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Copyright X- IViR (Simone)
  • 1 Week 1

    • 1.1 Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service (1991)

      1

      499 U.S. 340 (1991)

      2
      Feist Publications, Inc.
      v.
      Rural Telephone Service Co., Inc.
      3

      No. 89-1909

      4

      Supreme Court of the United States

      5

      Argued January 9, 1991

      6

      Decided March 27, 1991

      7

      CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT

      8

      Kyler Knobbe argued the cause and filed briefs for petitioner.

      9

      James M. Caplinger, Jr., argued the cause and filed a brief for respondent.[1]

      10

      JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court.

      11

      This case requires us to clarify the extent of copyright protection available to telephone directory white pages.

      12
      I
      13

      Rural Telephone Service Company, Inc., is a certified public utility that provides telephone service to several communities in northwest Kansas. It is subject to a state regulation that requires all telephone companies operating in Kansas to issue annually an updated telephone directory. Accordingly, as a condition of its monopoly franchise, Rural publishes a typical telephone directory, consisting of white pages and yellow pages. The white pages list in alphabetical order the names of Rural's subscribers, together with their towns and telephone numbers. The yellow pages list Rural's business subscribers alphabetically by category and feature classified advertisements of various sizes. Rural distributes its directory free of charge to its subscribers, but earns revenue by selling yellow pages advertisements.

      14

      Feist Publications, Inc., is a publishing company that specializes in area-wide telephone directories. Unlike a typical directory, which covers only a particular calling area, Feist's area-wide directories cover a much larger geographical range, reducing the need to call directory assistance or consult multiple directories. The Feist directory that is the subject of this litigation covers 11 different telephone service areas in 15 counties and contains 46,878 white pages listings—compared to Rural's approximately 7,700 listings. Like Rural's directory, Feist's is distributed free of charge and includes both white pages and yellow pages. Feist and Rural compete vigorously for yellow pages advertising.

      15

      As the sole provider of telephone service in its service area, Rural obtains subscriber information quite easily. Persons desiring telephone service must apply to Rural and provide their names and addresses; Rural then assigns them a telephone number. Feist is not a telephone company, let alone one with monopoly status, and therefore lacks independent access to any subscriber information. To obtain white pages listings for its area-wide directory, Feist approached each of the 11 telephone companies operating in northwest Kansas and offered to pay for the right to use its white pages listings.

      16

      Of the 11 telephone companies, only Rural refused to license its listings to Feist. Rural's refusal created a problem for Feist, as omitting these listings would have left a gaping hole in its area-wide directory, rendering it less attractive to potential yellow pages advertisers. In a decision subsequent to that which we review here, the District Court determined that this was precisely the reason Rural refused to license its listings. The refusal was motivated by an unlawful purpose "to extend its monopoly in telephone service to a monopoly in yellow pages advertising." Rural Telephone Service Co. v. Feist Publications, Inc., 737 F. Supp. 610, 622 (Kan. 1990).

      17

      Unable to license Rural's white pages listings, Feist used them without Rural's consent. Feist began by removing several thousand listings that fell outside the geographic range of its area-wide directory, then hired personnel to investigate the 4,935 that remained. These employees verified the data reported by Rural and sought to obtain additional information. As a result, a typical Feist listing includes the individual's street address; most of Rural's listings do not. Notwithstanding these additions, however, 1,309 of the 46,878 listings in Feist's 1983 directory were identical to listings in Rural's 1982-1983 white pages. App. 54 (¶ 15-16), 57. Four of these were fictitious listings that Rural had inserted into its directory to detect copying.

      18

      Rural sued for copyright infringement in the District Court for the District of Kansas taking the position that Feist, in compiling its own directory, could not use the information contained in Rural's white pages. Rural asserted that Feist's employees were obliged to travel door-to-door or conduct a telephone survey to discover the same information for themselves. Feist responded that such efforts were economically impractical and, in any event, unnecessary because the information copied was beyond the scope of copyright protection. The District Court granted summary judgment to Rural, explaining that "[c]ourts have consistently held that telephone directories are copyrightable" and citing a string of lower court decisions. 663 F. Supp. 214, 218 (1987). In an unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed "for substantially the reasons given by the district court." App. to Pet. for Cert. 4a, judgt. order reported at 916 F. 2d 718 (1990). We granted certiorari, 498 U. S. 808 (1990), to determine whether the copyright in Rural's directory protects the names, towns, and telephone numbers copied by Feist.

      19
      II
      20
      A
      21

      This case concerns the interaction of two well-established propositions. The first is that facts are not copyrightable; the other, that compilations of facts generally are. Each of these propositions possesses an impeccable pedigree. That there can be no valid copyright in facts is universally understood. The most fundamental axiom of copyright law is that "[n]o author may copyright his ideas or the facts he narrates." Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U. S. 539, 556 (1985). Rural wisely concedes this point, noting in its brief that "[f]acts and discoveries, of course, are not themselves subject to copyright protection." Brief for Respondent 24. At the same time, however, it is beyond dispute that compilations of facts are within the subject matter of copyright. Compilations were expressly mentioned in the Copyright Act of 1909, and again in the Copyright Act of 1976.

      22

      There is an undeniable tension between these two propositions. Many compilations consist of nothing but raw data— i. e., wholly factual information not accompanied by any original written expression. On what basis may one claim a copyright in such a work? Common sense tells us that 100 uncopyrightable facts do not magically change their status when gathered together in one place. Yet copyright law seems to contemplate that compilations that consist exclusively of facts are potentially within its scope.

      23

      The key to resolving the tension lies in understanding why facts are not copyrightable. The sine qua non of copyright is originality. To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be original to the author. See Harper & Row, supra, at 547-549. Original, as the term is used in copyright, means only that the work was independently created by the author (as opposed to copied from other works), and that it possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity. 1 M. Nimmer & D. Nimmer, Copyright §§ 2.01[A], [B] (1990) (hereinafter Nimmer). To be sure, the requisite level of creativity is extremely low; even a slight amount will suffice. The vast majority of works make the grade quite easily, as they possess some creative spark, "no matter how crude, humble or obvious" it might be. Id., § 1.08[C][1]. Originality does not signify novelty; a work may be original even though it closely resembles other works so long as the similarity is fortuitous, not the result of copying. To illustrate, assume that two poets, each ignorant of the other, compose identical poems. Neither work is novel, yet both are original and, hence, copyrightable. See Sheldon v. Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corp., 81 F. 2d 49, 54 (CA2 1936).

      24

      Originality is a constitutional requirement. The source of Congress' power to enact copyright laws is Article I, § 8, cl. 8, of the Constitution, which authorizes Congress to "secur[e] for limited Times to Authors . . . the exclusive Right to their respective Writings." In two decisions from the late 19th century—The Trade-Mark Cases, 100 U. S. 82 (1879); and Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U. S. 53 (1884)—this Court defined the crucial terms "authors" and "writings." In so doing, the Court made it unmistakably clear that these terms presuppose a degree of originality.

      25

      In The Trade-Mark Cases, the Court addressed the constitutional scope of "writings." For a particular work to be classified "under the head of writings of authors," the Court determined, "originality is required." 100 U. S., at 94. The Court explained that originality requires independent creation plus a modicum of creativity: "[W]hile the word writings may be liberally construed, as it has been, to include original designs for engraving, prints, &c., it is only such as are original, and are founded in the creative powers of the mind. The writings which are to be protected are the fruits of intellectual labor, embodied in the form of books, prints, engravings, and the like." Ibid. (emphasis in original).

      26

      In Burrow-Giles, the Court distilled the same requirement from the Constitution's use of the word "authors." The Court defined "author," in a constitutional sense, to mean "he to whom anything owes its origin; originator; maker." 111 U. S., at 58 (internal quotation marks omitted). As in The Trade-Mark Cases, the Court emphasized the creative component of originality. It described copyright as being limited to "original intellectual conceptions of the author," 111 U. S., at 58, and stressed the importance of requiring an author who accuses another of infringement to prove "the existence of those facts of originality, of intellectual production, of thought, and conception." Id., at 59-60.

      27

      The originality requirement articulated in The Trade-Mark Cases and Burrow-Giles remains the touchstone of copyright protection today. See Goldstein v. California, 412 U. S. 546, 561-562 (1973). It is the very "premise of copyright law." Miller v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 650 F. 2d 1365, 1368 (CA5 1981). Leading scholars agree on this point. As one pair of commentators succinctly puts it: "The originality requirement is constitutionally mandated for all works." Patterson & Joyce, Monopolizing the Law: The Scope of Copyright Protection for Law Reports and Statutory Compilations, 36 UCLA L. Rev. 719, 763, n. 155 (1989) (emphasis in original) (hereinafter Patterson & Joyce). Accord, id., at 759-760, and n. 140; Nimmer § 1.06[A] ("[O]riginality is a statutory as well as a constitutional requirement"); id., § 1.08[C][1] ("[A] modicum of intellectual labor . . . clearly constitutes an essential constitutional element").

      28

      It is this bedrock principle of copyright that mandates the law's seemingly disparate treatment of facts and factual compilations. "No one may claim originality as to facts." Id., § 2.11[A], p. 2-157. This is because facts do not owe their origin to an act of authorship. The distinction is one between creation and discovery: The first person to find and report a particular fact has not created the fact; he or she has merely discovered its existence. To borrow from Burrow-Giles, one who discovers a fact is not its "maker" or "originator." 111 U. S., at 58. "The discoverer merely finds and records." Nimmer § 2.03[E]. Census takers, for example, do not "create" the population figures that emerge from their efforts; in a sense, they copy these figures from the world around them. Denicola, Copyright in Collections of Facts: A Theory for the Protection of Nonfiction Literary Works, 81 Colum. L. Rev. 516, 525 (1981) (hereinafter Denicola). Census data therefore do not trigger copyright because these data are not "original" in the constitutional sense. Nimmer § 2.03[E]. The same is true of all facts—scientific, historical, biographical, and news of the day. "[T]hey may not be copyrighted and are part of the public domain available to every person." Miller, supra, at 1369.

      29

      Factual compilations, on the other hand, may possess the requisite originality. The compilation author typically chooses which facts to include, in what order to place them, and how to arrange the collected data so that they may be used effectively by readers. These choices as to selection and arrangement, so long as they are made independently by the compiler and entail a minimal degree of creativity, are sufficiently original that Congress may protect such compilations through the copyright laws. Nimmer §§ 2.11[D], 3.03; Denicola 523, n. 38. Thus, even a directory that contains absolutely no protectible written expression, only facts, meets the constitutional minimum for copyright protection if it features an original selection or arrangement. See Harper & Row, 471 U. S., at 547. Accord, Nimmer § 3.03.

      30

      This protection is subject to an important limitation. The mere fact that a work is copyrighted does not mean that every element of the work may be protected. Originality remains the sine qua non of copyright; accordingly, copyright protection may extend only to those components of a work that are original to the author. Patterson & Joyce 800-802; Ginsburg, Creation and Commercial Value: Copyright Protection of Works of Information, 90 Colum. L. Rev. 1865, 1868, and n. 12 (1990) (hereinafter Ginsburg). Thus, if the compilation author clothes facts with an original collocation of words, he or she may be able to claim a copyright in this written expression. Others may copy the underlying facts from the publication, but not the precise words used to present them. In Harper & Row, for example, we explained that President Ford could not prevent others from copying bare historical facts from his autobiography, see 471 U. S., at 556-557, but that he could prevent others from copying his "subjective descriptions and portraits of public figures." Id., at 563. Where the compilation author adds no written expression but rather lets the facts speak for themselves, the expressive element is more elusive. The only conceivable expression is the manner in which the compiler has selected and arranged the facts. Thus, if the selection and arrangement are original, these elements of the work are eligible for copyright protection. See Patry, Copyright in Compilations of Facts (or Why the "White Pages" Are Not Copyrightable), 12 Com. & Law 37, 64 (Dec. 1990) (hereinafter Patry). No matter how original the format, however, the facts themselves do not become original through association. See Patterson & Joyce 776.

      31

      This inevitably means that the copyright in a factual compilation is thin. Notwithstanding a valid copyright, a subsequent compiler remains free to use the facts contained in another's publication to aid in preparing a competing work, so long as the competing work does not feature the same selection and arrangement. As one commentator explains it: "[N]o matter how much original authorship the work displays, the facts and ideas it exposes are free for the taking . . . . [T]he very same facts and ideas may be divorced from the context imposed by the author, and restated or reshuffled by second comers, even if the author was the first to discover the facts or to propose the ideas." Ginsburg 1868.

      32

      It may seem unfair that much of the fruit of the compiler's labor may be used by others without compensation. As Justice Brennan has correctly observed, however, this is not "some unforeseen byproduct of a statutory scheme." Harper & Row, 471 U. S., at 589 (dissenting opinion). It is, rather, "the essence of copyright," ibid., and a constitutional requirement. The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but "[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." Art. I, § 8, cl. 8. Accord, Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken, 422 U. S. 151, 156 (1975). To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work. Harper & Row, supra, at 556-557. This principle, known as the idea/expression or fact/expression dichotomy, applies to all works of authorship. As applied to a factual compilation, assuming the absence of original written expression, only the compiler's selection and arrangement may be protected; the raw facts may be copied at will. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art.

      33

      This Court has long recognized that the fact/expression dichotomy limits severely the scope of protection in fact-based works. More than a century ago, the Court observed: "The very object of publishing a book on science or the useful arts is to communicate to the world the useful knowledge which it contains. But this object would be frustrated if the knowledge could not be used without incurring the guilt of piracy of the book." Baker v. Selden, 101 U. S. 99, 103 (1880). We reiterated this point in Harper & Row:

      34

      "[N]o author may copyright facts or ideas. The copyright is limited to those aspects of the work—termed `expression'—that display the stamp of the author's originality.

      35

      "[C]opyright does not prevent subsequent users from copying from a prior author's work those constituent elements that are not original—for example . . . facts, or materials in the public domain—as long as such use does not unfairly appropriate the author's original contributions." 471 U. S., at 547-548 (citation omitted).

      36

      This, then, resolves the doctrinal tension: Copyright treats facts and factual compilations in a wholly consistent manner. Facts, whether alone or as part of a compilation, are not original and therefore may not be copyrighted. A factual compilation is eligible for copyright if it features an original selection or arrangement of facts, but the copyright is limited to the particular selection or arrangement. In no event may copyright extend to the facts themselves.

