United States Code/Title 17/Chapter 1/Section 117

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United States Code
by the United States Government
Title 17, Chapter 1, § 117. Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer programs
From the U.S. Copyright Office.: Version added by Public Law 96-517, as amended by Public Law 105-304.
§ 117—Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer programs

(a) Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of Copy.—[edit]

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:

(1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner, or
(2) that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of the computer program should cease to be rightful.

(b) Lease, Sale, or Other Transfer of Additional Copy or Adaptation.—[edit]

Any exact copies prepared in accordance with the provisions of this section may be leased, sold, or otherwise transferred, along with the copy from which such copies were prepared, only as part of the lease, sale, or other transfer of all rights in the program. Adaptations so prepared may be transferred only with the authorization of the copyright owner.

(c) Machine Maintenance or Repair.—[edit]

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner or lessee of a machine to make or authorize the making of a copy of a computer program if such copy is made solely by virtue of the activation of a machine that lawfully contains an authorized copy of the computer program, for purposes only of maintenance or repair of that machine, if—

(1) such new copy is used in no other manner and is destroyed immediately after the maintenance or repair is completed; and
(2) with respect to any computer program or part thereof that is not necessary for that machine to be activated, such program or part thereof is not accessed or used other than to make such new copy by virtue of the activation of the machine.

(d) Definitions.—[edit]

For purposes of this section—

(1) the "maintenance" of a machine is the servicing of the machine in order to make it work in accordance with its original specifications and any changes to those specifications authorized for that machine; and
(2) the "repair" of a machine is the restoring of the machine to the state of working in accordance with its original specifications and any changes to those specifications authorized for that machine.

Amendment history[edit]

Section 117 was added by § 101 of title I of the Copyright Act of 1976 (Pub. L. No. 94-553, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2541), with effect from January 1, 1978.

Public Law No. 96-517[edit]

Pub. L. 96–517, § 10(b), Dec. 12, 1980, (94 Stat. 2015);

  • substituted provision (94 Stat. 3028) respecting limitations on exclusive rights in connection with computer programs for prior provision enunciating scope of exclusive rights and use of the work in conjunction with computers and similar information systems and declaring owner of copyright in a work without any greater or lesser rights with respect to the use of the work in conjunction with automatic systems capable of storing, processing, retrieving, or transferring information, or in conjunction with any similar device, machine, or process, than those afforded to works under the law, whether this title or the common law or statutes of a State, in effect on Dec. 31, 1977, as held applicable and construed by the court in an action brought under this title.

Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act[edit]

Pub. L. No. 105-304, title III, § 302, Oct. 28, 1998, 112 Stat. 2887;

  • Added headings for subsections (a) and (b).
  • Added subsections (c) and (d).