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Below are links to United States copyright laws, regulations and cases. Also be sure to visit the US Copyright Office Laws Section for Copyright, sections of the United States Code, Federal Register Notices, Regulations, Current Legislation, Congressional Testimony and more.

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US Constitution
  • U.S. Consitution
    Article I Section 8 | Clause 8 - Patent and Copyright Clause of the Consitution.

    [The Congress shall have power] "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."

  • First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

US Code
US Regulations
International Treaties & Conventions
Case Law & Judicial Opinions

  • Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc., No. CV 04-9484, United States District Court Central District of California (2006). Google's creation and public display of "thumbnails" likely do directly infringe P10's copyrights as part of a preliminary injunction decision.
  • Field v. Google, Inc., No. CV-S-04-0412-RCJ-LRL, United States District Court District of Nevada (2006). Google did not infringe on Field's copyright by indexing and caching his online story. Website owners can use meta tags <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOARCHIVE"> or robots.txt files to keep a search engine for indexing a particular page. Also Google's use of the materials in their database was fair use.
  • Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley Limited, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, and RR Donnelley & Sons Company, No. 05-2514-cv, United States Court of Appeals (2nd Cir.), 2006. Copyrighted images used in book were fair use under 17 U.S.C. § 107. The case balances a number of factors, including the purpose of the use of the copyrighted work, how it is presented (reduced size photos), and the market harm to other uses of the work.
  • A&M; Records v. Napster, 191 F. Supp. 2d 1087, 284 F.3d 1091 (2002)
    On appeal, the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction issued by the Federal District Court finding that the sharing of copyrighted files was not fair use and was not within other exemptions of copyright infringement created by the Audio Home Recording Act or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  • American Geophysical Union v. Texaco, Inc., 60 F.3d 913 (2d Cir. 1995)
    Plaintiffs American Geophysical Union and 82 other publishers of scientific and technical journals brought a class action claiming that Texaco's unauthorized photocopying of articles from their journals constituted copyright infringement. Among other defenses, Texaco claimed that its copying was fair use under section 107 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 107. The Circuit Court affirmed the District Court's holding that Texaco's photocopying did not constitute fair use.
  • Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Corp., 758 F.Supp. 1522 (S.D.N.Y. 1991)
    Plaintiffs in this case, all major publishing houses, allegeded that Kinko's infringed their copyrights when they copied excerpts from books, whose rights were held by the plaintiffs, without permission and without payment of required fees and sold the copies for a profit. The court found that Kinko's did not convincingly show that the excerpts it appropriated without seeking permission were a fair use of the works in question and concluded that they violated the Copyright Act
  • Campbell v. Acuff-Rose, 510 U.S. 569 (1994)
    Acuff-Rose filed suit against the members of the music group 2 Live Crew and their record company, claiming that 2 Live Crew's song, "Pretty Woman," infringed Acuff-Rose's copyright in, "Oh Pretty Woman." The District Court granted summary judgment for 2 Live Crew, holding that its song was a parody that made fair use of the original song. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding that the commercial nature of the parody rendered it presumptively unfair. The Supreme Court found that the Circuit Court was in error when it concluded that the commercial nature of 2 Live Crew's parody rendered it presumptively unfair and was also in error when it held that 2 Live Crew had necessarily copied excessively from the original song, considering the parodic purpose of the use.
  • Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730 (1989)
    The Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) and Reid, a sculptor, filed competing copyright registration certificates for a statue in Washington, D.C. The parties had never discussed copyright in the sculpture. The District Court ruled for CCNV in its subsequent suit seeking a determination of copyright ownership, holding that the statue was a "work made for hire" and was therefore owned exclusively by CCNV. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the sculpture was not a "work made for hire" under the first subsection of the 101 definition and that the statue did not satisfy the second subsection of the 101 definition, since sculpture is not one of the nine categories of "specially ordered or commissioned" works enumerated therein. However, the court remanded for a determination whether the statue was jointly authored by CCNV and Reid, such that they were co-owners of the copyright under 201(a). The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
  • Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 539 U.S. 23 (2003).