      37
      B
      38

      As we have explained, originality is a constitutionally mandated prerequisite for copyright protection. The Court's decisions announcing this rule predate the Copyright Act of 1909, but ambiguous language in the 1909 Act caused some lower courts temporarily to lose sight of this requirement.

      39

      The 1909 Act embodied the originality requirement, but not as clearly as it might have. See Nimmer § 2.01. The subject matter of copyright was set out in §§ 3 and 4 of the Act. Section 4 stated that copyright was available to "all the writings of an author." 35 Stat. 1076. By using the words "writings" and "author"—the same words used in Article I, § 8, of the Constitution and defined by the Court in The Trade-Mark Cases and Burrow-Giles—the statute necessarily incorporated the originality requirement articulated in the Court's decisions. It did so implicitly, however, thereby leaving room for error.

      40

      Section 3 was similarly ambiguous. It stated that the copyright in a work protected only "the copyrightable component parts of the work." It thus stated an important copyright principle, but failed to identify the specific characteristic—originality—that determined which component parts of a work were copyrightable and which were not.

      41

      Most courts construed the 1909 Act correctly, notwithstanding the less-than-perfect statutory language. They understood from this Court's decisions that there could be no copyright without originality. See Patterson & Joyce 760-761. As explained in the Nimmer treatise: "The 1909 Act neither defined originality, nor even expressly required that a work be `original' in order to command protection. However, the courts uniformly inferred the requirement from the fact that copyright protection may only be claimed by `authors'. . . . It was reasoned that since an author is `the . . . creator, originator' it follows that a work is not the product of an author unless the work is original." Nimmer § 2.01 (footnotes omitted) (citing cases).

      42

      But some courts misunderstood the statute. See, e. g., Leon v. Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., 91 F. 2d 484 (CA9 1937); Jeweler's Circular Publishing Co. v. Keystone Publishing Co., 281 F. 83 (CA2 1922). These courts ignored §§ 3 and 4, focusing their attention instead on § 5 of the Act. Section 5, however, was purely technical in nature: It provided that a person seeking to register a work should indicate on the application the type of work, and it listed 14 categories under which the work might fall. One of these categories was "[b]ooks, including composite and cyclopædic works, directories, gazetteers, and other compilations." § 5(a). Section 5 did not purport to say that all compilations were automatically copyrightable. Indeed, it expressly disclaimed any such function, pointing out that "the subject-matter of copyright [i]s defined in section four." Nevertheless, the fact that factual compilations were mentioned specifically in § 5 led some courts to infer erroneously that directories and the like were copyrightable per se, "without any further or precise showing of original—personal—authorship." Ginsburg 1895.

      43

      Making matters worse, these courts developed a new theory to justify the protection of factual compilations. Known alternatively as "sweat of the brow" or "industrious collection," the underlying notion was that copyright was a reward for the hard work that went into compiling facts. The classic formulation of the doctrine appeared in Jeweler's Circular Publishing Co., 281 F., at 88:

      44
      "The right to copyright a book upon which one has expended labor in its preparation does not depend upon whether the materials which he has collected consist or not of matters which are publici juris, or whether such materials show literary skill or originality, either in thought or in language, or anything more than industrious collection. The man who goes through the streets of a town and puts down the names of each of the inhabitants, with their occupations and their street number, acquires material of which he is the author" (emphasis added).
      45

      The "sweat of the brow" doctrine had numerous flaws, the most glaring being that it extended copyright protection in a compilation beyond selection and arrangement—the compiler's original contributions—to the facts themselves. Under the doctrine, the only defense to infringement was independent creation. A subsequent compiler was "not entitled to take one word of information previously published," but rather had to "independently wor[k] out the matter for himself, so as to arrive at the same result from the same common sources of information." Id., at 88-89 (internal quotation marks omitted). "Sweat of the brow" courts thereby eschewed the most fundamental axiom of copyright law—that no one may copyright facts or ideas. See Miller v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 650 F. 2d, at 1372 (criticizing "sweat of the brow" courts because "ensur[ing] that later writers obtain the facts independently . . . is precisely the scope of protection given . . . copyrighted matter, and the law is clear that facts are not entitled to such protection").

      46

      Decisions of this Court applying the 1909 Act make clear that the statute did not permit the "sweat of the brow" approach. The best example is International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U. S. 215 (1918). In that decision, the Court stated unambiguously that the 1909 Act conferred copyright protection only on those elements of a work that were original to the author. International News Service had conceded taking news reported by Associated Press and publishing it in its own newspapers. Recognizing that § 5 of the Act specifically mentioned "`periodicals, including newspapers,'" § 5(b), the Court acknowledged that news articles were copyrightable. Id., at 234. It flatly rejected, however, the notion that the copyright in an article extended to the factual information it contained: "[T]he news element— the information respecting current events contained in the literary production—is not the creation of the writer, but is a report of matters that ordinarily are publici juris; it is the history of the day." Ibid.[2]

      47

      Without a doubt, the "sweat of the brow" doctrine flouted basic copyright principles. Throughout history, copyright law has "recognize[d] a greater need to disseminate factual works than works of fiction or fantasy." Harper & Row, 471 U. S., at 563. Accord, Gorman, Fact or Fancy: The Implications for Copyright, 29 J. Copyright Soc. 560, 563 (1982). But "sweat of the brow" courts took a contrary view; they handed out proprietary interests in facts and declared that authors are absolutely precluded from saving time and effort by relying upon the facts contained in prior works. In truth, "[i]t is just such wasted effort that the proscription against the copyright of ideas and facts . . . [is] designed to prevent." Rosemont Enterprises, Inc. v. Random House, Inc., 366 F. 2d 303, 310 (CA2 1966), cert. denied, 385 U. S. 1009 (1967). "Protection for the fruits of such research . . . may in certain circumstances be available under a theory of unfair competition. But to accord copyright protection on this basis alone distorts basic copyright principles in that it creates a monopoly in public domain materials without the necessary justification of protecting and encouraging the creation of `writings' by `authors.'" Nimmer § 3.04, p. 3-23 (footnote omitted).

      48
      C
      49

      "Sweat of the brow" decisions did not escape the attention of the Copyright Office. When Congress decided to over-haul the copyright statute and asked the Copyright Office to study existing problems, see Mills Music, Inc. v. Snyder, 469 U. S. 153, 159 (1985), the Copyright Office promptly recommended that Congress clear up the confusion in the lower courts as to the basic standards of copyrightability. The Register of Copyrights explained in his first report to Congress that "originality" was a "basic requisit[e]" of copyright under the 1909 Act, but that "the absence of any reference to [originality] in the statute seems to have led to misconceptions as to what is copyrightable matter." Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U. S. Copyright Law, 87th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 9 (H. Judiciary Comm. Print 1961). The Register suggested making the originality requirement explicit. Ibid.

      50

      Congress took the Register's advice. In enacting the Copyright Act of 1976, Congress dropped the reference to "all the writings of an author" and replaced it with the phrase "original works of authorship." 17 U. S. C. § 102(a). In making explicit the originality requirement, Congress announced that it was merely clarifying existing law: "The two fundamental criteria of copyright protection [are] originality and fixation in tangible form . . . . The phrase `original works of authorship,' which is purposely left undefined, is intended to incorporate without change the standard of originality established by the courts under the present [1909] copyright statute." H. R. Rep. No. 94-1476, p. 51 (1976) (emphasis added) (hereinafter H. R. Rep.); S. Rep. No. 94-473, p. 50 (1975) (emphasis added) (hereinafter S. Rep.). This sentiment was echoed by the Copyright Office: "Our intention here is to maintain the established standards of originality. . . ." Supplementary Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of U. S. Copyright Law, 89th Cong., 1st Sess., pt. 6, p. 3 (H. Judiciary Comm. Print 1965) (emphasis added).

      51

      To ensure that the mistakes of the "sweat of the brow" courts would not be repeated, Congress took additional measures. For example, § 3 of the 1909 Act had stated that copyright protected only the "copyrightable component parts" of a work, but had not identified originality as the basis for distinguishing those component parts that were copyrightable from those that were not. The 1976 Act deleted this section and replaced it with § 102(b), which identifies specifically those elements of a work for which copyright is not available: "In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work." Section 102(b) is universally understood to prohibit any copyright in facts. Harper & Row, supra, at 547, 556. Accord, Nimmer § 2.03[E] (equating facts with "discoveries"). As with § 102(a), Congress emphasized that § 102(b) did not change the law, but merely clarified it: "Section 102(b) in no way enlarges or contracts the scope of copyright protection under the present law. Its purpose is to restate . . . that the basic dichotomy between expression and idea remains unchanged." H. R. Rep., at 57; S. Rep., at 54.

      52

      Congress took another step to minimize confusion by deleting the specific mention of "directories . . . and other compilations" in § 5 of the 1909 Act. As mentioned, this section had led some courts to conclude that directories were copyrightable per se and that every element of a directory was protected. In its place, Congress enacted two new provisions. First, to make clear that compilations were not copyrightable per se, Congress provided a definition of the term "compilation." Second, to make clear that the copyright in a compilation did not extend to the facts themselves, Congress enacted § 103.

      53

      The definition of "compilation" is found in § 101 of the 1976 Act. It defines a "compilation" in the copyright sense as "a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship" (emphasis added).

      54

      The purpose of the statutory definition is to emphasize that collections of facts are not copyrightable per se. It conveys this message through its tripartite structure, as emphasized above by the italics. The statute identifies three distinct elements and requires each to be met for a work to qualify as a copyrightable compilation: (1) the collection and assembly of pre-existing material, facts, or data; (2) the selection, coordination, or arrangement of those materials; and (3) the creation, by virtue of the particular selection, coordination, or arrangement, of an "original" work of authorship. "[T]his tripartite conjunctive structure is self-evident, and should be assumed to `accurately express the legislative purpose.'" Patry 51, quoting.

      55

      At first glance, the first requirement does not seem to tell us much. It merely describes what one normally thinks of as a compilation—a collection of pre-existing material, facts, or data. What makes it significant is that it is not the sole requirement. It is not enough for copyright purposes that an author collects and assembles facts. To satisfy the statutory definition, the work must get over two additional hurdles. In this way, the plain language indicates that not every collection of facts receives copyright protection. Otherwise, there would be a period after "data."

      56

      The third requirement is also illuminating. It emphasizes that a compilation, like any other work, is copyrightable only if it satisfies the originality requirement ("an original work of authorship"). Although § 102 states plainly that the originality requirement applies to all works, the point was emphasized with regard to compilations to ensure that courts would not repeat the mistake of the "sweat of the brow" courts by concluding that fact-based works are treated differently and measured by some other standard. As Congress explained it, the goal was to "make plain that the criteria of copyrightable subject matter stated in section 102 apply with full force to works . . . containing preexisting material." H. R. Rep., at 57; S. Rep., at 55.

      57

      The key to the statutory definition is the second requirement. It instructs courts that, in determining whether a fact-based work is an original work of authorship, they should focus on the manner in which the collected facts have been selected, coordinated, and arranged. This is a straightforward application of the originality requirement. Facts are never original, so the compilation author can claim originality, if at all, only in the way the facts are presented. To that end, the statute dictates that the principal focus should be on whether the selection, coordination, and arrangement are sufficiently original to merit protection.

      58

      Not every selection, coordination, or arrangement will pass muster. This is plain from the statute. It states that, to merit protection, the facts must be selected, coordinated, or arranged "in such a way" as to render the work as a whole original. This implies that some "ways" will trigger copyright, but that others will not. See Patry 57, and n. 76. Otherwise, the phrase "in such a way" is meaningless and Congress should have defined "compilation" simply as "a work formed by the collection and assembly of preexisting materials or data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged." That Congress did not do so is dispositive. In accordance with "the established principle that a court should give effect, if possible, to every clause and word of a statute," Moskal v. United States, 498 U. S. 103, 109-110 (1990) (internal quotation marks omitted), we conclude that the statute envisions that there will be some fact-based works in which the selection, coordination, and arrangement are not sufficiently original to trigger copyright protection.

      59

      As discussed earlier, however, the originality requirement is not particularly stringent. A compiler may settle upon a selection or arrangement that others have used; novelty is not required. Originality requires only that the author make the selection or arrangement independently (i. e., without copying that selection or arrangement from another work), and that it display some minimal level of creativity. Presumably, the vast majority of compilations will pass this test, but not all will. There remains a narrow category of works in which the creative spark is utterly lacking or so trivial as to be virtually nonexistent. See generally Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., 188 U. S. 239, 251 (1903) (referring to "the narrowest and most obvious limits"). Such works are incapable of sustaining a valid copyright. Nimmer § 2.01[B].

      60

      Even if a work qualifies as a copyrightable compilation, it receives only limited protection. This is the point of § 103 of the Act. Section 103 explains that "[t]he subject matter of copyright . . . includes compilations," § 103(a), but that copyright protects only the author's original contributions—not the facts or information conveyed:

      61
      "The copyright in a compilation . . . extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material." § 103(b).
      62

      As § 103 makes clear, copyright is not a tool by which a compilation author may keep others from using the facts or data he or she has collected. "The most important point here is one that is commonly misunderstood today: copyright. . . has no effect one way or the other on the copyright or public domain status of the preexisting material." H. R. Rep., at 57; S. Rep., at 55. The 1909 Act did not require, as "sweat of the brow" courts mistakenly assumed, that each subsequent compiler must start from scratch and is precluded from relying on research undertaken by another. See, e.g., Jeweler's Circular Publishing Co., 281 F., at 88-89. Rather, the facts contained in existing works may be freely copied because copyright protects only the elements that owe their origin to the compiler—the selection, coordination, and arrangement of facts.

      63

      In summary, the 1976 revisions to the Copyright Act leave no doubt that originality, not "sweat of the brow," is the touchstone of copyright protection in directories and other fact-based works. Nor is there any doubt that the same was true under the 1909 Act. The 1976 revisions were a direct response to the Copyright Office's concern that many lower courts had misconstrued this basic principle, and Congress emphasized repeatedly that the purpose of the revisions was to clarify, not change, existing law. The revisions explain with painstaking clarity that copyright requires originality, § 102(a); that facts are never original, § 102(b); that the copyright in a compilation does not extend to the facts it contains, § 103(b); and that a compilation is copyrightable only to the extent that it features an original selection, coordination, or arrangement, § 101.

