music, music may be copied and distributed at minimal cost through the Internet, however the record industry attempts to provide promotion and marketing for the artist and his or her work so it can reach a much larger audience. A copyright holder need not transfer all rights completely, though many publishers will insist. Some of the rights may be transferred, or else the copyright holder may grant another party a non-exclusive license to copy and/or distribute the work in a particular region or for a specified period of time. A transfer or licence may have to meet particular formal requirements in order to be effective; see section 239 of the Australia Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Under Australian law, it is not enough to pay for a work to be created in order to also own the copyright. The copyright itself must be expressly transferred in writing.

Under the U.S. Copyright Act, a transfer of ownership in copyright must be memorialized in a writing signed by the transferor. For that purpose, ownership in copyright includes exclusive licenses of rights. Thus exclusive licenses, to be effective, must be granted in a written instrument signed by the grantor. No special form of transfer or grant is required. A simple document that identifies the work involved and the rights being granted is sufficient. Non-exclusive grants (often called non-exclusive licenses) need not be in writing under U.S. law. They can be oral or even implied by the behavior of the parties. Transfers of copyright ownership, including exclusive licenses, may and should be recorded in the U.S. Copyright Office. (Information on recording transfers is available on the Office's web site.) While recording is not required to make the grant effective, it offers important benefits, much like those obtained by recording a deed in a real estate transaction.

Copyright may also be licensed. Some jurisdictions may provide that certain classes of copyrighted works be made available under a prescribed statutory license (e.g. musical works in the United States used for radio broadcast or performance). This is also called a compulsory license, because under this scheme, anyone who wishes to copy a covered work does not need the permission of the copyright holder, but instead merely files the proper notice and pays a set fee established by statute (or by an agency decision under statutory guidance) for every copy made. Failure to follow the proper procedures would place the copier at risk of an infringement suit. Because of the difficulty of following every individual work, copyright collectives or collecting societies and performing rights organizations (such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC) have been formed to collect royalties for hundreds (thousands and more) works at once. Though this market solution bypasses the statutory license, the availability of the statutory fee still helps dictate the price per work collective rights organizations charge, driving it down to what avoidance of procedural hassle would justify.

Similar legal rights

Copyright law covers the creative or artistic expression of an idea. Patent law covers inventions. Trademark law covers distinctive terms, marks, and names that are used in relation to products or services as indicators of origin, as does (in a similar fashion), Trade dress and Design patents cover the look or appearance of a manufactured or functional article. Trade secret law covers secret or sensitive knowledge or information.

Although copyright and trademark laws are theoretically distinct, more than one type of them may cover the same item or subject matter. For example, in the case of the Mickey Mouse cartoon, the image and name of Mickey Mouse would be the subject of trademark legislation, while the cartoon itself would be subject to copyright. Titles and character names from books or movies may also be trademarked while the works from which they are drawn may qualify for copyright.

Another point of distinction is that a copyright (and a patent) is generally subject to a statutorily-determined term, whereas a trademark registration may remain in force indefinitely if the trademark is periodically used and renewal fees continue to be duly paid to the relevant jurisdiction's trade marks office or registry. Once the term of a copyright has expired, the formerly copyrighted work enters the public domain and may be freely used or exploited by anyone. Courts in the United States and the United Kingdom have rejected the doctrine of a common law copyright. Public domain works should not be confused with works that are publicly available. Works posted in the internet for example, are publicly available, but are not generally in the public domain. Copying such works may therefore violate the author's copyright.

What is a "copy"?

There are different approaches to the issue of what is a "copy" of a copyright-protected work. For example, several important rights under United States copyright law exist only for “copies” of works—material objects in which the work is embodied. A three-dimensional counterpart of a two-dimensional drawing is usually not a “copy” of the drawing, under United States copyright law. Thus, the copyright in a drawing of the approach to the Triboro Bridge is not infringed when the bridge approach is built.

The copyright law of England is different, a copyright in a drawing is infringed by manufacture of the depicted object. As the House of Lords held in British Leyland Motor Corp. v. Armstrong Patents Co., the manufacture of a tailpipe corresponding to a blueprint of the tailpipe infringes the copyright in the blueprint, and unless a defense applies (as it did in that case) the tailpipe “copyist” is liable for copyright infringement damages.


In the United States, the Copyright Office maintains that typeface designs are not covered by copyright, and it will not accept applications for their registration. See 37. C.F.R. § 202.1(e). In Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures, Inc. v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc., 338 F.3d 127, 132 (2nd Cir. 2003), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recognized this rule when it held, “the public domain includes, for example, both the generic shape of the letter 'L' and all of the elaborately more specific 'L's' from the hundreds of years of font designs that have fallen into the public domain.” However, if a design is novel and "non-obvious," it may be covered by design patent.