    The Supreme Court ruled that Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act does not prevent the unaccredited copying of an un-copyrighted work. The Lanham Act's purpose is to prevent the deception of consumers and the impairment of producers' good will.
  • Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186 (2003)
    Petitioners, whose products or services build on copyrighted works that have gone into the public domain, brought this suit seeking a determination that the Copyright Term Extension Act (CETA) fails constitutional review under both the Copyright Clause's "limited Times" prescription and the First Amendment's free speech guarantee. The District Court held that the CTEA does not violate the Copyright Clause's "limited times" restriction because the CTEA's terms, though longer than the 1976 Act's terms, are still limited, not perpetual, and therefore fit within Congress' discretion. The court also held that there are no First Amendment rights to use the copyrighted works of others. The Circuit Court affirmed. The Supreme Court upheld the Circuit Court's decision that placing existing and future copyrights in parity in the CTEA, Congress acted within its authority and did not transgress constitutional limitations.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica Educ. Corp. v. Crooks, 558 F. Supp. 1247 (W.D.N.Y. 1983)
    In this case the District Court ruled against the making of off-air videotape copies of educational programs and distributing them to schools. The District Court determined that defendants' highly organized and systematic practice of making off-the-air videotapes and derivative copies of plaintiffs' televised copyrighted works did not constitute fair use under the copyright laws. (The Court did not address the single instance of a teacher copying copyrighted materials for use in the classroom.)
  • Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991)
    Rural Telephone Service Company and Feist Publications, Inc., are both publishers of telephone directories. When Rural refused to license its white pages listings to Feist for a directory covering 11 different telephone service areas, Feist extracted the listings it needed from Rural's directory without Rural's consent. Although Feist altered many of Rural's listings, several were identical to listings in Rural's white pages. The District Court granted summary judgment to Rural in its copyright infringement suit, holding that telephone directories are copyrightable. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals holding that Rural's white pages did not meet the constitutional or statutory requirements for copyright protection, stating that, originality, not "sweat of the brow," is the touchstone of copyright protection in directories and other fact-based works. Raw data are uncopyrightable facts, and the way in which Rural selected, coordinated, and arranged those facts was not original in any way. Copyright rewards originality, not effort.
  • Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517 (1994)
    The Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. 505, provides in relevant part that in any copyright infringement action "the court may . . . award a reasonable attorney's fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs." The question presented in this case was what standards should inform a court's decision to award attorney's fees to a prevailing defendant in a copyright infringement action. After Fogerty's successful defense of a copyright infringement action filed against him by respondent Fantasy, Inc., the District Court denied his motion for attorney's fees pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 505. The Court of Appeals affirmed, declining to abandon it's "dual standard" for awarding 505 fees - under which prevailing plaintiffs are generally awarded attorney's fees as a matter of course, while defendants must show that the original suit was frivolous or brought in bad faith - in favor of the so-called "evenhanded" approach, in which no distinction is made between prevailing plaintiffs and prevailing defendants. The Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals erroneously held the prevailing defendant, to a more stringent standard than that applicable to a prevailing plaintiff, and reversed and remanded the Court of Appeals Decision.
  • Gulf Oil Corp. v. Copp Paving Co., 419 U.S. 186 (1974)
  • Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539, 105 S.Ct. 2218 (1985)
    In 1977, former President Ford contracted with Harper & Row (H&R;) to publish his as yet unwritten memoirs. Shortly before a previously agreed to Time Magazine excerpted release, an unauthorized source provided The Nation Magazine with the unpublished Ford manuscript. As a result of the publication of The Nation's article, Time canceled its article. H&R; then brought suit in Federal District Court against the publishers of The Nation, alleging violations of the Copyright Act (Act). The District Court held that the Ford memoirs were protected by copyright at the time of The Nation publication and that The Nation's use of the copyrighted material constituted an infringement under the Act. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that The Nation's publication of the 300 to 400 words it identified as copyrightable expression was sanctioned as a "fair use" of the copyrighted material under 107 of the Act. The Supreme Court held that The Nation's article was not a "fair use" sanctioned by the fair use provisions in 17 USC 107.
  • Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp. (9th Cir. 2003)
    The plaintiff, a professional photographer, placed some of his images on his Web site, as well as on other web sites with which he had a license agreement. Arriba Soft operated an Internet search engine that displayed results in the form of small pictures ("thumbnails"). When Kelly discovered that his photographs were part of Arriba's search engine database, he brought a claim against Arriba for copyright infringement. The District Court found that Kelly had established a prima facie case of copyright infringement based on Arriba's unauthorized reproduction and display of Kelly's works, but that this reproduction and display constituted a non-infringing "fair use" under Section 107 of the Copyright Act. Kelly appealed that decision, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part. The creation and use of the thumbnails in the search engine was a fair use. However, it held that the District Court should not have decided whether the display of the larger image was a violation of Kelly's exclusive right to publicly display his works. Thus, the case was remanded for further proceedings.
  • International Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. NLRB, 814 F.2d 697 (D.C. Cir. 1987)
  • Los Angeles News Service v. Tullo, 973 F.2d 791 (9th Cir. 1992)
    Los Angeles News Service ("LANS") recorded newsworthy events on videotape and licensed television stations and networks to use all or segments of the unedited ("raw") footage in edited broadcast news stories. Audio Video Reporting Services ("AVRS") made video recordings of these news programs, which included portions of LANS's footage, and marketed the recordings. LANS sued, claiming copyright infringement. The District Court entered judgment for LANS on the copyright infringement claims. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Because AVRS sold their clips it negated their fair use defense.
  • MacMillan Co. v. King, 223 F. 862 (D. Mass. 1914)
  • Marcus v. Rowley, 695 F.2d 1171 (9th Cir. 1983)
    Marcus, a public school teacher was the owner of a registered copyright to a booklet on cake decorating. The defendant, also a public school teacher, incorporated a substantial portion of the copyrighted work into a booklet which she prepared for use in her classes. Both parties moved the District Court for summary judgment. The District Court denied both motions and dismissed the action on the merits on the ground that defendant's copying of plaintiff's material for nonprofit educational purposes constituted fair use. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal reversed the decision.
  • Matthew Bender v. West Publishing, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6915
    This action raised the question of the extent of the copyright protection available to West Publishing with respect to its published opinions of the United States Supreme Court and the Circuit Courts of Appeals. The issue presented was whether the changes West makes to an opinion, either singly or in combination, represent a sufficient creative effort to warrant copyright protection. The opinions published by West are written, not by West, but by federal judges. The District Court found that since West has no copyright interest in those elements of the reported opinions which Hyperlaw was copying and intended to copy, Hyperlaw was entitled to a judgment that its copying of the opinions from the West reports did not violate West's copyrights.
  • Maxtone-Graham v. Burtchaell, 803 F. 2d 1253 (1986)
    In this case, Defendant was preparing a series of essays in a book, and requested permission to quote extensively from interviews in Plaintiff's book. Despite the denial of permission, Defendant included numerous verbatim quotations in his book. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to decide whether the District Court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant on the basis of fair use in an action for copyright infringement. The Second Circuit concluded from their evaluation of the factors that the fair use defense was properly sustained as a matter of law. They affirmed the District Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant.
  • National Basketball Ass'n v. Motorola, Inc., 105 F.3d 841 (1997)
    This case involved the use by Motorola of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) transmissions of sporting events. Motorola offered a service that allowed subscribers to receive current scores and statistics through their pagers. In 1976, Congress passed legislation expressly affording copyright protection to simultaneously-recorded broadcasts of live performances such as sports events. Such protection was not extended to the underlying events. The District Court held that, although this did not infringe on the NBA's copyright, it did constitute misappropriation of the their proprietary data under New York law, and that the misappropriation claim was not preempted by the Copyright Act. In the Circuit Court's view the underlying basketball games at issue in this case did not fall within the subject matter of federal copyright protection because they did not constitute "original works of authorship" and they reversed the misappropriation claim.
