2011 US Code
Title 17 - Copyrights
Chapter 1 - SUBJECT MATTER AND SCOPE OF COPYRIGHT (§§ 101 - 122)
Section 117 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer programs
|Publication Title||United States Code, 2006 Edition, Supplement 5, Title 17 - COPYRIGHTS|
|Category||Bills and Statutes|
|Collection||United States Code|
|SuDoc Class Number||Y 1.2/5:|
|Contained Within||Title 17 - COPYRIGHTS |
CHAPTER 1 - SUBJECT MATTER AND SCOPE OF COPYRIGHT
Sec. 117 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer programs
|Laws in Effect as of Date||January 3, 2012|
|Source Credit||Pub. L. 94-553, title I, §101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2565; Pub. L. 96-517, §10(b), Dec. 12, 1980, 94 Stat. 3028; Pub. L. 105-304, title III, §302, Oct. 28, 1998, 112 Stat. 2887.|
|Statutes at Large References||90 Stat. 2565 |
94 Stat. 3028
112 Stat. 2887
|Public Law References||Public Law 94-553, Public Law 96-517, Public Law 105-304|
(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.
(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.
(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.
(Pub. L. 94–553, title I, §101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2565; Pub. L. 96–517, §10(b), Dec. 12, 1980, 94 Stat. 3028; Pub. L. 105–304, title III, §302, Oct. 28, 1998, 112 Stat. 2887.)Historical and Revision Notes house report no. 94–1476
As the program for general revision of the copyright law has evolved, it has become increasingly apparent that in one major area the problems are not sufficiently developed for a definitive legislative solution. This is the area of computer uses of copyrighted works: the use of a work “in conjunction with automatic systems capable of storing, processing, retrieving, or transferring information.” The Commission on New Technological Uses is, among other things, now engaged in making a thorough study of the emerging patterns in this field and it will, on the basis of its findings, recommend definitive copyright provisions to deal with the situation.
Since it would be premature to change existing law on computer uses at present, the purpose of section 117 is to preserve the status quo. It is intended neither to cut off any rights that may now exist, nor to create new rights that might be denied under the Act of 1909 or under common law principles currently applicable.
The provision deals only with the exclusive rights of a copyright owner with respect to computer uses, that is, the bundle of rights specified for other types of uses in section 106 and qualified in sections 107 through 116 and 118. With respect to the copyright-ability of computer programs, the ownership of copyrights in them, the term of protection, and the formal requirements of the remainder of the bill, the new statute would apply.
Under section 117, an action for infringement of a copyrighted work by means of a computer would necessarily be a federal action brought under the new title 17. The court, in deciding the scope of exclusive rights in the computer area, would first need to determine the applicable law, whether State statutory or common law or the Act of 1909. Having determined what law was applicable, its decision would depend upon its interpretation of what that law was on the point on the day before the effective date of the new statute.Amendments
1998—Pub. L. 105–304 designated existing provisions as subsecs. (a) and (b), inserted headings, and added subsecs. (c) and (d).
1980—Pub. L. 96–517 substituted provision 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.
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