      64

      The 1976 revisions have proven largely successful in steering courts in the right direction. A good example is Miller v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 650 F. 2d, at 1369-1370: "A copyright in a directory . . . is properly viewed as resting on the originality of the selection and arrangement of the factual material, rather than on the industriousness of the efforts to develop the information. Copyright protection does not extend to the facts themselves, and the mere use of information contained in a directory without a substantial copying of the format does not constitute infringement" (citation omitted). Additionally, the Second Circuit, which almost 70 years ago issued the classic formulation of the "sweat of the brow" doctrine in Jeweler's Circular Publishing Co., has now fully repudiated the reasoning of that decision. See, e. g., Financial Information, Inc. v. Moody's Investors Service, Inc., 808 F. 2d 204, 207 (CA2 1986), cert. denied, 484 U. S. 820 (1987); Financial Information, Inc. v. Moody's Investors Service, Inc., 751 F. 2d 501, 510 (CA2 1984) (Newman, J., concurring); Hoehling v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 618 F. 2d 972, 979 (CA2 1980). Even those scholars who believe that "industrious collection" should be rewarded seem to recognize that this is beyond the scope of existing copyright law. See Denicola 516 ("[T]he very vocabulary of copyright is ill suited to analyzing property rights in works of nonfiction"); id., at 520-521, 525; Ginsburg 1867, 1870.

      65
      III
      66

      There is no doubt that Feist took from the white pages of Rural's directory a substantial amount of factual information. At a minimum, Feist copied the names, towns, and telephone numbers of 1,309 of Rural's subscribers. Not all copying, however, is copyright infringement. To establish infringement, two elements must be proven: (1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of constituent elements of the work that are original. See Harper & Row, 471 U. S., at 548. The first element is not at issue here; Feist appears to concede that Rural's directory, considered as a whole, is subject to a valid copyright because it contains some foreword text, as well as original material in its yellow pages advertisements. See Brief for Petitioner 18; Pet. for Cert. 9.

      67

      The question is whether Rural has proved the second element. In other words, did Feist, by taking 1,309 names, towns, and telephone numbers from Rural's white pages, copy anything that was "original" to Rural? Certainly, the raw data does not satisfy the originality requirement. Rural may have been the first to discover and report the names, towns, and telephone numbers of its subscribers, but this data does not "ow[e] its origin'" to Rural. Burrow-Giles, 111 U. S., at 58. Rather, these bits of information are uncopyrightable facts; they existed before Rural reported them and would have continued to exist if Rural had never published a telephone directory. The originality requirement "rule[s] out protecting . . . names, addresses, and telephone numbers of which the plaintiff by no stretch of the imagination could be called the author." Patterson & Joyce 776.

      68

      Rural essentially concedes the point by referring to the names, towns, and telephone numbers as "preexisting material." Brief for Respondent 17. Section 103(b) states explicitly that the copyright in a compilation does not extend to "the preexisting material employed in the work."

      69

      The question that remains is whether Rural selected, coordinated, or arranged these uncopyrightable facts in an original way. As mentioned, originality is not a stringent standard; it does not require that facts be presented in an innovative or surprising way. It is equally true, however, that the selection and arrangement of facts cannot be so mechanical or routine as to require no creativity whatsoever. The standard of originality is low, but it does exist. See Patterson & Joyce 760, n. 144 ("While this requirement is sometimes characterized as modest, or a low threshold, it is not without effect") (internal quotation marks omitted; citations omitted). As this Court has explained, the Constitution mandates some minimal degree of creativity, see The Trade-Mark Cases, 100 U. S., at 94; and an author who claims infringement must prove "the existence of . . . intellectual production, of thought, and conception." Burrow-Giles, supra, at 59-60.

      70

      The selection, coordination, and arrangement of Rural's white pages do not satisfy the minimum constitutional standards for copyright protection. As mentioned at the outset, Rural's white pages are entirely typical. Persons desiring' telephone service in Rural's service area fill out an application and Rural issues them a telephone number. In preparing its white pages, Rural simply takes the data provided by its subscribers and lists it alphabetically by surname. The end product is a garden-variety white pages directory, devoid of even the slightest trace of creativity.

      71

      Rural's selection of listings could not be more obvious: It publishes the most basic information—name, town, and telephone number—about each person who applies to it for telephone service. This is "selection" of a sort, but it lacks the modicum of creativity necessary to transform mere selection into copyrightable expression. Rural expended sufficient effort to make the white pages directory useful, but insufficient creativity to make it original.

      72

      We note in passing that the selection featured in Rural's white pages may also fail the originality requirement for another reason. Feist points out that Rural did not truly "select" to publish the names and telephone numbers of its subscribers; rather, it was required to do so by the Kansas Corporation Commission as part of its monopoly franchise. See 737 F. Supp., at 612. Accordingly, one could plausibly conclude that this selection was dictated by state law, not by Rural.

      73

      Nor can Rural claim originality in its coordination and arrangement of facts. The white pages do nothing more than list Rural's subscribers in alphabetical order. This arrangement may, technically speaking, owe its origin to Rural; no one disputes that Rural undertook the task of alphabetizing the names itself. But there is nothing remotely creative about arranging names alphabetically in a white pages directory. It is an age-old practice, firmly rooted in tradition and so commonplace that it has come to be expected as a matter of course. See Brief for Information Industry Association et al. as Amici Curiae 10 (alphabetical arrangement "is universally observed in directories published by local exchange telephone companies"). It is not only unoriginal, it is practically inevitable. This time-honored tradition does not possess the minimal creative spark required by the Copyright Act and the Constitution.

      74

      We conclude that the names, towns, and telephone numbers copied by Feist were not original to Rural and therefore were not protected by the copyright in Rural's combined white and yellow pages directory. As a constitutional matter, copyright protects only those constituent elements of a work that possess more than a de minimis quantum of creativity. Rural's white pages, limited to basic subscriber information and arranged alphabetically, fall short of the mark. As a statutory matter, 17 U. S. C. § 101 does not afford protection from copying to a collection of facts that are selected, coordinated, and arranged in a way that utterly lacks originality. Given that some works must fail, we cannot imagine a more likely candidate. Indeed, were we to hold that Rural's white pages pass muster, it is hard to believe that any collection of facts could fail.

      75

      Because Rural's white pages lack the requisite originality, Feist's use of the listings cannot constitute infringement. This decision should not be construed as demeaning Rural's efforts in compiling its directory, but rather as making clear that copyright rewards originality, not effort. As this Court noted more than a century ago, "`great praise may be due to the plaintiffs for their industry and enterprise in publishing this paper, yet the law does not contemplate their being rewarded in this way.'" Baker v. Selden, 101 U. S., at 105.

      76

      The judgment of the Court of Appeals is

      77

      Reversed.

      78

      JUSTICE BLACKMUN concurs in the judgment.

      79

      [1] Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the Association of North American Directory Publishers et al. by Theodore Case Whitehouse; for the International Association of Cross Reference Directory Publishers by Richard D. Grauer and Kathleen McCree Lewis; and for the Third-Class Mail Association by Ian D. Volner.

      80

      Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for Ameritech et al. by Michael K. Kellogg, Charles Rothfeld, Douglas J. Kirk, Thomas P. Hester, and Harlan Sherwat; for the Association of American Publishers, Inc., by Robert G. Sugarman and R. Bruce Rich; for GTE Corp. by Kirk K. Van Tine, Richard M. Cahill, and Edward R. Sublett; for the National Telephone Cooperative Association by L. Marie Guillory and David Cosson; for the United States Telephone Association by Richard J. Rappaport and Keith P. Schoeneberger; and for West Publishing Co. by Vance K. Opperman and James E. Schatz.

      81

      Briefs of amici curiae were filed for Bellsouth Corp. by Anthony B. Askew, Robert E. Richards, Walter H. Alford, and Vincent L. Sgrosso; for the Direct Marketing Association, Inc., by Robert L. Sherman; for Haines and Co., Inc., by Jeremiah D. McAuliffe, Bernard A. Barken, and Eugene Gressman; and for the Information Industry Association et al. by Steven J. Metalitz and Angela Burnett.

      82

      [2] The Court ultimately rendered judgment for Associated Press on non-copyright grounds that are not relevant here. See 248 U. S., at 235, 241-242.

    • 1.2 Readings

      Readings

      • 1.2.1 17 U.S.C 102 (a)

        Lesson Specific Section – (a)

        1
        § 102. Subject matter of copyright: In general
        2

        (a) Copyright protection subsists, in accord­ance with this title, in original works of author­ship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise com­municated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

        3

        (1) literary works;

        4

        (2) musical works, including any accompany­ing words;

        5

        (3) dramatic works, including any accom­panying music;

        6

        (4) pantomimes and choreographic works;

        7

        (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

        8

        (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

        9

        (7) sound recordings; and

        10

        (8) architectural works.

        11

        (b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, il­lustrated, or embodied in such work.

        12

        (Pub. L. 94–553, title I, § 101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2544; Pub. L. 101–650, title VII, § 703, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5133.)

    • 1.3 Mannion v. Coors Brewing Co. (2005)

      1
      377 F.Supp.2d 444
      2
      Jonathan MANNION, Plaintiff,
      v.
      COORS BREWING COMPANY and Carol H. Williams Advertising, Defendants.
      3
      No. 04 Civ. 1187(LAK).
      4
      United States District Court, S.D. New York.
      5
      July 21, 2005.
      6

      [446] Mary D. Dorman, for Plaintiff.

      7

      S. Raye Mitchell, The Mitchell Law Group, PC, for Defendants.

      8
      MEMORANDUM OPINION
      9

      KAPLAN, District Judge.

      10

      The parties dispute whether a photograph used in billboard advertisements for [447] Coors Light beer infringes the plaintiff's copyright in a photograph of a basketball star. The defendants almost certainly imitated the plaintiff's photograph. The major question is whether and to what extent what was copied is protected. The case requires the Court to consider the nature of copyright protection in photographs. The matter is before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment.

      11
      Facts
      12

      Jonathan Mannion is a freelance photographer who specializes in portraits of celebrity athletes and musicians in the rap and rhythm-and-blues worlds.[1] In 1999 he was hired by SLAM, a basketball magazine, to photograph basketball star Kevin Garnett in connection with an article that the magazine planned to publish about him.[2] The article, entitled "Above the Clouds," appeared as the cover story of the December 1999 issue of the magazine.[3] It was accompanied by a number of Mannion's photographs of Garnett, including the one at issue here (the "Garnett Photograph"), which was printed on a two-page spread introducing the article.[4]

      13

      The Garnett Photograph, which is reproduced below,[5] is a three-quarter-length portrait of Garnett against a backdrop of clouds with some blue sky shining through. The view is up and across the right side of Garnett's torso, so that he appears to be towering above earth. He wears a white T-shirt, white athletic pants, a black close-fitting cap, and a large amount of platinum, gold, and diamond jewelry ("bling bling" in the vernacular), including several necklaces, a Rolex watch and bracelet on his left wrist, bracelets on his right wrist, rings on one finger of each hand, and earrings. His head is cocked, his eyes are closed, and his heavily-veined hands, nearly all of which are visible, rest over his lower abdomen, with the thumbs hooked on the waistband of the trousers. The light is from the viewer's left, so that Garnett's right shoulder is the brightest area of the photograph and his hands cast slight shadows on his trousers. As reproduced in the magazine, the photograph cuts off much of Garnett's left arm.[6]

      14

      In early 2001, defendant Carol H. Williams Advertising ("CHWA") began developing ideas for outdoor billboards that would advertise Coors Light beer to young black men in urban areas.[7] One of CHWA's "comp boards" — a "comp board" is an image created by an advertising company to convey a proposed design[8] — used a manipulated version of the Garnett Photograph and superimposed on it the words "Iced Out" ("ice" being slang for diamonds[9]) and a picture of a can of Coors Light beer (the "Iced Out Comp Board").[10] [448] CHWA obtained authorization from Mannion's representative to use the Garnett Photograph for this purpose.[11]

      15

      The Iced Out Comp Board, reproduced below, used a black-and-white, mirror image of the Garnett Photograph, but with the head cropped out on top and part of the fingers cropped out below.[12] CHWA forwarded its comp boards to, and solicited bids for the photograph for the Coors advertising from, various photographers including Mannion, who submitted a bid but did not receive the assignment.[13]

      16

      Coors and CHWA selected for a Coors billboard a photograph (the "Coors Billboard"), reproduced below, that resembles the Iced Out Comp Board.[14] The Coors Billboard depicts, in black-and-white, the torso of a muscular black man, albeit a model other than Garnett,[15] shot against a cloudy backdrop. The pose is similar to that in the Garnett Photograph, and the view also is up and across the left side of the torso. The model in the billboard photograph also wears a white T-shirt and white athletic pants. The model's jewelry is prominently depicted; it includes a necklace of platinum or gold and diamonds, a watch and two bracelets on the right wrist, and more bracelets on the left wrist. The light comes from the viewer's right, so that the left shoulder is the brightest part of the photograph, and the right arm and hand cast slight shadows on the trousers.[16]

      17

      Mannion subsequently noticed the Coors Billboard at two locations in the Los Angeles area.[17] He applied for registration of his copyright of the Garnett Photograph in 2003[18] and brought this action for infringement in February of 2004. The registration was completed in May 2004.[19] The parties each move for summary judgment.

      18
      Discussion
      19
      A. Summary Judgment Standard
      20

      Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[20] The moving party has the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact,[21] and the Court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.[22] "Where cross-motions for summary judgment are filed, a court `must evaluate each party's motion on its own merits, taking care in each instance to draw all reasonable inferences against the party whose motion is under consideration.'"[23]  [449]

      21
      B. The Elements of Copyright Infringement
      22

      "To prove infringement, a plaintiff with a valid copyright must demonstrate that: (1) the defendant has actually copied the plaintiff's work; and (2) the copying is illegal because a substantial similarity exists between the defendant's work and the protectible elements of plaintiff's."[24] "Actual copying" — which is used as a term of art to mean that "the defendant, in creating its work, used the plaintiff's material as a model, template, or even inspiration"[25] — may be shown by direct evidence, which rarely is available, or by proof of access and probative similarities (as distinguished from "substantial similarity") between the two works.[26]

      23

      Mannion concededly owns a valid copyright in the Garnett photograph.[27] Access is undisputed. There is ample evidence from which a trier of fact could find that CHWA actually copied the Garnett Photograph for the Coors Billboard. Thus, the major questions presented by these motions are whether a trier of fact could or must find substantial similarity between protected elements of the Garnett Photograph and the Coors Billboard.[28] If no reasonable trier could find such similarity, [450] the defendants' motion must be granted and the plaintiff's denied. If any reasonable trier would be obliged to find such similarity (along with actual copying), the plaintiff's motion must be granted and the defendants' denied. If a reasonable trier could, but would not be required to, find substantial similarity (and actual copying), both motions must be denied.