Germany (in 1981) passed a special extension (Schriftzeichengesetz) to the design patent law (Geschmacksmustergesetz) for protecting typeface designs. This permits typefaces being registered as designs in Germany, too. So far, the United States courts have not published any opinions discussing whether a computer program creating a particular font might be intellectual property protected by the copyright laws.

England recognized copyright in typeface at least as early as 1916. The current United Kingdom copyright statute, enacted in 1989, expressly refers to copyrights in typeface designs. The British law also applies to designs produced before 1989.

In Switzerland, there is no specific law for the protection of typefaces. The jurisdiction so far has been very reluctant in admitting legal protection of any sort to typefaces. However, the denied protection is not imperative: in theory typefaces could be protected based on both copyright and design law. Additionally, the name of a typeface can be protected by a trademark.

Accessible copies

It is legal in several countries including the United Kingdom and the United States to produce alternative versions (for example, in large print or braille) of a copyrighted work to provide improved access to a work for blind and visually impaired persons without receiving prior permission from the copyright holder.

"Copyrightable" as a word

Use of "copyrightable" or "uncopyrightable" as words is rarely helpful from a standpoint of legal analysis and is often misleading or confusing. The problem is that, so long as a writing exists in tangible form, there will usually be something to which some quantum of copyright protection attaches, even if it is "thin." Thus, a book containing a list of computer-generated code words might be said to be uncopyrightable for lack of originality, a sine-qua-non of copyright protection, or for lack of human authorship. But the work (considered as the whole book) will likely contain an Introduction explaining what the book does, and that portion of the book will almost surely have enough of that minimal degree of creativity that suffices to attract some degree of copyright protection. The proper issue is thus not copyrightability but what kind of copyright protection (thin or robust) attaches to which portions of the work. By the same token, it is not helpful to speak of functionally-dictated or scenes-a-faire aspects of a work as being uncopyrightable----it is more useful to ask whether the copyright protection of the work (for there is some) extends to its functionally-dictated or scenes-a-faire aspects.

See also

National copyright laws

US Legislation

EU Legislation

Treaties and International Agreements

Sui generis


  1. Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 aka Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution
  2. Statute of Anne
  3. United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, clause 8. The full text of the clause without ellipsis is: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
  5. 34 U.S. (8 Pet.) 591 (1834).
  6. Express Newspaper Plc v News (UK) Plc, F.S.R. 36 (1991)
  7. Copyright in General: I’ve heard about a "poor man’s copyright." What is it?, U.S Copyright Office
  8. Auteursrecht - FAQ
  9. Copyright Registers', United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office
  10. The Duration of Copyright and Rights in Performances Regulations 1995, part II, Amendments of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
  11. International comparison of Educational "fair use" legislation
  12. FAPL v. Ploni, September 2, 2009
  13. a more thorough analysis of the FAPL v. Ploni decision
  14. See (defining "copy").
  15. See Muller v. Triboro Bridge Authority, 43 F. Supp. 298 (S.D.N.Y. 1942).
  16. See LB Ltd. v. Swish Products Ltd., [1979] R.P.C. 551, [1979] F.S.R. 145 (H.L.). Excerpted version available at Swish.
  17. Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures, Inc. v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc., 338 F.3d 127, 132 (2nd Cir. 2003) (via FindLaw)
  18. See, for example, , May 12, 1987, Typeface design, Charles A. Bigelow and Kris A. Holmes, inventors.
  19. "Stephenson, Blake and Co. v. Grant, Legros & Co., 115 L.T.R. 666, 61 Sol. J. 55 (1916), reprinted in E.J. MacGillivray, Copyright Cases 1911-1916 326-329 (1969), aff'd 116 L.T.R. 268 (1917), noted in 13 Eng. and Empire Digest 68, 68-69. The court recognized that the typeface design was subject to copyright under the then-current Copyright Act of 1911, An Act to Amend and Consolidate the Law Relating to Copyright, 1911, 1 & 2 Geo. 5, ch. 46 (Eng.). However, the plaintiff's victory was hollow. The court held that the copyright protected only the design in its entirety, with all the letters in their particular order. The defendant's embodiment of them into a font of his own, as opposed to a reproduction of the design with the letters in the same order, was held not to infringe. MacGillivray , supra at 327-28." Terrence J. Carroll, Protection For Typeface Designs: A Copyright Proposal, 10 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech. L.J. 139, 169, n.181.
  20. Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, ch. 48, § 54 (England)
  21. Valentin Blank, Der Schutz typographischer Schriftzeichen und Schriften im Schweizer Recht, Bern 1999 (
  22. Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 (England):
  23. Cf. Reiss v. National Quotation Bureau, Inc., 276 F. 717 (S.D.N.Y. 1921).
  24. Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340(1991).
  25. See Feist, 499 U.S. at 349.

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