TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: claw5.txt

Copyright Law FAQ Part 5

Posted-By: auto-faq 2.4
Archive-name: Copyright-FAQ/part5

Part 5 - Further copyright resources.

Copyright 1993 Terry Carroll
(c) 1993 Terry Carroll

This article is the fifth in a series of six articles that 
contains frequently asked questions (FAQ) with answers relating to 
copyright law, particularly that of the United States.  It is 
posted to the usenet misc.legal, misc.legal.computing, and 
misc.int-property newsgroups monthly, on or near the 17th of each 
month.  The FAQ maintainer is currently investigating the 
requirements for posting the FAQ in the news.answers and related 

The most current copy of the FAQ is always available for anonymous 
ftp from charon.amdahl.com [], in the directory 
/pub/misc.legal/Copyright-FAQ, filenames part.1 - part.6.

If you do not have direct access to FTP, you can use the FTP mail 
service offered by the DEC Western Research Laboratory to obtain a 
copy by mail [note: I have been unable to get this to work - once 
the FAQ is set up for *.answers, it will be available for email 
transfer by way of the rtfm.mit.edu mail-server].  To do this, 
send an email message to ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com with the following 
commands in the body of your message:

   connect charon.amdahl.com
   get /pub/misc.legal/Copyright-FAQ/part.1
   get /pub/misc.legal/Copyright-FAQ/part.2
   get /pub/misc.legal/Copyright-FAQ/part.3
   get /pub/misc.legal/Copyright-FAQ/part.4
   get /pub/misc.legal/Copyright-FAQ/part.5
   get /pub/misc.legal/Copyright-FAQ/part.6

For further information on the FTPmail service, send an email 
message to ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com with a single command "help" in 
the body of your message.


This article is Copyright 1993 by Terry Carroll.  It may be freely 
redistributed in its entirety provided that this copyright notice 
is not removed.  It may not be sold for profit or incorporated in 
commercial documents without the written permission of the 
copyright holder.  Permission is expressly granted for this 
document to be made available for file transfer from installations 
offering unrestricted anonymous file transfer on the Internet.  
Permission is further granted for this document to be made 
available for file transfer in the Legal Forum and Desktop 
Publishing Forum data libraries of Compuserve Information 
Services.  This article is provided as is without any express or 
implied warranty.  Nothing in this article represents the views of 
Amdahl Corporation, Santa Clara University, or the Santa Clara 
Computer and High Technology Law Journal.

While all information in this article is believed to be correct at 
the time of writing, this article is for educational purposes only 
and does not purport to provide legal advice.  If you require 
legal advice, you should consult with a legal practitioner 
licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

Terry Carroll, the FAQ-maintainer, is a computer professional, and 
is currently (7/93) a student in his final year at Santa Clara 
University School of Law and Editor-in-Chief of the Santa Clara 
Computer and High Technology Law Journal.

If you have any additions, corrections, or suggestions for 
improvement to this FAQ, please send them to one of the following 
addresses, in order of preference:


I will accept suggestions for questions to be added to the FAQ, 
but please be aware that I will be more receptive to questions 
that are accompanied by answers.  :-)


The following table indicates the contents of each of the parts of 
the FAQ.

  Part 1 - Introduction (including full table of contents).
  Part 2 - Copyright basics.
  Part 3 - Common miscellaneous questions.
  Part 4 - International aspects.
  Part 5 - Further copyright resources.
  Part 6 - Appendix: A note about legal citation form, or, "What's
           all this '17 U.S.C. 107' and '977 F.2d 1510' stuff?"

TABLE OF CONTENTS (for this part).

Part 5 - Further copyright resources.

5.1) Where can I get more information on copyright?
5.2) What materials related to copyright are available on the

5.1) Where can I get more information on copyright?

The U.S. Copyright Office General Information Package 118 provides 
general information on copyright law.  Copyright Office Circular 
2, "Publications on Copyright," provides a complete list of 
publications relating to copyright which are available from the 
Copyright Office.

These materials and many others may be ordered (generally free of 
charge) by calling the Copyright Office Hotline at 202-707-9100 
and leaving a voice mail message.  Call the Hotline only if you 
already know the number of the publication you want.  If you don't 
know the publication number, the Copyright Office maintains a 
prerecorded information line at 202-707-3000.  This line provides 
an automatic voice mail attendant that provides information 
according to responses presented from a touch-tone keypad.  Much 
of the information in section 2.6 was obtained from this 
information line.

The book "Intellectual Property in a Nutshell," by Arthur R. 
Miller of Harvard Law School and Michael H. Davis of Cleveland-
Marshall College of Law (West Publishing, 1990, ISBN 0-314-75738-
4), provides a fine introduction not only to copyright law, but 
also to patent and trademark law.  It's typically available from 
college or law school bookstores for about $15.

The authoritative secondary source for information on copyright is 
the five-volume loose-leaf opus, "Nimmer on Copyright."  
Originally written and maintained by the late Professor Melvin 
Nimmer and now maintained by his son, David Nimmer, this is the 
most respected source of copyright information, short of the texts 
of the statutes, regulations, and cases themselves.  Nimmer is 
frequently cited by courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, as 
an authority to justify their opinions.  I've been surprised to 
find short essays on even the most obscure copyright questions 
(e.g., whether a food recipe is subject to copyright).  I heartily 
recommend it as an initial source for research.  It is, however, a 
bit dense for casual reading.