      24
      C. Determining the Protectible Elements of the Garnett Photograph
      25

      The first question must be: in what respects is the Garnett Photograph protectible?

      26
      1. Protectible Elements of Photographs
      27

      It is well-established that "[t]he sine qua non of copyright is originality"[29] and, accordingly, that "copyright protection may extend only to those components of a work that are original to the author."[30] "Original" in the copyright context "means only that the work was independently created by the author (as opposed to copied from other works), and that it possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity."[31]

      28

      It sometimes is said that "copyright in the photograph conveys no rights over the subject matter conveyed in the photograph."[32] But this is not always true. It of course is correct that the photographer of a building or tree or other pre-existing object has no right to prevent others from photographing the same thing.[33] That is because originality depends upon independent creation, and the photographer did not create that object. By contrast, if a photographer arranges or otherwise creates the subject that his camera captures, he may have the right to prevent others from producing works that depict that subject.[34]

      29

      Almost any photograph "may claim the necessary originality to support a copyright."[35] Indeed, ever since the Supreme Court considered an 1882 portrait by the celebrity photographer Napoleon Sarony of the 27-year-old Oscar Wilde,[36] courts have articulated lists of potential components of a photograph's originality.[37] [451] These lists, however, are somewhat unsatisfactory.

      30

      First, they do not deal with the issue, alluded to above, that the nature and extent of a photograph's protection differs depending on what makes that photograph original.

      31

      Second, courts have not always distinguished between decisions that a photographer makes in creating a photograph and the originality of the final product. Several cases, for example, have included in lists of the potential components of photographic originality "selection of film and camera,"[38] "lens and filter selection,"[39] and "the kind of camera, the kind of film, [and] the kind of lens."[40] Having considered the matter fully, however, I think this is not sufficiently precise. Decisions about film, camera, and lens, for example, often bear on whether an image is original. But the fact that a photographer made such choices does not alone make the image original. "Sweat of the brow" is not the touchstone of copyright.[41] Protection derives from the features of the work itself, not the effort that goes into it.

      32

      This point is illustrated by Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd. v. Corel Corp.,[42] in which this Court held that there was no copyright in photographic transparencies that sought to reproduce precisely paintings in the public domain. To be sure, a great deal of effort and expertise may have been poured into the production of the plaintiff's images, including decisions about camera, lens, and film. But the works were "slavish copies." They did not exhibit the originality necessary for copyright.[43]

      33

      The Court therefore will examine more closely the nature of originality in a photograph. In so doing, it draws on the helpful discussion in a leading treatise on United Kingdom copyright law,[44] which is [452] similar to our own with respect to the requirement of originality.[45]

      34

      A photograph may be original in three respects.[46] They are not mutually exclusive.

      35
      a. Rendition
      36

      First, "there may be originality which does not depend on creation of the scene or object to be photographed ... and which resides [instead] in such specialties as angle of shot, light and shade, exposure, effects achieved by means of filters, developing techniques etc."[47] I will refer to this type of originality as originality in the rendition because, to the extent a photograph is original in this way, copyright protects not what is depicted, but rather how it is depicted.[48]

      37

      It was originality in the rendition that was at issue in SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc.[49] That case concerned photographs of the defendants' mirrored picture frames that the defendants commissioned from the plaintiff. The photographs were to be used by the defendants' sales force for in-person pitches. When the defendants reproduced the photographs in their catalogues and brochures, the court found infringement: "Plaintiff cannot prevent others from photographing the same frames, or using the same lighting techniques and blue sky reflection in the mirrors. What makes plaintiff's photographs original is the totality of the precise lighting selection, angle of the camera, lens and filter selection."[50] Again, what made the photographs original was not the lens and filter selection themselves. It was the effect produced by the lens and filters selected, among other things. In any case, those effects were the basis of the originality of the works at issue in SHL Imaging.

      38

      By contrast, in Bridgeman Art Library, the goal was to reproduce exactly other works. The photographs were entirely unoriginal in the rendition, an extremely unusual circumstance. Unless a photograph replicates another work with total or near-total fidelity, it will be at least somewhat original in the rendition.

      39
      b. Timing
      40

      A photograph may be original in a second respect. "[A] person may create a worthwhile photograph by being at the right place at the right time."[51] I will [453] refer to this type of originality as originality in timing.

      41

      One case that concerned originality in timing, among other things, was Pagano v. Chas. Beseler Co.,[52] which addressed the copyrightability of a photograph of a scene in front of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and Forty-Second Street:

      42

      The question is not, as defendant suggests, whether the photograph of a public building may properly be copyrighted. Any one may take a photograph of a public building and of the surrounding scene. It undoubtedly requires originality to determine just when to take the photograph, so as to bring out the proper setting for both animate and inanimate objects.... The photographer caught the men and women in not merely lifelike, but artistic, positions, and this is especially true of the traffic policeman.... There are other features, which need not be discussed in detail, such as the motor cars waiting for the signal to proceed.[53]

      43

      A modern work strikingly original in timing might be Catch of the Day, by noted wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen, which depicts a salmon that appears to be jumping into the gaping mouth of a brown bear at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, Alaska.[54] An older example is Alfred Eisenstaedt's photograph of a sailor kissing a young woman on VJ Day in Times Square,[55] the memorability of which is attributable in significant part to the timing of its creation.

      44

      Copyright based on originality in timing is limited by the principle that copyright in a photograph ordinarily confers no rights over the subject matter. Thus, the copyright in Catch of the Day does not protect against subsequent photographs of bears feasting on salmon in the same location. Furthermore, if another photographer were sufficiently skilled and fortunate to capture a salmon at the precise moment that it appeared to enter a hungry bear's mouth — and others have tried, with varying degrees of success[56] — that photographer, even if inspired by Mangelsen, would not necessarily have infringed his work because Mangelsen's copyright does not extend to the natural world he captured.

      45

      In practice, originality in timing gives rise to the same type of protection as originality in the rendition. In each case, the image that exhibits the originality, but not the underlying subject, qualifies for copyright protection.

      46
      c. Creation of the Subject
      47

      The principle that copyright confers no right over the subject matter has an important limitation. A photograph may be original to the extent that the photographer created "the scene or subject to be photographed."[57] This type of originality, which I will refer to as originality in the creation of the subject, played an essential role in Rogers v. Koons[58] and Gross v. Seligman.[59]

      48

      [454] In Rogers, the court held that the copyright in the plaintiff's photograph Puppies, which depicted a contrived scene of the photographer's acquaintance, Jim Scanlon, and his wife on a park bench with eight puppies on their laps, protected against the defendants' attempt to replicate precisely, albeit in a three dimensional sculpture, the content of the photograph.[60] Although the Circuit noted that Puppies was original because the artist "made creative judgments concerning technical matters with his camera and the use of natural light"[61] — in other words, because it was original in the rendition — its originality in the creation of the subject was more salient.[62] The same is true of the works at issue in Gross v. Seligman, in which the Circuit held that the copyright in a photograph named Grace of Youth was infringed when the same artist created a photograph named Cherry Ripe[63] using "the same model in the identical pose, with the single exception that the young woman now wears a smile and holds a cherry stem between her teeth."[64]

      49

      * * * * * *

      50

      To conclude, the nature and extent of protection conferred by the copyright in a photograph will vary depending on the nature of its originality. Insofar as a photograph is original in the rendition or timing, copyright protects the image but does not prevent others from photographing the same object or scene. Thus, the copyright at issue in SHL Imaging does not protect against subsequent photographs of the picture frames because the originality of the plaintiffs' photographs was almost purely in the rendition of those frames, not in their creation or the timing of the scene captured. In Pagano, the timing of the capture of the scene in front of the New York Public Library and its rendition were original, but the copyright in the Pagano photograph does not protect against future attempts to capture a scene in front of the same building, just as a copyright in Catch of the Day would not protect against other photographers capturing images of salmon-eating bears.

      51

      By contrast, to the extent that a photograph is original in the creation of the subject, copyright extends also to that subject. Thus, an artist who arranges and then photographs a scene often will have the right to prevent others from duplicating that scene in a photograph or other medium.[65]

      52
      2. Originality of the Garnett Photograph
      53

      There can be no serious dispute that the Garnett Photograph is an original [455] work. The photograph does not result from slavishly copying another work and therefore is original in the rendition. Mannion's relatively unusual angle and distinctive lighting strengthen that aspect of the photograph's originality. His composition — posing man against sky — evidences originality in the creation of the subject. Furthermore, Mannion instructed Garnett to wear simple and plain clothing and as much jewelry as possible, and "to look 'chilled out.'"[66] His orchestration of the scene contributes additional originality in the creation of the subject.

      54

      Of course, there are limits to the photograph's originality and therefore to the protection conferred by the copyright in the Garnett Photograph. For example, Kevin Garnett's face, torso, and hands are not original with Mannion, and Mannion therefore may not prevent others from creating photographic portraits of Garnett. Equally obviously, the existence of a cloudy sky is not original, and Mannion therefore may not prevent others from using a cloudy sky as a backdrop.

      55

      The defendants, however, take this line of reasoning too far. They argue that it was Garnett, not Mannion, who selected the specific clothing, jewelry, and pose. In consequence, they maintain, the Garnett Photograph is not original to the extent of Garnett's clothing, jewelry, and pose.[67] They appear to be referring to originality in the creation of the subject.

      56

      There are two problems with the defendants' argument. The first is that Mannion indisputably orchestrated the scene, even if he did not plan every detail before he met Garnett, and then made the decision to capture it. The second difficulty is that the originality of the photograph extends beyond the individual clothing, jewelry, and pose viewed in isolation. It is the entire image — depicting man, sky, clothing, and jewelry in a particular arrangement — that is at issue here, not its individual components. The Second Circuit has rejected the proposition that:

      57

      in comparing designs for copyright infringement, we are required to dissect them into their separate components, and compare only those elements which are in themselves copyrightable.... [I]f we took this argument to its logical conclusion, we might have to decide that `there can be no originality in a painting because all colors of paint have been used somewhere in the past.[68]

      58
      3. The Idea / Expression Difficulty
      59

      Notwithstanding the originality of the Garnett Photograph, the defendants argue that the Coors Billboard does not infringe because the two, insofar as they are similar, share only "the generalized idea and concept of a young African American man wearing a white T-shirt and a large amount of jewelry."[69]

      60

      It is true that an axiom of copyright law is that copyright does not protect "ideas," only their expression.[70] Furthermore, when "a given idea is inseparably tied to a particular expression" so that "there is a `merger' of idea and expression," [456] courts may deny protection to the expression in order to avoid conferring a monopoly on the idea to which it inseparably is tied.[71] But the defendants' reliance on these principles is misplaced.

      61

      The "idea" (if one wants to call it that) postulated by the defendants does not even come close to accounting for all the similarities between the two works, which extend at least to angle, pose, background, composition, and lighting. It is possible to imagine any number of depictions of a black man wearing a white T-shirt and "bling bling" that look nothing like either of the photographs at issue here.

      62

      This alone is sufficient to dispose of the defendants' contention that Mannion's claims must be rejected because he seeks to protect an idea rather than its expression. But the argument reveals an analytical difficulty in the case law about which more ought to be said. One of the main cases upon which the defendants rely is Kaplan v. Stock Market Photo Agency, Inc.,[72] in which two remarkably similar photographs of a businessman's shoes and lower legs, taken from the top of a tall building looking down on a street below (the plaintiff's and defendants' photographs are reproduced below), were held to be not substantially similar as a matter of law because all of the similarities flowed only from an unprotected idea rather than from the expression of that idea.

      63

      But what is the "idea" of Kaplan's photograph? Is it (1) a businessman contemplating suicide by jumping from a building, (2) a businessman contemplating suicide by jumping from a building, seen from the vantage point of the businessman, with his shoes set against the street far below, or perhaps something more general, such as (3) a sense of desperation produced by urban professional life?

      64

      If the "idea" is (1) or, for that matter, (3), then the similarities between the two photographs flow from something much more than that idea, for it have would been possible to convey (1) (and (3)) in any number of ways that bear no obvious similarities to Kaplan's photograph. (Examples are a businessman atop a building seen from below, or the entire figure of the businessman, rather than just his shoes or pants, seen from above.) If, on the other hand, the "idea" is (2), then the two works could be said to owe much of their similarity to a shared idea.[73]

      65

      [457] To be sure, the difficulty of distinguishing between idea and expression long has been recognized. Judge Learned Hand famously observed in 1930:

      66

      Upon any work, and especially upon a play, a great number of patterns of increasing generality will fit equally well, as more and more of the incident is left out. The last may perhaps be no more than the most general statement of what the play is about, and at times might consist only of its title; but there is a point in this series of abstractions where they are no longer protected, since otherwise the playwright could prevent the use of his `ideas,' to which, apart from their expression, his property is never extended. Nobody has ever been able to fix that boundary, and nobody ever can.[74]

      67

      Three decades later, Judge Hand's views were essentially the same: "The test for infringement of a copyright is of necessity vague.... Obviously, no principle can be stated as to when an imitator has gone beyond copying the `idea,' and has borrowed its `expression.' Decisions must therefore inevitably be ad hoc."[75] Since then, the Second Circuit and other authorities repeatedly have echoed these sentiments.[76]

      68

      But there is a difference between the sort of difficulty Judge Hand identified in Nichols and Peter Pan Fabrics and the one presented by the Kaplan rationale and the defendants' argument about ideas in this case. The former difficulty is essentially one of line-drawing, and, as Judge Hand taught, is common to most cases in most areas of the law.[77] The latter difficulty, [458] however, is not simply that it is not always clear where to draw the line; it is that the line itself is meaningless because the conceptual categories it purports to delineate are ill-suited to the subject matter.

