United States Code/Title 17/Chapter 3/Section 301

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United States Code
by the United States Government
Title 17, Chapter 3, § 301. Preemption with respect to other laws
From the U.S. Copyright Office.: Added by section 101 of title I of the Copyright Act of 1976 (Pub. L. 94-553, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2541), with effect from January 1, 1978, as amended by Public Laws 100-568, 101-650 and 105-298.
§ 301—Preemption with respect to other laws

(a) On and after January 1, 1978, all legal or equitable rights that are equivalent to any of the exclusive rights within the general scope of copyright as specified by section 106 in works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression and come within the subject matter of copyright as specified by sections 102 and 103, whether created before or after that date and whether published or unpublished, are governed exclusively by this title. Thereafter, no person is entitled to any such right or equivalent right in any such work under the common law or statutes of any State.

(b) Nothing in this title annuls or limits any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any State with respect to—

(1) subject matter that does not come within the subject matter of copyright as specified by sections 102 and 103, including works of authorship not fixed in any tangible medium of expression; or
(2) any cause of action arising from undertakings commenced before January 1, 1978;
(3) activities violating legal or equitable rights that are not equivalent to any of the exclusive rights within the general scope of copyright as specified by section 106; or
(4) State and local landmarks, historic preservation, zoning, or building codes, relating to architectural works protected under section 102(a)(8).

(c) With respect to sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any State shall not be annulled or limited by this title until February 15, 2067. The preemptive provisions of subsection (a) shall apply to any such rights and remedies pertaining to any cause of action arising from undertakings commenced on and after February 15, 2067. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 303, no sound recording fixed before February 15, 1972, shall be subject to copyright under this title before, on, or after February 15, 2067.

(d) Nothing in this title annuls or limits any rights or remedies under any other Federal statute.[PrivL]

(e) The scope of Federal preemption under this section is not affected by the adherence of the United States to the Berne Convention or the satisfaction of obligations of the United States thereunder.

(f)(1) On or after the effective date set forth in section 610(a) of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, all legal or equitable rights that are equivalent to any of the rights conferred by section 106A with respect to works of visual art to which the rights conferred by section 106A apply are governed exclusively by section 106A and section 113(d) and the provisions of this title relating to such sections. Thereafter, no person is entitled to any such right or equivalent right in any work of visual art under the common law or statutes of any State.

(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) annuls or limits any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any State with respect to—
(A) any cause of action from undertakings commenced before the effective date set forth in section 610(a) of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990;
(B) activities violating legal or equitable rights that are not equivalent to any of the rights conferred by section 106A with respect to works of visual art; or
(C) activities violating legal or equitable rights which extend beyond the life of the author.

Note[edit]

  1. ^  Priv. L. 92-60, 85 Stat. 857, effective December 15, 1971, granted a copyright in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" to the trustees under the will of its author, Mary Baker Eddy. This copyright was to last for seventy-five years from the date of the Act or from the date of first publication (whichever was the longer). However, this Act has been held to be unconsitutional: United Christian Scientists v. Christian Science Board of Directors, First Church of Christ, Scientist, 829 F.2d 1152, 4 USPQ2d 1177 (D.C. Cir. 1987)

Amendment history[edit]

Section 301 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.

Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988[edit]

Pub. L. 100-568, Oct. 31, 1988, 102 Stat. 2853

  • Added subsection (e).

Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990[edit]

Pub. L. 101-650, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5089

  • Added subsection (f), with effect from June 1, 1991.

Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act[edit]

Pub. L. 101-650, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5089

  • Added paragraph (b)(4).

Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act[edit]

Pub. L. 105-298, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2827

  • Substituted "February 15, 2067" for "February 15, 2047" throughout.