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RE: filmscanners: OT: Copyright Registration

On Mon, 23 Jul 2001, LAURIE SOLOMON wrote:

> There was one sentence that had me wondering: "So, for example, if you're an
> Australian trying to assert a copyright against an infringer in the UK, you
> go by UK rules; a US registration will probably not help you, unless the UK
> has some odd departure from the usual system."  If you were an Australian
> bringing an infringement action in the UK, how does a US registration enter
> into the example at all except under some strange circumstance.  

That's my point; it doesn't at all.  Someone earlier had suggested that a
US copyright registration would assist in the enforcement in other
countries.  As far as I'maware, it does not.  Now, there's nothing that
would prevent any country from setting up its system to take the
registrations of other countries into account, but as far as I know, no
country does any such thing.

> A technical point of qualification with respect to your statement: "The
> other thing is that you are ordinarily required to register your copyright
> prior to bringing suit.  That's right; while it is true that you get a
> copyright automatically by creating a work, you're not able to
> enforce it until you register."  This is only true with respect to bringing
> legal action under the federal copyright act; you do not need to register
> the copyright in order to bring legal action in the state courts under state
> laws for theft of services or property, appropriation of goods and/or
> services, or some other non-copyright type of legal provision in a state
> law.

Yes, but you should be aware that all state laws that amount to state
copyright laws are preempted by federal law; and you'll have to actually
find some basis other than mere copying to get any sort of action under
state law.

For example, if someone physically steals one of your photographic prints,
you will have a cause of action in state court for the minor value of the
physical object; but you can't get any remedy for his making copies.  
That is exclusively federal.

Terry Carroll       |  "Denied."
Santa Clara, CA     |      Baltimore Ravens v. Bouchat, no. 00-1494,
carroll@tjc.com     |      (U.S. Supreme Court, May 21, 2001)
Modell delendus est |      


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