      69

      The idea/expression distinction arose in the context of literary copyright.[78] For the most part, the Supreme Court has not applied it outside that context.[79] The classic Hand formulations reviewed above also were articulated in the context of literary works. And it makes sense to speak of the idea conveyed by a literary work and to distinguish it from its expression. To take a clear example, two different authors each can describe, with very different words, the theory of special relativity. The words will be protected as expression. The theory is a set of unprotected ideas.

      70

      In the visual arts, the distinction breaks down. For one thing, it is impossible in most cases to speak of the particular "idea" captured, embodied, or conveyed by a work of art because every observer will have a different interpretation.[80] Furthermore, it is not clear that there is any real distinction between the idea in a work of art and its expression. An artist's idea, among other things, is to depict a particular subject in a particular way. As a demonstration, a number of cases from this Circuit have observed that a photographer's "conception" of his subject is copyrightable.[81] By "conception," the courts must mean originality in the rendition, timing, and creation of the subject — for that is what copyright protects in photography. But the word "conception" is a cousin of "concept," and both are akin to "idea." In other words, those elements of a photograph, or indeed, any work of visual art protected by copyright, could just as [459] easily be labeled "idea" as "expression."[82]

      71

      This Court is not the first to question the usefulness of the idea/expression terminology in the context of non-verbal media. Judge Hand pointed out in Peter Pan Fabrics that whereas "[i]n the case of verbal `works', it is well settled that ... there can be no copyright in the `ideas' disclosed but only in their `expression[,]'" "[i]n the case of designs, which are addressed to the aesthetic sensibilities of the observer, the test is, if possible, even more intangible."[83] Moreover, Judge Newman has written:

      72

      I do not deny that all of these subject matters [computer programs, wooden dolls, advertisements in a telephone directory] required courts to determine whether the first work was copyrightable and whether the second infringed protectable elements. What I question is whether courts should be making those determinations with the same modes of analysis and even the same vocabulary that was appropriate for writings.... [I]t is not just a matter of vocabulary. Words convey concepts, and if we use identical phrases from one context to resolve issues in another, we risk failing to notice that the relevant concepts are and ought to be somewhat different.[84]

      73

      He then referred to dicta from his own decision in Warner Bros. v. American Broadcasting Companies,[85] explaining: "I was saying ... [that] one cannot divide a visual work into neat layers of abstraction in precisely the same manner one could with a text."[86] The Third Circuit has made a similar point:

      74

      Troublesome, too, is the fact that the same general principles are applied in claims involving plays, novels, sculpture, maps, directories of information, musical compositions, as well as artistic paintings. Isolating the idea from the expression and determining the extent of copying required for unlawful appropriation necessarily depend to some degree on whether the subject matter is words or symbols written on paper, or paint brushed onto canvas.[87]

      75

      For all of these reasons, I think little is gained by attempting to distinguish an unprotectible "idea" from its protectible "expression" in a photograph or other work of visual art. It remains, then, to consider just what courts have been referring to [460] when they have spoken of the "idea" in a photograph.

      76

      A good example is Rogers v. Koons, in which the court observed that "[i]t is not ... the idea of a couple with eight small puppies seated on a bench that is protected, but rather Rogers' expression of this idea — as caught in the placement, in the particular light, and in the expressions of the subjects...."[88] But "a couple with eight small puppies seated on a bench" is not necessarily the idea of Puppies, which just as easily could be "people with dogs on their laps," "the bliss of owning puppies," or even a sheepishly ironic thought such as "Ha ha! This might look cute now, but boy are these puppies going to be a lot of work!"

      77

      Rather, "a couple with eight small puppies seated on a bench" is nothing more or less than what "a young African American man wearing a white T-shirt and a large amount of jewelry"[89] is: a description of the subject at a level of generality sufficient to avoid implicating copyright protection for an original photograph. Other copyright cases that have referred to the "idea" of a photograph also used "idea" to mean a general description of the subject or subject matter.[90] The Kaplan decision even used these terms interchangeably: "The subject matter of both photographs is a businessperson contemplating a leap from a tall building onto the city street below. As the photograph's central idea, rather than Kaplan's expression of the idea, this subject matter is unprotectable in and of itself."[91] Thus another photographer [461] may pose a couple with eight puppies on a bench, depict a businessman contemplating a leap from an office building onto a street, or take a picture of a black man in white athletic wear and showy jewelry. In each case, however, there would be infringement (assuming actual copying and ownership of a valid copyright) if the subject and rendition were sufficiently like those in the copyrighted work.

      78

      This discussion of course prompts the question: at what point do the similarities between two photographs become sufficiently general that there will be no infringement even though actual copying has occurred? But this question is precisely the same, although phrased in the opposite way, as one that must be addressed in all infringement cases, namely whether two works are substantially similar with respect to their protected elements. It is nonsensical to speak of one photograph being substantially similar to another in the rendition and creation of the subject but somehow not infringing because of a shared idea. Conversely, if the two photographs are not substantially similar in the rendition and creation of the subject, the distinction between idea and expression will be irrelevant because there can be no infringement. The idea/expression distinction in photography, and probably the other visual arts, thus achieves nothing beyond what other, clearer copyright principles already accomplish.

      79

      I recognize that those principles sometimes may pose a problem like that Judge Hand identified with distinguishing idea from expression in the literary context. As Judge Hand observed, however, such line-drawing difficulties appear in all areas of the law. The important thing is that the categories at issue be useful and relevant, even if their precise boundaries are sometimes difficult to delineate. In the context of photography, the idea/expression distinction is not useful or relevant.

      80
      D. Comparison of the Coors Billboard and the Garnett Photograph
      81

      The next step is to determine whether a trier of fact could or must find the Coors Billboard substantially similar to the Garnett Photograph with respect to their protected elements.

      82

      Substantial similarity ultimately is a question of fact. "The standard test for substantial similarity between two items is whether an `ordinary observer, unless he set out to detect the disparities, would be disposed to overlook them, and regard [the] aesthetic appeal as the same.'"[92] The Second Circuit sometimes has applied a "more discerning observer" test when a work contains both protectible and unprotectible elements. The test "requires the court to eliminate the unprotectible elements from its consideration and to ask whether the protectible elements, standing alone, are substantially similar."[93] The Circuit, however, is ambivalent about this test. In several cases dealing with fabric and garment designs, the Circuit has cautioned that:

      83

      [462] a court is not to dissect the works at issue into separate components and compare only the copyrightable elements.... To do so would be to take the `more discerning' test to an extreme, which would result in almost nothing being copyrightable because original works broken down into their composite parts would usually be little more than basic unprotectible elements like letters, colors and symbols.[94]

      84

      Dissecting the works into separate components and comparing only the copyrightable elements, however, appears to be exactly what the "more discerning observer" test calls for.

      85

      The Circuit indirectly spoke to this tension in the recent case of Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures, Inc. v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc.[95] There the trial court purported to use the more discerning observer test but nonetheless compared the "total-concept-and-feel" of carpet designs.[96] The Circuit observed that the more discerning observer test is "intended to emphasize that substantial similarity must exist between the defendant's allegedly infringing design and the protectible elements in the plaintiff's design."[97] In making its own comparison, the Circuit did not mention the "more discerning observer" test at all, but it did note that:

      86

      "the total-concept-and-feel locution functions as a reminder that, while the infringement analysis must begin by dissecting the copyrighted work into its component parts in order to clarify precisely what is not original, infringement analysis is not simply a matter of ascertaining similarity between components viewed in isolation.... The court, confronted with an allegedly infringing work, must analyze the two works closely to figure out in what respects, if any, they are similar, and then determine whether these similarities are due to protected aesthetic expressions original to the allegedly infringed work, or whether the similarity is to something in the original that is free for the taking."[98]

      87

      In light of these precedents, the Court concludes that it is immaterial whether the ordinary or more discerning observer test is used here because the inquiries would be identical. The cases agree that the relevant comparison is between the protectible elements in the Garnett Photograph and the Coors Billboard, but that those elements are not to be viewed in isolation.

      88

      The Garnett Photograph is protectible to the extent of its originality in the rendition and creation of the subject. Key elements of the Garnett Photograph that are in the public domain — such as Kevin Garnett's likeness — are not replicated in the Coors Billboard. Other elements arguably in the public domain — such as the existence of a cloudy sky, Garnett's pose, his white T-shirt, and his specific jewelry — may not be copyrightable in and of themselves, but their existence and arrangement in this photograph indisputably contribute to its originality. Thus the fact that the Garnett Photograph includes certain elements that would not be copyrightable in isolation does not affect the nature of the comparison. The question is whether the aesthetic appeal of the two images is the same.

      89

      The two photographs share a similar composition and angle. The lighting is similar, and both use a cloudy sky as backdrop. [463] The subjects are wearing similar clothing and similar jewelry arranged in a similar way. The defendants, in other words, appear to have recreated much of the subject that Mannion had created and then, through imitation of angle and lighting, rendered it in a similar way. The similarities here thus relate to the Garnett Photograph's originality in the rendition and the creation of the subject and therefore to its protected elements.

      90

      There of course are differences between the two works. The similarity analysis may take into account some, but not all, of these. It long has been the law that "no plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate."[99] Thus the addition of the words "Iced Out" and a can of Coors Light beer may not enter into the similarity analysis.

      91

      Other differences, however, are in the nature of changes rather than additions. One image is black and white and dark, the other is in color and bright. One is the mirror image of the other. One depicts only an unidentified man's torso, the other the top three-fourths of Kevin Garnett's body. The jewelry is not identical. One T-shirt appears to fit more tightly than the other. These changes may enter the analysis because "[i]f the points of dissimilarity not only exceed the points of similarity, but indicate that the remaining points of similarity are, within the context of plaintiff's work, of minimal importance... then no infringement results."[100]

      92

      The parties have catalogued at length and in depth the similarities and differences between these works. In the last analysis, a reasonable jury could find substantial similarity either present or absent. As in Kisch v. Ammirati & Puris Inc.,[101] which presents facts as close to this case as can be imagined, the images are such that infringement cannot be ruled out — or in — as a matter of law.

      93
      Conclusion
      94

      The defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint (docket item 18) is granted to the extent that the complaint seeks relief for violation of the plaintiff's exclusive right to prepare derivative works and otherwise denied. The plaintiff's cross motion for summary judgment is denied.

      95

      SO ORDERED.

      96

      ---------------

      97

      Notes:

      98

      [1] Mannion Decl. ¶ 1.

      99

      [2] Id. ¶ 3.

      100

      [3] See Pl.Ex. A.

      101

      [4] See id.; Def. Ex. A; Am. Cpt. Ex. B.

      102

      [5] Published opinions in copyright cases concerning graphical works do not often include reproductions of those works. Two exceptions are Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd., 71 F.3d 996, 1014-17 (2d Cir.1995) and Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures, Inc. v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc., 237 F.Supp.2d 376, 390-93 (S.D.N.Y.2002). Such reproductions are helpful in understanding the opinions, even if the images are not ideal because the West reporters print in black and white.

      103

      [6] Def. Ex. A; Pl.Ex. A; Am. Cpt. Ex. B; Mannion Decl. ¶¶ 4-5, 7-8.

      104

      [7] Cook Decl. ¶ 2.

      105

      [8] See Mannion Decl. ¶ 12; Cook Decl. ¶ 4; Fournier v. Erickson, 202 F.Supp.2d 290, 292 (S.D.N.Y.2002).

      106

      [9] See, e.g., AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY 868 (4th ed.2000).

      107

      [10] See Cook Decl. ¶¶ 3, 5; Pl.Ex. B.

      108

      [11] See Cook Decl. ¶ 5; Def. Ex. B.

      109

      The authorization was for "[u]sage in internal corporate merchandising catalog," Def. Ex. B, which Mannion concedes extended to the Iced Out Comp Board. See Pl. Opening Mem. 2; Pl. Reply Mem. 2.

      110

      [12] See Pl.Ex. B.

      111

      [13] Cook Decl. ¶ 6; Mannion Decl. ¶¶ 12, 17-19.

      112

      [14] See Def. Ex. C; Am. Cpt. Ex. C.

      113

      [15] Cook Decl. ¶ 7.

      114

      [16] See Def. Ex. C; Am. Cpt. Ex. C.

      115

      [17] Mannion Decl. ¶ 20.

      116

      [18] Am. Cpt. Ex. A.

      117

      [19] Id.

      118

      [20] FED.R.CIV.P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); White v. ABCO Eng'g Corp., 221 F.3d 293, 300 (2d Cir.2000).

      119

      [21] Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970).

      120

      [22] United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962); Hetchkop v. Woodlawn at Grassmere, Inc., 116 F.3d 28, 33 (2d Cir.1997).

      121

      [23] Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Union, Local 100 v. City of New York Dep't of Parks & Recreation, 311 F.3d 534, 543 (2d Cir.2002) (quoting Heublein, Inc. v. United States, 996 F.2d 1455, 1461 (2d Cir.1993) (internal quotation marks omitted)); accord Make the Road by Walking, Inc. v. Turner, 378 F.3d 133, 142 (2d Cir.2004).

      122

      [24] Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd., 71 F.3d 996, 1002 (2d Cir.1995) (second emphasis added) (quoting Fisher-Price, Inc. v. Well-Made Toy Mfg. Corp., 25 F.3d 119, 122-23 (2d Cir.1994)); accord Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures, Inc. v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc., 338 F.3d 127, 131 (2d Cir.2003) (citing Castle Rock Entm't, Inc. v. Carol Publ'g Group, Inc., 150 F.3d 132, 137-38 (2d Cir.1998)); Boisson v. Banian, Ltd., 273 F.3d 262, 267-68 (2d Cir.2001) (citing Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 361, 111 S.Ct. 1282, 113 L.Ed.2d 358 (1991) and Streetwise Maps, Inc. v. VanDam, Inc., 159 F.3d 739, 747 (2d Cir.1998)); Fournier v. Erickson, 202 F.Supp.2d 290, 294 (S.D.N.Y.2002).

      123

      [25] 4 NIMMER ON COPYRIGHT § 13.01[B], at 13-8 ("NIMMER").

      124

      [26] E.g., Jorgensen v. Epic/Sony Records, 351 F.3d 46, 51 (2d Cir.2003); Boisson, 273 F.3d at 267-68 (citing Laureyssens v. Idea Group, Inc., 964 F.2d 131, 140 (2d Cir.1992)).