Several readers have recommended L. Ray Patterson & Stanley W. 
Lindberg, "The Nature Of Copyright" (1991), ISBNs 0-8203-1362-9 
(paperback) and 0-8203-1347-5 (hardback).  Patterson and Stanley 
reportedly argue for a broad interpretation of a user's rights in 
a work, and a more narrow interpretation of the right of the 
copyright holder.  Be aware that this interpretation may or may 
not match the law of your jurisdiction.

In preparing this FAQ, I consulted the casebook that was used in 
my Copyright class in Fall of 1991 at Santa Clara University 
School of Law: Joyce, Patry, Leaffer and Jaszi, "Copyright Law, 
Second Edition" (1991), ISBN 0-8205-0115-8.  Like most casebooks, 
it contains edited versions of most of the landmark decisions in 
the law, including most of the cases that are cited in this FAQ.  
It's not for beginners, but it's well-written, and often contains 
illustrations of the works being discussed in the cases (a very 
useful feature, since copyright questions often turn on questions 
of similarity or originality that can only be determined by seeing 
the work).  The book's best features are a good review of the 
history of copyright, an excellent description of the 
international treaties covering copyright, and a detailed 
bibliography at the end of each chapter.  An unfortunate feature 
is the index, which is not the best organized, and often provides 
incorrect page numbers (perhaps because of the editors' hurry to 
include the Feist case that had been decided only a few months 
before the book was in stores).

Nolo Press publishes two books on copyright for the lay reader: 
"The Copyright Handbook: How to Protect and Use Written Works," by 
Stephen Fishman, ISBN 0-87337-130-5 ($24.95) and "How to Copyright 
Software," by M.J. Salone, ISBN 0-87337-102-X ($39.95).  My 
knowledge of these books is limited to the entries in the catalog, 
but Nolo Press generally enjoys an excellent reputation for 
publishing accurate and understandable books on law.  Nolo's 
telephone number is (510) 549-1976.

5.2) What materials related to copyright are available on the 

The following is a list of materials relating to copyright that I 
have been able to verify are available on the Internet.



Most portions of the current copyright law have been made 
available by Cornell University.  To review the statute, enter the 

  telnet fatty.law.cornell.edu 8210

and sign on with a user ID of "www."  No password is necessary.  
This will allow you to use the World Wide Web software to navigate 
the copyright law.  It also includes access to the Berne 



The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy maintains the 
Multilaterals Project, an anonymous ftp site with a number of 
multilateral treaties, at jade.tufts.edu.  This archive includes 
versions of both the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright 
Convention.  The treaties are in directory /pub/diplomacy.  The 
following files are of particular interest:

  README - A one-page description of the Multilaterals Project, by 
Peter Stott, its director.

  INDEX - An index of all the treaties and other documents 
available from the project.

  BH006-1971.txt - The 1971 Paris text of the Berne Convention for 
the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

  UNTS11850.txt - The 1967 Stockholm text of the Berne Convention 
for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.  The United 
States is not a party to the this text.

  UNTS13444.txt - The 1971 Paris text of the Universal Copyright 

In addition, The Berne Convention may also be viewed via telnet to 
fatty.law.cornell.edu as noted above, under "STATUTES."



The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) sponsors CNI-
Copyright, an Internet mailing list devoted to copyright issues.  
To join, send a message to LISTSERV@CNI.ORG with a single line of 
text in the body that says:


If that doesn't work, send a message to CRAIG@CNI.ORG (Craig 
Summerhill) and ask him to manually add you to the list.  After 
joining, messages may be sent to the list at CNI-

Archives of the CNI-COPYRIGHT list are available and may be 
searched online via telnet.  To access them, telnet to a.cni.org, 
login with the ID "brsuser" (no password is required), and follow 
the instructions presented.  CNI-COPYRIGHT archives are in the 
COPY database.

CNI is a not for profit corporation and is a joint project of the 
Association of Research Libraries (ARL), CAUSE, and EDUCOM.  It 
promotes the creation of and access to information resources in 
networked environments in order to enrich scholarship and to 
enhance intellectual productivity.


FTP site moink.nmsu.edu ( has a repository, 
/pub/rec.photo, for files related to photography.  Among the files 
contained in this directory is the Copyright Guide For 
Photographers, produced by the American Society of Media 
Photographers, Inc.  While the Guide is particularly oriented 
towards photographers, much of the information it provides will be 
of use to anyone interested in copyright.  The file 
asmp-copyright-guide is an ASCII version of this document.  A TeX 
version is also available, in asmp-copyright-TeX.tar.z.


There are several newsgroups that from time to time discuss 
copyright issues.

misc.int-property: Discussions of intellectual property; 
copyright, patent, trademark and trade secrecy, and their 

misc.legal.computing: Legal issues related to computers.  
Copyright and patent issues predominate.

misc.legal: the main newsgroup covering legal issues, including 
copyright law.

comp.patents: Moderated newsgroup discussing issues related to 
computers and patents, including software patents.  The newsgroup 
is moderated by patents-request@cs.su.oz.au (Peter Treloar).  
Please note that the focus of this group is more on patent law 
than copyright law.

comp.software.licensing: Trends, practices, and techniques in 
software licensing.

gnu.misc.discuss: Discussions in this group frequently include 
issues of software patents, copyright, and "copyleft."

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