May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

Skip To Content

MIPTC Author:

Bookstore:


Listed in Latino Who's Who, June 2014
 Attorney
Categories [more]
General (1982)
Lawyer 2 Lawyer (283)
Latest Blogs
This Month's Posts [more]
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
Links of Interest [more]
Locations of visitors to this page

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


Quote of the Day - A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. - Oscar Wilde
Adjust font size: A A+ A++
Claim Your Profile on Avvo

Fourth Circuit Denies Copyright To Non-unique Website

When you view a colored map of the United States on a website and then click on a particular state to find the subject matter available in that website, do you believe you're using copyrightable materials?  The United States Copyright Office doesn't think so, and neither does the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

You can get a first-hand look and make the evaluation yourself by clicking on this link to appraisers.com, which was the subject of the declined copyright application and subsequent court case

But in case you're looking for the standard on how to determine whether a technical drawing is copyrightable, here it is:  "[i]n order to be copyrightable, a work of the visual arts must contain a minimum amount of pictorial, graphic, or sculptural authorship" and "[c]opyright does not protect familiar shapes, symbols, and designs . . . [or] mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, fonts, or coloring," as quoted by the Court in its opinion.

In other words, to be copyrighted, it has to be unique.  A map of the United States isn't that unique, and therefore doesn't qualify.

Try telling that to the National Geographic cartography division.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, June 04, 2007 at 18:15 Comments Closed (0) |
 
Share Link