      125

      [27] See Def. Opening Mem. 7; Def. Supp. Mem. 5.

      126

      [28] Contrary to the implication in some of the plaintiff's papers, see Am. Cpt. ¶¶ 27-29; Pl. Opening Mem. 6; Pl. Supp. Mem. 6-10; see also Tr. (1/27/05) 8-11, 14-19, 25, 30-32, 34-36 ("Tr."), this case does not require a determination whether the defendants have violated the plaintiff's exclusive right under 17 U.S.C. § 106(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the Garnett Photograph. The image used on the Iced Out Comp Board may have been a derivative work based upon the Garnett Photograph, see 17 U.S.C. § 101 (2005), but CHWA obtained the right to use the Garnett Photograph in connection with the Iced Out Comp Board.

      127

      The question whether the Coors Billboard is a derivative work based upon the Garnett Photograph is immaterial. "[A] work will be considered a derivative work only if it would be considered an infringing work" absent consent. 1 NIMMER § 3.01, at 3-4. That is, the infringement inquiry logically precedes or at least controls the derivative work inquiry.

      128

      Finally — again contrary to the plaintiff's suggestion, see Pl. Opening Mem. 9; Pl. Reply Mem. 2-4; Tr. 21-24 — also immaterial is the question whether the Coors Billboard may infringe Mannion's copyright if the Coors Billboard is not substantially similar to the Garnett Photograph but is substantially similar to the Garnett Photograph's hypothesized derivative on the Iced Out Comp Board. Mannion has no registered copyright in the image on the Iced Out Comp Board, which precludes a suit for infringement based upon that image. Well-Made Toy Mfg. Corp. v. Goffa Int'l Corp., 354 F.3d 112, 115-117 (2d Cir.2003); 17 U.S.C. § 411(a) (2005).

      129

      The only question in this case is whether the Coors Billboard infringes the copyright in the Garnett Photograph. The only material comparison therefore is between those two images. Accordingly, the complaint is dismissed to the extent that it asserts a violation of Mannion's exclusive right to prepare derivative works.

      130

      [29] Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 345, 111 S.Ct. 1282, 113 L.Ed.2d 358 (1991).

      131

      [30] Id. at 348, 111 S.Ct. 1282.

      132

      [31] Id. at 345, 111 S.Ct. 1282 (citing 1 NIMMER §§ 2.01[A], [B] (1990)).

      133

      [32] 1 NIMMER § 2.08[E][1], at 2-130.

      134

      [33] E.g., Caratzas v. Time Life, Inc., No. 92 Civ. 6346(PKL), 1992 WL 322033, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Oct.23, 1992) (observing, in the context of photographs of historic sites, that "Justice Holmes made it clear almost ninety years ago that actionable copying does not occur where a photographer takes a picture of the subject matter depicted in a copyrighted photograph, so long as the second photographer does not copy original aspects of the copyrighted work, such as lighting or placement of the subject.").

      135

      [34] See Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301 (2d Cir.1992); Gross v. Seligman, 212 F. 930 (2d Cir.1914).

      136

      [35] 1 NIMMER § 2.08[E][1], at 2-129; see also Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd. v. Corel Corp., 36 F.Supp.2d 191, 196 (S.D.N.Y.1999).

      137

      [36] See Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 4 S.Ct. 279, 28 L.Ed. 349 (1884); SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc., 117 F.Supp.2d 301, 307-08 (S.D.N.Y.2000) (recounting the history of Burrow-Giles with reference to THE WAKING DREAM: PHOTOGRAPHY'S FIRST CENTURY 339-40 (Met. Museum of Art 1993)).

      138

      The photograph at issue in Burrow-Giles is reproduced in MELVILLE B. NIMMER ET AL., CASES AND MATERIALS ON COPYRIGHT 11 (6th ed. 2000) ("CASES AND MATERIALS ON COPYRIGHT").

      139

      [37] See Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co., 111 U.S. at 60, 4 S.Ct. 279 (originality of Wilde portrait founded upon overall composition, including pose, clothing, background, light, and shade, "suggesting and evoking the desired expression"); Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 137 F.3d 109, 116 (2d Cir.1998) ("Leibovitz is entitled to protection for such artistic elements as the particular lighting, the resulting skin tone of the subject, and the camera angle that she selected."); Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301, 307 (2d Cir.1992) ("Elements of originality in a photograph may include posing the subjects, lighting, angle, selection of film and camera, evoking the desired expression, and almost any other variant involved."); Gross v. Seligman, 212 F. 930, 931 (2d Cir.1914) ("exercise of artistic talent" reflected in "pose, light, and shade, etc."); SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc., 117 F.Supp.2d 301, 311 (S.D.N.Y.2000) ("What makes plaintiff's photographs original is the totality of the precise lighting selection, angle of the camera, lens and filter selection."); E. Am. Trio Prods., Inc. v. Tang Elec. Corp., 97 F.Supp.2d 395, 417 (S.D.N.Y.2000) ("The necessary originality for a photograph may be founded upon, among other things, the photographer's choice of subject matter, angle of photograph, lighting, determination of the precise time when the photograph is to be taken, the kind of camera, the kind of film, the kind of lens, and the area in which the pictures are taken."); Kisch v. Ammirati & Puris Inc., 657 F.Supp. 380, 382 (S.D.N.Y.1987) (copyrightable elements of a photograph "include such features as the photographer's selection of lighting, shading, positioning and timing.").

      140

      Even these lists are not complete. They omit such features as the amount of the image in focus, its graininess, and the level of contrast.

      141

      [38] Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301, 307 (2d Cir.1992).

      142

      [39] SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc., 117 F.Supp.2d 301, 311 (S.D.N.Y.2000).

      143

      [40] E. Am. Trio Prods., Inc. v. Tang Elec. Corp., 97 F.Supp.2d 395, 417 (S.D.N.Y.2000) (Kaplan, J.)

      144

      [41] Feist, 499 U.S. at 359-60, 111 S.Ct. 1282.

      145

      [42] 36 F.Supp.2d 191 (S.D.N.Y.1999).

      146

      [43] Id. at 197; Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd. v. Corel Corp., 25 F.Supp.2d 421, 427 & nn. 41, 47 (S.D.N.Y.1998).

      147

      [44] HON. SIR HUGH LADDIE ET AL., THE MODERN LAW OF COPYRIGHT AND DESIGNS (3d ed. Butterworths 2000) ("LADDIE").

      148

      [45] See Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, c. 48, § 1(1)(a); 1 LADDIE § 1.8.

      149

      [46] See 1 LADDIE § 4.57, at 229.

      150

      [47] Id.

      151

      [48] See Caratzas v. Time Life, Inc., No. 92 Civ. 6346(PKL), 1992 WL 322033, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Oct.23, 1992); Leigh v. Warner Bros., 212 F.3d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir.2000); see also Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., 188 U.S. 239, 249, 23 S.Ct. 298, 47 L.Ed. 460 (1903) ("It is obvious also that the plaintiff's case is not affected by the fact, if it be one, that the pictures represent actual groups — visible things. They seem from the testimony to have been composed from hints or description, not from sight.... But even if they had been drawn from the life, that fact would not deprive them of protection. The opposite proposition would mean that a portrait by Velasquez or Whistler was common property because others might try their hand on the same face. Others are free to copy the original. They are not free to copy the copy."); Franklin Mint Corp. v. Nat'l Wildlife Art Exchange, Inc., 575 F.2d 62, 65 (3d Cir.1978) (same); F.W. Woolworth Co. v. Contemporary Arts, 193 F.2d 162, 164 (1st Cir.1951) ("It is the well established rule that a copyright on a work of art does not protect a subject, but only the treatment of a subject."); BENJAMIN KAPLAN, AN UNHURRIED VIEW OF COPYRIGHT 56 (1967) (observing that, with respect to "works of `fine art,'" "the manner of execution is usually of more interest than the subject pictured.").

      152

      [49] 117 F.Supp.2d 301 (S.D.N.Y.2000).

      153

      [50] Id. at 311.

      154

      [51] 1 LADDIE § 4.57, at 229.

      155

      [52] 234 F. 963 (S.D.N.Y.1916).

      156

      [53] Id. at 964.

      157

      [54] A digital image of the photograph may be found at http://www.fulcrumgallery.com/print — 38089.aspx (last visited July 20, 2005).

      158

      [55] A digital image appears at http://www.gallerym.com/work.cfm? ID=69 (last visited July 20, 2005).

      159

      [56] See, e.g., http://www.raydoan.com/6140.asp (last visited July 20, 2005); http://www .shusterimages.net/BearsätBrooksFalls.htm (last visited July 20, 2005).

      160

      [57] 1 LADDIE § 4.57, at 229.

      161

      [58] 960 F.2d 301 (2d Cir.1992).

      162

      [59] 212 F. 930 (2d Cir.1914).

      163

      [60] For a reproduction of the works at issue in Rogers v. Koons, see ROBERT C. OSTERBERG & ERIC C. OSTERBERG, SUBSTANTIAL SIMILARITY IN COPYRIGHT LAW A-24, A-25 (Practising Law Institute 2003).

      164

      [61] 960 F.2d at 304.

      165

      [62] See id. ("When Rogers went to [Jim Scanlon's] home... he decided that taking a picture of the puppies alone [as Scanlon originally had requested] would not work successfully, and chose instead to include [the Scanlons] holding them.... [Rogers] selected the light, the location, the bench on which the Scanlons are seated and the arrangement of the small dogs.").

      166

      [63] The two photographs are reproduced in CASES AND MATERIALS ON COPYRIGHT 211.

      167

      [64] 212 F. at 930-31.

      168

      Also part of the court's analysis was the observation that there were "many close identities of ... light[] and shade." Id.

      169

      [65] I recognize that the preceding analysis focuses on a medium — traditional print photography — that is being supplanted in significant degree by digital technology. These advancements may or may not demand a different analytical framework.

      170

      [66] Mannion Decl. ¶¶ 4-7, 9.

      171

      [67] Def. Reply Mem. 10-11.

      172

      The defendants complain as well that Mannion's declaration does not mention, among other things, the type of film, camera, and filters that he used to produce the Garnett Photograph. Id. at 11. These omissions are irrelevant. As discussed above, originality in the rendition is assessed with respect to the work, not the artist's specific decisions in producing it.

      173

      [68] Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd., 71 F.3d 996, 1003 (2d Cir.1995) (citation omitted).

      174

      [69] Def. Br. 6.

      175

      [70] See 4 NIMMER § 13.03[B][2][a]; 17 U.S.C. § 102(b).

      176

      [71] 4 NIMMER § 13.03[B][3].

      177

      [72] 133 F.Supp.2d 317 (S.D.N.Y.2001).

      178

      [73] The Kaplan decision itself characterized the "idea" as "a businessperson contemplating a leap from a tall building onto the city street below," see id. at 323, but this characterization does not fully account for the disposition of the case. The court agreed with the defendants that:

      179

      "in order to most accurately express th[is] idea ..., the photograph must be taken from the `jumper's' own viewpoint, which would (i) naturally include the sheer side of the building and the traffic below, and (ii) logically restrict the visible area of the businessperson's body to his shoes and a certain portion of his pants legs.... Thus, the angle and viewpoint used in both photographs are essential to, commonly associated with, and naturally flow from the photograph's unprotectable subject matter.... [T]he most common, and most effective, viewpoint from which the convey the idea of the `jumper' ... remains that of the `jumper' himself." Id. at 326.

      180

      The Kaplan court's observations about the angle and viewpoint "essential to" and "commonly associated with," that "naturally flow from," "most accurately express," and "most effective[ly]" convey the "idea of a businessperson's contemplation of a leap" are unpersuasive. Thus, the opinion is best read to hold that the "idea" expressed was that of a businessperson contemplating suicide as seen from his own vantage point because only this reading explains the outcome.

      181

      [74] Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119, 121 (2d Cir.1930) (citation omitted).

      182

      This passage is often referred to as the abstractions test, but it is no such thing. Judge Newman has lamented this parlance and the underlying difficulty it elides: "Judge Hand manifestly did not think of his observations as the enunciation of anything that might be called a `test.' His disclaimer (for himself and everyone else) of the ability to `fix the boundary' should have been sufficient caution that no `test' capable of yielding a result was intended." Hon. Jon O. Newman, New Lyrics for an Old Melody: The Idea/Expression Dichotomy in the Computer Age, 17 CARDOZO ARTS & ENT. L.J. 691, 694 (1999).

      183

      [75] Peter Pan Fabrics, Inc. v. Martin Weiner Corp., 274 F.2d 487, 489 (2d Cir.1960).

      184

      [76] See, e.g., Attia v. Soc'y of the N.Y. Hosp., 201 F.3d 50, 54 (2d Cir.1999) (quoting Peter Pan Fabrics0; Williams v. Crichton, 84 F.3d 581, 587-588 (2d Cir.1996) ("The distinction between an idea and its expression is an elusive one."); Durham Indus., Inc. v. Tomy Corp., 630 F.2d 905, 912 (2d Cir.1980) (quoting Peter Pan Fabrics and characterizing "the idea/expression distinction" as "an imprecise tool"); Reyher v. Children's Television Workshop, 533 F.2d 87, 91 (2d Cir.1976) (acknowledging that "the demarcation between idea and expression may not be susceptible to overly helpful generalization"); Herbert Rosenthal Jewelry Corp. v. Kalpakian, 446 F.2d 738, 742 (9th Cir.1971) ("At least in close cases, one may suspect, the classification the court selects may simply state the result reached rather than the reason for it."); Fournier v. Erickson, 202 F.Supp.2d 290, 295 (S.D.N.Y.2002) ("the distinction between the concept and the expression of a concept is a difficult one"); see also BENJAMIN KAPLAN, AN UNHURRIED VIEW OF COPYRIGHT 48 (1967) ("We are in a viscid quandary once we admit that `expression' can consist of anything not close aboard the particular collocation in its sequential order. The job of comparison is not much eased by speaking of patterns, nor is the task of deciding when the monopoly would be too broad for the public convenience made much neater by speaking of ideas and expression. The polarity proposed by Hand is indeed related geneologically to the ancient opposition of idea to form, but the ancestor is not readily recognized in the ambiguous and elusive descendant.").

      185

      [77] "[W]hile we are as aware as any one that the line, whereever it is drawn, will seem arbitrary, that is no excuse for not drawing it; it is a question such as courts must answer in nearly all cases." Nichols, 45 F.2d at 122.

