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02E copyright notice legibility
Circular 3 “Copyright Notice”
“The notice should be permanently legible to an ordinary user of the work under normal conditions of use and should not be concealed from view upon reasonable examination.” (Information Circular 3)
Publicity Guide for Funeral Directors, Funeral Series B, copyrighted November 13, 1924, has several hundred pages of ad cuts for undertakers to advertise their businesses. “No one would discover the [trade] marks or [copyright] symbols without the closest scrutiny and with the use of a magnifying glass.” The copyright notice was declared invalid.
Videotronics’s “Keno Keypad” game was infringed, as was its “Joker Poker,” which Bend infringed as “Triple Up Poker.” “Joker Poker” was programmed to display a random appearance of its copyright notice. Both games had a copyright notice where the “c” was inside a hexagon rather than a circle. The “c” inside the hexagon was determined to be an acceptable copyright symbol but the notice appearing “randomly and infrequently” was deemed as not a compliance with the law.
Cases Summarized in Other Sections
|Angelo R. Puddu and Puddu & Martinelli, Inc. vs Buonamici Statuary, Inc. (launch this) discusses a copyright notice so small it cannot be read.|
The Compendium of Copyright Office Practices is an internal document used by the Copyright Office to guide Office employees in their work. The 1970 edition states:
“[A] notice so microscopic that it cannot be read without a magnifying glass is not acceptable.
“Where the work itself requires magnification for its ordinary use (e.g., a microfilm, microcard, or motion picture film), a notice which will be readable when so magnified may be accepted.” (pg. 4-41, as 4.4.2, II)
The 1984 edition states:
“1015 Legibility of copyright notice. A blurred notice will be acceptable if it is legible. But a notice so badly blurred as to be illegible will be treated as an omission of notice. See 17 U.S.C. 405 and section 1008 of this chapter.
“1016 Microscopic copyright notice. In general, a notice so small that it cannot be read without a magnifying glass is considered unacceptable, and the claim will be treated as if publication of the work had occurred without notice. See 17 U.S.C. 405 and section 1008 of this chapter. Where, however, the work itself requires magnification for its ordinary use, e.g., a microfilm, microcard, or motion picture film, a notice that is readable when so magnified is acceptable.
“1017 Concealed copyright notice. A notice which is permanently covered up so that it cannot be seen without tearing the work apart is considered unacceptable, and the claim will be treated as if publication of the work had occurred without notice. See 17 U.S.C. 405 and section 1008 of this chapter.
“1) A notice which the Copyright Office is told is on the margin or back of a painting but which is concealed under a permanent frame or mat.
“2) A notice which the Copyright Office is told is on the bottom of a figuring cemented on a base that conceals the notice.
“3) A notice on a print used for a calendar, with the calendar pad securely pasted down over the notice. […]
“1018 Copyright notice: reverses. Where the deposited work, such as a mold or decal, is the reverse of the product that is intended to result from its use, the notice is acceptable even though printed in reverse.
“1019 Notice of renewal copyright. The copyright law does not provide for a special or additional copyright notice for published works that are in their renewal term. Thus, the continued use of the original form of notice on the publicly distributed copies of published works in their renewal term is considered sufficient to maintain the validity […]” (pg. 1000-25 to 1000-26)
The Copyright Registration and Renewal Information Chart and Web Site
© 2007 David P. Hayes