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US Copyright Act - fixed by any method

Question:  What the the US Copyright act mean when it talks about "copies" of copyrighted material that are "fixed by any known method now known"?

Note:  We are not lawyers, and this page is not legal advice.  For legal advice, consult a qualified attorney, not this web page.


Under the Act, "copies" are defined as:

material objects . . . in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

17 U.S.C. 101.  And the Act further explains what is meant by "fixed":

A work is "fixed in a tangible medium of expression when its embodiment in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration.

17 U.S.C. § 101.  

            At least one Circuit Court has held that a copier (Google, Inc.) is not liable for reproducing cached thumbnail images of an author’s copyrighted work, which are available via a link to the author’s original publication.  Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 508 F.3d 1146, 1161-62 (9th Cir. 2007). 

On the contrary, however, if the copier “collects” and makes available a full-sized version of the original work, as opposed to linking to a cached search result, that could, potentially make the copier liable for copyright infringement.  See id. (citing Hotaling v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 118 F.3d 199 (4th Cir. 1997)).

Note:  We are not lawyers, and this page is not legal advice.  For legal advice, consult a qualified attorney, not this web page.

 

 

   

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