      186

      [78] There appears to be no Supreme Court case explicitly making the distinction any earlier than Holmes v. Hurst, 174 U.S. 82, 19 S.Ct. 606, 43 L.Ed. 904 (1899), in which the Court observed that the Copyright Act protects "that arrangement of words which the author has selected to express his ideas." Id. at 86, 19 S.Ct. 606.

      187

      [79] One non-literary case in which the Supreme Court referred to the idea/expression distinction was Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 217-18, 74 S.Ct. 460, 98 L.Ed. 630 (1954), which is described below in footnote 80.

      188

      [80] In cases dealing with toys or products that have both functional and design aspects, courts sometimes use "idea" to refer to a gimmick embodied in the product. See, e.g., Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 217-18, 74 S.Ct. 460, 98 L.Ed. 630 (1954) (court, after introducing idea/expression dichotomy, stated that plaintiffs, who had copyrights in statuettes of human figures used as table lamps, "may not exclude others from using statuettes of human figures in table lamps; they may only prevent use of copies of their statuettes as such or as incorporated in some other article."); Herbert Rosenthal Jewelry Corp. v. Kalpakian, 446 F.2d 738, 742 (9th Cir.1971) (bejeweled gold pin in the shape of a bee was an unprotected "idea"); Herbert Rosenthal Jewelry Corp. v. Honora Jewelry Co., 509 F.2d 64, 65-66 (2d Cir.1974) (same for turtle pins); Great Importations, Inc. v. Caffco Int'l, Inc., No. 95 Civ. 0514, 1997 WL 414111, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. July 24, 1997) (M.J.) ("To the degree the similarities between the two sculptures herein are simply because they are both three-piece sets of candleholders in the shape of the letters J, O and Y with baby angels and holly, those similarities are non-copyrightable ideas....").

      189

      This case does not concern any kind of gimmick, and the Court ventures no opinion about the applicability of the idea/expression dichotomy to any product that embodies a gimmick, including toys or other objects that combine function and design.

      190

      [81] See Gross v. Seligman, 212 F. 930, 931 (2d Cir.1914); Kaplan v. Stock Market Photo Agency, Inc., 133 F.Supp.2d 317, 323 (S.D.N.Y.2001); Andersson v. Sony Corp. of Am., No. 96 Civ. 7975(RO), 1997 WL 226310, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. May 2, 1997); Kisch v. Ammirati & Puris Inc., 657 F.Supp. 380, 382 (S.D.N.Y.1987); Pagano v. Chas. Beseler Co., 234 F. 963, 964 (S.D.N.Y.1916).

      191

      [82] The terminology can be still more confused. Consider this sentence, in a section of an opinion analyzing what was original, and hence protectible, in a photograph created by a freelancer in accordance with instructions from a defendant: "[D]efendants conclude that Fournier cannot assert copyright protection, to the extent that he does, over the expression of businessmen in traditional dress on their way to work, an idea which originated with McCann in any event." Fournier v. Erickson, 202 F.Supp.2d 290, 295 (S.D.N.Y.2002) (emphases added).

      192

      [83] 274 F.2d at 489.

      193

      [84] Newman, New Lyrics for an Old Melody, supra, at 697.

      194

      [85] 720 F.2d 231 (2d Cir.1983).

      195

      In that case, which considered the question whether the protagonist of the television series The Greatest American Hero infringed the copyright in the Superman character, Judge Newman observed that a tension between two different propositions dealing with the significance of differences between an allegedly infringing work and a copyrighted work "perhaps results from [those propositions'] formulation in the context of literary works and their subsequent application to graphic and three-dimensional works." Id. at 241.

      196

      [86] Newman, New Lyrics for an Old Melody, supra, at 698.

      197

      [87] Franklin Mint Corp. v. Nat'l Wildlife Art Exchange, Inc., 575 F.2d 62, 65 (3d Cir.1978); accord Kisch v. Ammirati & Puris Inc., 657 F.Supp. 380, 383 (S.D.N.Y.1987).

      198

      [88] 960 F.2d at 308 (first emphasis added).

      199

      [89] Def. Br. 6. See supra.

      200

      [90] See SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc., 117 F.Supp.2d 301, 314 (S.D.N.Y.2000) ("defendants' instructions were so general as to fall within the realm of unprotectible ideas. Thus, they cannot substantiate a work-for-hire authorship defense." (emphasis added)); Andersson v. Sony Corp., No. 96 Civ. 7975(RO), 1997 WL 226310, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. May 2, 1997) ("What these two photos may arguably share, the idea of a woman in futuristic garb becoming fascinated with an object held in her hand, is simply not protectible." (emphasis added)); Gentieu v. Tony Stone Images/Chicago, Inc., 255 F.Supp.2d 838, 849 (N.D.Ill.2003) ("Gentieu cannot claim a copyright in the idea of photographing naked or diapered babies or in any elements of expression that are intrinsic to that unprotected idea. Clearly the `poses' at issue in Gentieu's images capture the natural movements and facial expressions of infants.... Such poses are implicit in the very idea of a baby photograph and are not proper material for protection under Gentieu's copyrights." (emphases added)).

      201

      It is interesting to note that United Kingdom law faces a similar terminological problem and that the solution of Laddie and supporting authorities is to conclude that the generality of an "idea" is what determines its protectability:

      202

      "Confusion is caused in the law of copyright because of the use of the catchphrase `There is no copyright in ideas but only in the form of their expression'. Unless one understands what this means its utility is non-existent, or it is positively misleading. An artistic work of the imagination presupposes two kinds of ingredients: the conception of one or more ideas, and artistic dexterity and skill in their representation in the chosen medium. It is not the law that copyright protects the second kind of ingredient only. If that were so a debased copy which failed to capture the artist's dexterity and skill would not infringe, which plainly is not the case. Unless an artist is content merely to represent a pre-existent object (eg a building) or scene, it is part of his task as artist to exercise his imagination and in so doing he may create a pattern of ideas for incorporation in his finished work. This idea-pattern may be as much part of his work, and deserving of copyright protection, as the brushstrokes, pencil-lines, etc. The true proposition is that there is no copyright in a general idea, but that an original combination of ideas may [be protected]." 1 LADDIE § 4.43, at 212 (footnote omitted).

      203

      [91] 133 F.Supp.2d at 323 (emphases added).

      204

      [92] Yurman Design, Inc. v. PAJ, Inc., 262 F.3d 101, 111 (2d Cir.2001) (quoting Hamil America, Inc. v. GFI, 193 F.3d 92, 100 (2d Cir.1999) (quoting Peter Pan Fabrics, Inc. v. Martin Weiner Corp., 274 F.2d 487, 489 (2d Cir.1960)) (internal quotation marks omitted)); accord Boisson v. Banian, Ltd., 273 F.3d 262, 272 (2d Cir.2001) (quoting Folio Impressions, Inc. v. Byer California, 937 F.2d 759, 765 (2d Cir.1991)).

      205

      [93] Hamil America, Inc., 193 F.3d at 101; accord Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd., 71 F.3d 996, 1002 (2d Cir.1995); Folio Impressions, 937 F.2d at 765-66; see also Boisson, 273 F.3d at 272.

      206

      [94] Boisson, 273 F.3d at 272 (citing Knitwaves, 71 F.3d at 1003); accord Hamil America, 193 F.3d at 101.

      207

      [95] 338 F.3d 127 (2d Cir.2003).

      208

      [96] See 237 F.Supp.2d 376, 386-88 (S.D.N.Y.2002).

      209

      [97] 338 F.3d at 130 (emphasis in original).

      210

      [98] Id. at 134-35 (emphasis in original).

      211

      [99] Id. at 132-33 (quoting Sheldon v. Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corp., 81 F.2d 49, 56 (2d Cir.1936)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

      212

      [100] 4 NIMMER § 13.03[B][1][a], at 13-63.

      213

      [101] 657 F.Supp. 380, 384 (S.D.N.Y.1987).

  • 2 Week 2

    • 2.1 Justin Hughes, "The Philosophy of Intellectual Property," 77 Georgetown L.J. 287, Part II (pages 296-314) (1988)

      Part II begins on page 6 of the PDF (pages 296 -314)

    • 2.2 A.A. Hoehling v. Universal City Studios (1980)

      1
      618 F.2d 972
      2
      205 U.S.P.Q. 681, 1978-81 Copr.L.Dec. 25,146,
      6 Media L. Rep. 1053
      3
      A. A. HOEHLING, Plaintiff-Appellant,
      v.
      UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC., and Michael MacDonald Mooney,
      Defendants-Appellees.
      4
      No. 692, Docket 79-7704.
      5
      United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.
      6
      Argued Feb. 27, 1980.
      Decided March 25, 1980.
      7

       

      8

      [618 F.2d 974] James C. Eastman, Washington, D. C., for plaintiff-appellant.

      9

      Coudert Bros., New York City (Eugene L. Girden, New York City, of counsel), for defendant-appellee Universal City Studios, Inc.

      10

      Peter A. Flynn, and Myron M. Cherry, Chicago, Ill. (Cherry, Flynn & Kanter, Chicago, Ill., Hervey M. Johnson, White Plains, N. Y.), and James J. McEnroe, New York City (Watson, Leavenworth, Kelton & Taggert, New York City), for defendant-appellee Michael M. Mooney.

      11

      Before KAUFMAN, Chief Judge, TIMBERS, Circuit Judge, and WERKER, District Judge.[*]

      12

      IRVING R. KAUFMAN, Chief Judge:

      13

      A grant of copyright in a published work secures for its author a limited monopoly over the expression it contains. The copyright provides a financial incentive to those who would add to the corpus of existing knowledge by creating original works. Nevertheless, the protection afforded the copyright holder has never extended to history, be it documented fact or explanatory hypothesis. The rationale for this doctrine is that the cause of knowledge is best served when history is the common property of all, and each generation remains free to draw upon the discoveries and insights of the past. Accordingly, the scope of copyright in historical accounts is narrow indeed, embracing no more than the author's original expression of particular facts and theories already in the public domain. As the case before us illustrates, absent wholesale usurpation of another's expression, claims of copyright infringement where works of history are at issue are rarely successful.

      14
      I.
      15

      This litigation arises from three separate accounts of the triumphant introduction, last voyage, and tragic destruction of the Hindenburg, the colossal dirigible constructed in Germany during Hitler's reign. The zeppelin, the last and most sophisticated in a fleet of luxury airships, which punctually floated its wealthy passengers from the Third Reich to the United States, exploded into flames and disintegrated in 35 seconds as it hovered above the Lakehurst, New Jersey Naval Air Station at 7:25 p. m. on May 6, 1937. Thirty-six passengers and [618 F.2d 975] crew were killed but, fortunately, 52 persons survived. Official investigations conducted by both American and German authorities could ascertain no definitive cause of the disaster, but both suggested the plausibility of static electricity or St. Elmo's Fire, which could have ignited the highly explosive hydrogen that filled the airship. Throughout, the investigators refused to rule out the possibility of sabotage.

      16

      The destruction of the Hindenburg marked the concluding chapter in the chronicle of airship passenger service, for after the tragedy at Lakehurst, the Nazi regime permanently grounded the Graf Zeppelin I and discontinued its plan to construct an even larger dirigible, the Graf Zeppelin II.

      17

      The final pages of the airship's story marked the beginning of a series of journalistic, historical, and literary accounts devoted to the Hindenburg and its fate. Indeed, weeks of testimony by a plethora of witnesses before the official investigative panels provided fertile source material for would-be authors. Moreover, both the American and German Commissions issued official reports, detailing all that was then known of the tragedy. A number of newspaper and magazine articles had been written about the Hindenburg in 1936, its first year of trans-Atlantic service, and they, of course, multiplied many fold after the crash. In addition, two passengers Margaret Mather and Gertrud Adelt published separate and detailed accounts of the voyage, C. E. Rosendahl, commander of the Lakehurst Naval Air Station and a pioneer in airship travel himself, wrote a book titled What About the Airship?, in which he endorsed the theory that the Hindenburg was the victim of sabotage. In 1957, Nelson Gidding, who would return to the subject of the Hindenburg some 20 years later, wrote an unpublished "treatment" for a motion picture based on the deliberate destruction of the airship. In that year as well, John Toland published Ships in the Sky which, in its seventeenth chapter, chronicled the last flight of the Hindenburg. In 1962, Dale Titler released Wings of Mystery, in which he too devoted a chapter to the Hindenburg.[1]

      18

      Appellant A. A. Hoehling published Who Destroyed the Hindenburg ?, a full-length book based on his exhaustive research in 1962. Mr. Hoehling studied the investigative reports, consulted previously published articles and books, and conducted interviews with survivors of the crash as well as others who possessed information about the Hindenburg. His book is presented as a factual account, written in an objective, reportorial style.

      19

      The first half recounts the final crossing of the Hindenburg, from Sunday, May 2, when it left Frankfurt, to Thursday, May 6, when it exploded at Lakehurst. Hoehling describes the airship, its role as an instrument of propaganda in Nazi Germany, its passengers and crew, the danger of hydrogen, and the ominous threats received by German officials, warning that the Hindenburg would be destroyed. The second portion, headed The Quest, sets forth the progress of the official investigations, followed by an account of Hoehling's own research. In the final chapter, spanning eleven pages, Hoehling suggests that all proffered explanations of the explosion, save deliberate destruction, are unconvincing. He concludes that the most likely saboteur is one Eric Spehl, a "rigger" on the Hindenburg crew who was killed at Lakehurst.

      20

      According to Hoehling, Spehl had motive, expertise, and opportunity to plant an explosive device, constructed of dry-cell batteries and a flashbulb, in "Gas Cell 4," the location of the initial explosion. An amateur photographer with access to flashbulbs, Spehl could have destroyed the Hindenburg to please his ladyfriend, a suspected communist dedicated to exploding the myth of Nazi invincibility.