  • National Rifle Ass'n of America v. Handgun Control Fed'n, 15 F.3d 559 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 71 (1994)
    The NRA sent short letters to its members urging opposition to two gun control bills pending before the Ohio legislature. Attached to each newsletter was a three-page listing of Ohio state legislators. HCF sent out a newsletter supporting the same House bill the NRA opposed. Pages eight and nine of the newsletter contain a two-page list of Ohio representatives, which HCF photocopied from one of the NRA mailings. The NRA filed a complaint alleging copyright infringement of the compilation of information concerning the members of the Ohio legislature. The District Court ruled that the NRA could not copyright the three-page list of Ohio legislators at issue. The Circuit Court affirmed, holding that HCF had made fair use of the list under the copyright statutes and therefore could not be held liable.
  • New York Times Co., Inc. v. Tasini, 533 U.S. 483 (2001)
    The Respondents in this case were freelance authors who wrote articles for a variety of publishers. The publishers engaged the authors as independent contractors under contracts that did not secure an author's consent to placement of articles in an electronic database. However, the publishers each licensed rights to copy and sell articles to the owner and operator of NEXIS. The authors brought suit against the publishers. In response to the authors' complaint, the publishers raised the privilege accorded collective work to copyright owners by §201(c) of the Copyright Act. The District Court granted the publishers summary judgment, The Second Circuit reversed on the ground that the databases were not among the collective works covered by §201(c), and specifically, were not "revisions" of the periodicals in which the articles first appeared. The Supreme Court held that Section 201(c) did not authorize the copying at issue here.
  • Princeton University Press v. Michigan Document Services, INC, No. 94-1778 6th Cir. 1996. Decision vacated, No. 94-1778 6th Cir. 1996
    Michigan Document Services is a commercial copy shop that reproduced substantial segments of copyrighted works of scholarship, bound the copies into "coursepacks," and sold the coursepacks to students. The copy shop acted without permission from the copyright holders, and the main question presented in the case was whether the fair use doctrine obviated the need to obtain such permission. Answering this question "no," and finding the infringement willful, the District Court entered a summary judgment order (855 F. Supp. 905). On appeal, the Court Circuit found that the defendants' commercial exploitation of the copyrighted materials did not constitute fair use.
  • Religious Technology Center v. Netcom, 907 F. Supp. 1361 (N.D. Cal. 1995), 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23572
    Erlich was charged with copyright infringement when he posted online sacred writings of the Church of Scientology. In addition, the Church also sued Netcom On-Line Communication Services, Inc. (Netcom), the ISP for the Bulletin Board System (BBS) containing the alleged infringing postings, and Tom Klemesrud, the operator of the BBS which Erlich used to transmit his postings. In connection with the latter action, the U.S. District Court ruled that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) could be liable for contributory copyright infringement when a subscribing member directly infringes a copyright. In a related ruling (923 F. Supp. 1231), the District Court issued a preliminary injunction against Erlich restraining him from all unauthorized reproduction, transmission, and publication of any of the works of L. Ron Hubbard. In a subsequent ruling the Court granted in part plaintiffs' motion to expand the preliminary injunction based on its copyright and trade secret claims but denied in part based upon the alleged bad faith of defendant. Plaintiffs' renewed arguments that Erlich should not be entitled to "fair use" of their copyrighted documents because of his alleged "bad faith" was rejected by the Court.
  • Salinger v. Random House and Ian Hamilton, 811 F.2d 90 (1987)
    This case presents the issue of whether a biographer (Hamilton) of a renowned author (Salinger) made "fair use" of his subject's unpublished letters. The District Court granted a temporary restraining order in favor of Salinger but subsequently issued an opinion denying a preliminary injunction. 650 F. Supp. 413. (1986). In the District Court's view, the extent of copying of expressive material entitled to copyright protection was minimal and that such use as Hamilton had made was "fair use" within the meaning of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 107 (1982). The Circuit Court reversed and remanded the lower court decision, determining that on balance, the claim of fair use as to Salinger's unpublished letters failed.
  • Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984)
    Universal brought an action against Sony alleging that video tape recorder (VTRs) consumers had been recording some of Universal's copyrighted works that had been exhibited on commercially sponsored television and thereby infringed on their copyrights, and further that Sony was liable for such copyright infringement because of their marketing of the VTRs. The District Court denied Universal all relief, holding that noncommercial home use recording of material broadcast over the public airwaves was a fair use of copyrighted works and did not constitute copyright infringement, and that Sony could not be held liable as contributory infringers even if the home use of a VTR was considered an infringing use. The Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the Appeals Court.
  • Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207 (1990)
    In this case the author of a pre-existing work agreed to assign the rights in his renewal copyright term to the owner of a derivative work, but died before the commencement of the renewal period. The question presented was whether the owner of the derivative work infringed the rights of the successor owner of the pre-existing work by continued distribution and publication of the derivative work during the renewal term of the pre-existing work. The Court ruled that the distribution and publication of a derivative work during the copyright renewal term of a pre-existing work incorporated into the derivative work infringes the rights of the owner of the pre-existing work where the author of that work agreed to assign the rights in the renewal term to the derivative work's owner but died before the commencement of the renewal period and the statutory successor does not assign the right to use the pre-existing work to the owner of the derivative work.
  • West Virginia Univ. Hosps., Inc. v. Casey, 499 U.S. 83 (1991)

Historic Cases of Note 1800-1979

Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., 188 U.S. 239 (1903)
The alleged infringements in this case consisted of copying in reduced form three chromolithographs prepared by employees of the plaintiffs. The Circuit Court directed a verdict for the defendant on the ground that the chromolithographs were not within the protection of the copyright law, which was sustained by the Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court reversed the Circuit Court of Appeals decision. Copyright protection is not limited to non-commercial matter or to works of fine art. In addition, the threshold for originality for copyright protection is low. A pictorial representation of an actual event can be protected.

  • Edward Thomson Co. v. American Lawbook Co., 122 F. 922 (1903)
    Thomson, a publisher of two legal encyclopedias, sued American Lawbook alleging that they infringed on Thomson's copyrights. The court asked: is a copyrighted law book infringed by a subsequent work on the same subject where the only accusation against the second author is that he collected all available citations, including those found in the copyrighted work, and, after examining them in text-books and reports, used those which he considered applicable to support his own original text? The court found in the negative, finding that if it was held that an author could not consult the authorities collected by his predecessors, the law of copyright, enacted to promote the progress of science and useful arts, would retard that progress
  • Emerson v. Davies, 8 F. Cas. 615 (1845)
    This is the earliest cases identifying the compiler's effort of a work as the critical contribution justifying copyright protection. This type of analysis came to be known as the "sweat of the brow" doctrine.
  • Folsom v. Marsh, Massachusetts Circuit Court 1841
    The court in this case examined the justifiable use of original materials, forming the basis for the fair use doctrine. The court found that , "the question of piracy, often depend upon a nice balance of the comparative use made in one of the materials of the other; the nature, extent, and value of the materials thus used; the objects of each work; and the degree to which each writer may be fairly presumed to have resorted to the same common sources of information, or to have exercised the same common diligence in the selection and arrangement of the materials."
  • F. W. Woolworth Co. v. Contemporary Arts, Inc., 344 U.S. 228 (1952)
    The court ruled that a rule of liability which merely takes away the profits from a copyright infringement would offer little discouragement to infringers and will fall short of an effective sanction for enforcement of the copyright policy. The fact that petitioner proved that its gross profit from the infringement was a certain amount does not limit recovery to that amount.
  • International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918)
    The Court was asked if International News Service's admitted course of conduct in appropriating for commercial use matter taken from bulletins or early editions of Associated Press publications constitutes unfair competition in trade. The Supreme Court held that INS's conduct was a common-law misappropriation of AP's property.
  • Laurence v. Dana 15 F. Cas. 26 (1869)
    In this case, the court found that subsequent editions to a book without alterations or additions should have the same copyright, because they find their only protection in the original copyright; but second or subsequent editions, with notes or other improvements, are new books, within the meaning of the copyright acts, and the authors or proprietors of the same are required to "deposit a printed copy of such book," and "give information of copyright being secured," as if no prior edition of the work had ever been published. The term of the copyright as to the notes or improvements, is computed from the time of recording the title thereof, and not from the time of recording the title of the original work. Copyrights afford no protection to what was not in existence at the time when they were granted.
