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  • Jul 16th, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    (untitled comment)

    Why would you consider something hinging on First Amendment rights to be the weakest argument? Anonymity and freedom of association are necessary to the political process in a representative democracy. See Supreme Court McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission,1995 and NAACP v. Alabama, 1958. Without these First Amendment rights you have no way to effectively seek redress for violations of the Fourth, Fifth and Ninth amendments.

  • Oct 19th, 2012 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Limitations on copyright to 3D objects

    Arrgh, House Report No. 94-1476, The legislative history for the Copyright Act of 1976.

    Look to pages 54-55:

    Correspondingly, the definition of “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” carries with it no implied criterion of artistic taste, aesthetic value, or intrinsic quality. The term is intended to comprise not only “works of art” in the traditional sense but also works of graphic art and illustration, art reproductions, plans and drawings, photographs and reproductions of them, maps, charts, globes, and other cartographic works, works of these kinds intended for use in advertising and commerce, and works of “applied art.” There is no intention whatever to narrow the scope of the subject matter now characterized in section 5(k) as “prints or labels used for articles of merchandise.” However, since this terminology suggests the material object in which a work is embodied rather than the work itself, the bill does not mention this category separately.

    In accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201 (1954), works of “applied art” encompass all original pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works that are intended to be or have been embodied in useful articles, regardless of factors such as mass production, commercial exploitation, and the potential availability of design patent protection. The scope of exclusive rights in these works is given special treatment in section 113, to be discussed below.

    The Committee has added language to the definition of “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” in an effort to make clearer the distinction between works of applied art protectable under the bill and industrial designs not subject to copyright protection. The declaration that “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” include “works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned” is classic language: it is drawn from Copyright Office regulations promulgated in the 1940’s and expressly endorsed by the Supreme Court in the Mazer case.

    The second part of the amendment states that “the design of a useful article … shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.” A “useful article” is defined as “an article having an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information.” This part of the amendment is an adaptation of language added to the Copyright Office Regulations in the mid-1950’s in an effort to implement the Supreme Court’s decision in the Mazer case.

    In adopting this amendatory language, the Committee is seeking to draw as clear a line as possible between copyrightable works of applied art and uncopyrighted works of industrial design. A two-dimensional painting, drawing, or graphic work is still capable of being identified as such when it is printed on or applied to utilitarian articles such as textile fabrics, wallpaper, containers, and the like. The same is true when a statue or carving is used to embellish an industrial product or, in the Mazer case, is incorporated into a product without losing its ability to exist independently as a work of art. On the other hand, although the shape of an industrial product may be aesthetically satisfying and valuable, the Committee’s intention is not to offer it copyright protection under the bill. Unless the shape of an automobile, airplane, ladies’ dress, food processor, television set, or any other industrial product contains some element that, physically or conceptually, can be identified as separable from the utilitarian aspects of that article, the design would not be copyrighted under the bill. The test of separability and independence from “the utilitarian aspects of the article” does not depend upon the nature of the design—that is, even if the appearance of an article is determined by esthetic (as opposed to functional) considerations, only elements, if any, which can be identified separately from the useful article as such are copyrightable. And, even if the three-dimensional design contains some such element (for example, a carving on the back of a chair or a floral relief design on silver flatware), copyright protection would extend only to that element, and would not cover the over-all configuration of the utilitarian article as such.

    The Supreme Court case Mazer v. Stein - 347 U.S. 201 (1954) makes the utiltarian/ornamentation distinction determining ornamental aspects of utilitarian objects are copyrightable, in the particular case lamp base sculpture art. Copyright doesn't extend to the utilitarian aspects (an electric lamp).

  • Oct 19th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

    Limitations on copyright to 3D objects

    17 USC §101

    “Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” include two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models, and technical drawings, including architectural plans. Such works shall include works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned; the design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.

    § 113

    a) Subject to the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section, the exclusive right to reproduce a copyrighted pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work in copies under section 106 includes the right to reproduce the work in or on any kind of article, whether useful or otherwise.

    (b) This title does not afford, to the owner of copyright in a work that portrays a useful article as such, any greater or lesser rights with respect to the making, distribution, or display of the useful article so portrayed than those afforded to such works under the law, whether title 17 or the common law or statutes of a State, in effect on December 31, 1977, as held applicable and construed by a court in an action brought under this title.

    A replacement part is a useful article and the extent of copyright is limited to features separate and existing independently of the use of the article. You can't make exact copies unless the utilitarian (fitness for some purpose or worth to some end) nature doesn't allow otherwise.

    From House Report 94-1796

    The broad language of section 106(1) and ofsubsection (a) ofsection 113 raises questions as to the extent of copyright protection for a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work that portrays, depicts, or represents an image of a useful article in such a way that the utilitarian nature of the article can be seen. To take the example usually cited, would copyright in a drawing or model of an automobile give the artist the exclusive right to make automobiles of the same design?

    The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights stated, on the basis of judicial precedent, that “copyright in a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, portraying a useful article as such, does not extend to the manufacture of the useful article itself,” and recommended specifically that “the distinctions drawn in this area by existing court decisions” not be altered by the statute. The Register’s Supplementary Report, at page 48, cited a number of these decisions, and explained the insuperable difficulty of finding “any statutory formulation that would express the distinction satisfactorily.” Section 113 (b) reflects the Register’s conclusion that “the real need is to make clear that there is no intention to change the present law with respect to the scope of protection in a work portraying a useful article as such.”

    You could imagine that replacement parts fall within utilitarian constraints by and large.

  • Sep 20th, 2012 @ 6:16pm

    Re: Rights in distinct markets

    17 USC § 106:

    Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:


    3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

    The copyright holder is granted a monopoly, they can distribute however they wish.

    The issue is that the limitations on § 106(3) aren't in force for foreign sold goods:

    17 USC § 109:

    (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 (3), the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.

    If we look at House Report 94-1476 on § 109 (a) we find:

    To come within the scope of section 109 (a), a copy or phonorecord must have been “lawfully made under this title,” though not necessarily with the copyright owner’s authorization. For example, any resale of an illegally “pirated” phonorecord would be an infringement, but the disposition of a phonorecord legally made under the compulsory licensing provisions of section 115 would not.

    Which tells us the language was selected to make it possible to sell a copy produced based on a limitation to § 106. A Congressional cure might be to amend "the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title" to "the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title or by authority of the copyright owner".

    The idea being the prevention of expanding the copyright owner's rights for foreign sales to exclude first sales exemption

  • Apr 12th, 2012 @ 3:16pm

    Fair Use Right Not Affected

    17 USC 1201

    (c) Other Rights, Etc., Not Affected.—

    (1) Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title.

    Title 17 includes § 107 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use. It would appear fair use is not affected by the DMCA. Now the question for your lawyer would be is what you are doing fair use?

  • Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:45pm

    They ain't seen nothing yet.

    I woke up this morning thinking about using AirDrop for dead drops as a plot mechanism for an espionage story.

    Let's face it new technology will make a great excuse for FBI guys to hang out around coffee shops.