  • MacMillan Co. v. King, 223 F. 862 (1914)
    In this case the court ruled that copyright protects every substantial component part of a book, as well as the whole. Copyright infringement is not only direct copying of material; it is also possible through paraphrasing and partial copying of an author's work.
  • Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201 (1954)
    The controversy in this case centered around the fact that although the items at issue were copyrighted as "works of art," they were intended for use and used commercially. The court held that "works of art" and "reproductions of works of art" were intended by Congress to include the authority to copyright such items. That the items, as fitted as lamps or unfitted, may be patentable does not bar their copyright as works of art and that the intended or actual use in industry of an article eligible for copyright does not bar or invalidate its registration. Last, the subsequent registration of a work of art published as an element in a manufactured article is not a misuse of copyright.
  • Stowe v. Thomas, 23 F. Cas. 201, 1853
    At issue in this case was a translation of Harriet Beacher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" which was sold in the United States without the author's permission. The court claimed that once an author "has published his book, and given his thoughts, sentiments, knowledge or discoveries to the world, he can have no longer an exclusive possession of them. Such an appropriation becomes impossible, and is inconsistent with the object of publication. The author's conceptions have become the common property of his readers, who cannot be deprived of the use of them, nor of their right to communicate them to another clothed in their own language, by lecture or by treatise."
  • Teleprompter Corp. v. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 415 U.S. 394 (1974)
    Several creators and producers of copyrighted television programs brought this suit claiming that defendants had infringed their copyrights by intercepting broadcast transmissions of copyrighted material and re-channeling these programs through various community antenna television (CATV) systems to paying subscribers. The Supreme Court held that irrespective of the distance from the broadcasting station, the reception and retransmission of its signal by a CATV system does not constitute a "performance" of a copyrighted work.
  • Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken, 422 U.S. 151 (1975)
    Twentieth Century's copyrighted songs were received on the radio in Aiken's food shop from a local broadcasting station, which was licensed by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers to perform the songs, but Aiken had no such license. Twentieth Century then sued Aiken for copyright infringement. The Supreme Court held that Aiken did not infringe upon Twentieth Century's exclusive right, under the Copyright Act, "[t]o perform the copyrighted work publicly for profit," since the radio reception did not constitute a "performance" of the copyrighted songs.
  • West Pub. Co. v. Lawyers' Co-operative Pub. Co., 79 F. 756 (1897)
    West, the publisher of legal reports containing the opinions of various courts, with syllabi and statements of facts, sued Lawyers' Co-operative the publisher of a rival series of reports containing selected opinions, edited, with syllabi and statements of facts. West contended that in preparing the paragraphs which stated the law or facts in cases digested in Lawyers' Co-operative's publication, its editors had substantially appropriated the labors of West's editors to such an extent as to infringe complainant's copyrights. The court found that nearly 6,000 cases protected by copyright, were digested by Lawyers' Co-operative and that the whole work, or so much of it as is tainted by the workmanship of the unfair use, should be enjoined.
  • Wheaton v. Peters, 33 U.S. 591 (1834)
    In this case the court ruled that, "No reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court has, nor can he have, any copyright in the written opinions delivered by the court; and the judges of the court cannot confer on any reporter any such right." The court also held that, Congress, by the act of 1790, instead of sanctioning an existing perpetual right in an author in his works, created the right secured for a limited time by the provisions of that law."
  • Williams & Wilkins Co. v. United States, 487 F.2d 1345, aff'd by an equally divided court, 420 U.S. 376 (1975)
    The photocopying practices of the National Institute of Health were upheld in this decision. The suit charged that the libraries had violated the company's copyright by duplicating for interlibrary loan articles from journals published by Williams & Wilkins. The case was settled by a split decision of the Supreme Court upholding the appeals court verdict that found for the government.
  • Selected Historic Copyright Decisions at Cornell Law School
  • All US Supreme Court Decisions from Justia, Oyez and US Court Forms