      21

      Ten years later appellee Michael MacDonald Mooney published his book, The Hindenburg. [618 F.2d 976] Mooney's endeavor might be characterized as more literary than historical in its attempt to weave a number of symbolic themes through the actual events surrounding the tragedy. His dominant theme contrasts the natural beauty of the month of May, when the disaster occurred, with the cold, deliberate progress of "technology." The May theme is expressed not simply by the season, but also by the character of Spehl, portrayed as a sensitive artisan with needle and thread. The Hindenburg, in contrast, is the symbol of technology, as are its German creators and the Reich itself. The destruction is depicted as the ultimate triumph of nature over technology, as Spehl plants the bomb that ignites the hydrogen. Developing this theme from the outset, Mooney begins with an extended review of man's efforts to defy nature through flight, focusing on the evolution of the zeppelin. This story culminates in the construction of the Hindenburg, and the Nazis' claims of its indestructibility. Mooney then traces the fateful voyage, advising the reader almost immediately of Spehl's scheme. The book concludes with the airship's explosion.

      22

      Mooney acknowledges, in this case, that he consulted Hoehling's book, and that he relied on it for some details. He asserts that he first discovered the "Spehl-as-saboteur" theory when he read Titler's Wings of Mystery. Indeed, Titler concludes that Spehl was the saboteur, for essentially the reasons stated by Hoehling. Mooney also claims to have studied the complete National Archives and New York Times files concerning the Hindenburg, as well as all previously published material. Moreover, he traveled to Germany, visited Spehl's birthplace, and conducted a number of interviews with survivors.

      23

      After Mooney prepared an outline of his anticipated book, his publisher succeeded in negotiations to sell the motion picture rights to appellee Universal City Studios.[2] Universal then commissioned a screen story by writers Levinson and Link, best known for their television series, Columbo, in which a somewhat disheveled, but wise detective unravels artfully conceived murder mysteries. In their screen story, Levinson and Link created a Columbo-like character who endeavored to identify the saboteur on board the Hindenburg. Director Robert Wise, however, was not satisfied with this version, and called upon Nelson Gidding to write a final screenplay. Gidding, it will be recalled, had engaged in preliminary work on a film about the Hindenburg almost twenty years earlier.

      24

      The Gidding screenplay follows what is known in the motion picture industry as a "Grand Hotel" formula, developing a number of fictional characters and subplots involving them. This formula has become standard fare in so-called "disaster" movies, which have enjoyed a certain popularity in recent years. In the film, which was released in late 1975, a rigger named "Boerth," who has an anti-Nazi ladyfriend, plans to destroy the airship in an effort to embarrass the Reich. Nazi officials, vaguely aware of sabotage threats, station a Luftwaffe intelligence officer on the zeppelin, loosely resembling a Colonel Erdmann who was aboard the Hindenburg. This character is portrayed as a likable fellow who soon discovers that Boerth is the saboteur. Boerth, however, convinces him that the Hindenburg should be destroyed and the two join forces, planning the explosion for several hours after the landing at Lakehurst, when no people would be on board. In Gidding's version, the airship is delayed by a storm, frantic efforts to defuse the bomb fail, and the Hindenburg is destroyed. The film's subplots involve other possible suspects, including a fictional countess who has had her estate expropriated by the Reich, two fictional confidence men wanted [618 F.2d 977] by New York City police, and an advertising executive rushing to close a business deal in America.

      25

      Upon learning of Universal's plans to release the film, Hoehling instituted this action against Universal for copyright infringement and common law unfair competition in the district court for the District of Columbia in October 1975. Judge Smith declined to issue an order restraining release of the film in December, and it was distributed throughout the nation.

      26

      In January 1976, Hoehling sought to amend his complaint to include Mooney as a defendant. The district court, however, decided that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Mooney.[3] In June 1976, Hoehling again attempted to amend his complaint, this time to add Mooney's publishers as defendants. Judge Smith denied this motion as well, but granted Hoehling's request to transfer the litigation to the Southern District of New York, 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), where Mooney himself was successfully included as a party. Judge Metzner, with the assistance of Magistrate Sinclair, supervised extensive discovery through most of 1978. After the completion of discovery, both Mooney and Universal moved for summary judgment, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, which was granted on August 1, 1979.

      27
      II.
      28

      It is undisputed that Hoehling has a valid copyright in his book. To prove infringement, however, he must demonstrate that defendants "copied" his work and that they "improperly appropriated" his "expression." See Arnstein v. Porter, 154 F.2d 464, 468 (2d Cir. 1946). Ordinarily, wrongful appropriation is shown by proving a "substantial similarity" of copyrightable expression. See Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119, 121 (2d Cir. 1930), cert. denied, 282 U.S. 902, 51 S.Ct. 216, 75 L.Ed. 795 (1931). Because substantial similarity is customarily an extremely close question of fact, see Arnstein, supra, 154 F.2d at 468, summary judgment has traditionally been frowned upon in copyright litigation, id. at 474. Nevertheless, while Arnstein 's influence in other areas of the law has been diminished, see SEC v. Research Automation Corp., 585 F.2d 31 (2d Cir. 1978); 6 Moore's Federal Practice P 56.17(14) (2d ed. 1976), a series of copyright cases in the Southern District of New York have granted defendants summary judgment when all alleged similarity related to non -copyrightable elements of the plaintiff's work, see, e. g., Alexander v. Haley, 460 F.Supp. 40 (S.D.N.Y.1978); Musto v. Meyer, 434 F.Supp. 32 (S.D.N.Y.1977); Gardner v. Nizer, 391 F.Supp. 940 (S.D.N.Y.1975); Fuld v. National Broadcasting Co., 390 F.Supp. 877 (S.D.N.Y.1975). These cases signal an important development in the law of copyright, permitting courts to put "a swift end to meritless litigation" and to avoid lengthy and costly trials. Quinn v. Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corp., 613 F.2d 438, 445 (2d Cir. 1980); accord, Donnelly v. Guion, 467 F.2d 290, 293 (2d Cir. 1972); American Manufacturers Mutual Insurance Co. v. American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, Inc., 388 F.2d 272, 278 (2d Cir. 1967). Drawing on these cases, Judge Metzner assumed both copying and substantial similarity, but concluded that all similarities pertained to various categories of non-copyrightable material. Accordingly, he granted appellees' motion for summary judgment. We affirm the judgment of the district court.

      29
      A
      30

      Hoehling's principal claim is that both Mooney and Universal copied the essential plot of his book i. e., Eric Spehl, influenced by his girlfriend, sabotaged the Hindenburg by placing a crude bomb in Gas Cell 4. In their briefs, and at oral argument, appellees have labored to convince us that their plots are not substantially similar to Hoehling's. While Hoehling's Spehl destroys the airship to please his communist girlfriend, Mooney's character is motivated by an aversion to the technological age. Universal's [618 F.2d 978] Boerth, on the other hand, is a fervent anti-fascist who enlists the support of a Luftwaffe colonel who, in turn, unsuccessfully attempts to defuse the bomb at the eleventh hour.

      31

      Although this argument has potential merit when presented to a fact finder adjudicating the issue of substantial similarity, it is largely irrelevant to a motion for summary judgment where the issue of substantial similarity has been eliminated by the judge's affirmative assumption. Under Rule 56(c), summary judgment is appropriate only when "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact." Accord, Heyman v. Commerce & Industry Insurance Co., 524 F.2d 1317 (2d Cir. 1975). Perhaps recognizing this, appellees further argue that Hoehling's plot is an "idea," and ideas are not copyrightable as a matter of law. See Sheldon v. Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corp., 81 F.2d 49, 54 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 298 U.S. 669, 56 S.Ct. 835, 80 L.Ed. 1392 (1936).

      32

      Hoehling, however, correctly rejoins that while ideas themselves are not subject to copyright, his "expression" of his idea is copyrightable. Id. at 54. He relies on Learned Hand's opinion in Sheldon, supra, at 50, holding that Letty Lynton infringed Dishonored Lady by copying its story of a woman who poisons her lover, and Augustus Hand's analysis in Detective Comics, Inc. v. Bruns Publications, Inc., 111 F.2d 432 (2d Cir. 1940), concluding that the exploits of "Wonderman" infringed the copyright held by the creators of "Superman," the original indestructible man. Moreover, Hoehling asserts that, in both these cases, the line between "ideas" and "expression" is drawn, in the first instance, by the fact finder.

      33

      Sheldon and Detective Comics, however, dealt with works of fiction,[4] where the distinction between an idea and its expression is especially elusive. But, where, as here, the idea at issue is an interpretation of an historical event, our cases hold that such interpretations are not copyrightable as a matter of law. In Rosemont Enterprises, Inc. v. Random House, Inc., 366 F.2d 303 (2d Cir. 1966), cert. denied, 385 U.S. 1009, 87 S.Ct. 714, 17 L.Ed.2d 546 (1967), we held that the defendant's biography of Howard Hughes did not infringe an earlier biography of the reclusive alleged billionaire. Although the plots of the two works were necessarily similar, there could be no infringement because of the "public benefit in encouraging the development of historical and biographical works and their public distribution." Id. at 307; accord, Oxford Book Co. v. College Entrance Book Co., 98 F.2d 688 (2d Cir. 1938). To avoid a chilling effect on authors who contemplate tackling an historical issue or event, broad latitude must be granted to subsequent authors who make use of historical subject matter, including theories or plots. Learned Hand counseled in Myers v. Mail & Express Co., 36 C.O.Bull. 478, 479 (S.D.N.Y.1919), "(t)here cannot be any such thing as copyright in the order of presentation of the facts, nor, indeed, in their selection."[5]

      34

      In the instant case, the hypothesis that Eric Spehl destroyed the Hindenburg is based entirely on the interpretation of historical facts, including Spehl's life, his girlfriend's anti-Nazi connections, the explosion's origin in Gas Cell 4, Spehl's duty station, discovery of a dry-cell battery [618 F.2d 979] among the wreckage, and rumors about Spehl's involvement dating from a 1938 Gestapo investigation. Such an historical interpretation, whether or not it originated with Mr. Hoehling, is not protected by his copyright and can be freely used by subsequent authors.

      35
      B
      36

      The same reasoning governs Hoehling's claim that a number of specific facts, ascertained through his personal research, were copied by appellees.[6] The cases in this circuit, however, make clear that factual information is in the public domain. See, e. g., Rosemont Enterprises, Inc., supra, 366 F.2d at 309; Oxford Book Co., supra, 98 F.2d at 691. Each appellee had the right to "avail himself of the facts contained" in Hoehling's book and to "use such information, whether correct or incorrect, in his own literary work." Greenbie v. Noble, 151 F.Supp. 45, 67 (S.D.N.Y.1957). Accordingly, there is little consolation in relying on cases in other circuits holding that the fruits of original research are copyrightable. See, e. g., Toksvig v. Bruce Publications Corp., 181 F.2d 664, 667 (7th Cir. 1950); Miller v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 460 F.Supp. 984 (S.D.Fla.1978). Indeed, this circuit has clearly repudiated Toksvig and its progeny. In Rosemont Enterprises, Inc., supra, 366 F.2d at 310, we refused to "subscribe to the view that an author is absolutely precluded from saving time and effort by referring to and relying upon prior published material. . . . It is just such wasted effort that the proscription against the copyright of ideas and facts . . . . are designed to prevent." Accord, 1 Nimmer on Copyright § 2.11 (1979).

      37
      C
      38

      The remainder of Hoehling's claimed similarities relate to random duplications of phrases and sequences of events. For example, all three works contain a scene in a German beer hall, in which the airship's crew engages in revelry prior to the voyage. Other claimed similarities concern common German greetings of the period, such as "Heil Hitler," or songs, such as the German National anthem. These elements, however, are merely scenes a faire, that is, "incidents, characters or settings which are as a practical matter indispensable, or at least standard, in the treatment of a given topic." Alexander, supra, 460 F.Supp. at 45; accord, Bevan v. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 329 F.Supp. 601, 607 (S.D.N.Y.1971). Because it is virtually impossible to write about a particular historical era or fictional theme without employing certain "stock" or standard literary devices, we have held that scenes a faire are not copyrightable as a matter of law. See Reyher v. Children's Television Workshop, 533 F.2d 87, 91 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 980, 97 S.Ct. 492, 50 L.Ed.2d 588 (1976).

      39
      D
      40

      All of Hoehling's allegations of copying, therefore, encompass material that is non-copyrightable as a matter of law, rendering summary judgment entirely appropriate. We are aware, however, that in distinguishing between themes, facts, and scenes a faire on the one hand, and copyrightable expression on the other, courts may lose sight of the forest for the trees. By factoring out similarities based on non-copyrightable elements, a court runs the [618 F.2d 980] risk of overlooking wholesale usurpation of a prior author's expression. A verbatim reproduction of another work, of course, even in the realm of nonfiction, is actionable as copyright infringement. See Wainwright Securities, Inc. v. Wall Street Transcript Corp., 558 F.2d 91 (2d Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 1014, 98 S.Ct. 730 (1978). Thus, in granting or reviewing a grant of summary judgment for defendants, courts should assure themselves that the works before them are not virtually identical. In this case, it is clear that all three authors relate the story of the Hindenburg differently.

      41

      In works devoted to historical subjects, it is our view that a second author may make significant use of prior work, so long as he does not bodily appropriate the expression of another. Rosemont Enterprises, Inc., supra, 366 F.2d at 310. This principle is justified by the fundamental policy undergirding the copyright laws the encouragement of contributions to recorded knowledge. The "financial reward guaranteed to the copyright holder is but an incident of this general objective, rather than an end in itself." Berlin v. E. C. Publications, Inc., 329 F.2d 541, 543-44 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 822, 85 S.Ct. 46, 13 L.Ed.2d 33 (1964). Knowledge is expanded as well by granting new authors of historical works a relatively free hand to build upon the work of their predecessors.[7]

      42
      III
      43

      Finally, we affirm Judge Metzner's rejection of Hoehling's claims based on the common law of "unfair competition." Where, as here, historical facts, themes, and research have been deliberately exempted from the scope of copyright protection to vindicate the overriding goal of encouraging contributions to recorded knowledge, the states are pre-empted from removing such material from the public domain. See, e. g., Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Stiffel Co., 376 U.S. 225, 83 S.Ct. 1868, 10 L.Ed.2d 1050 (1964); Compco Corp. v. Day-Brite Lighting, Inc., 376 U.S. 234, 84 S.Ct. 779, 11 L.Ed.2d 669 (1964). "To forbid copying" in this case, "would interfere with the federal policy . . . of allowing free access to copy whatever the federal patent and copyright laws leave in the public domain." Id. at 237, 84 S.Ct. at 782.

      44

      The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

      45

      ---------------

      46

      [*] Of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, sitting by designation.

      47

      [1] Titler's account was published after the release of appellant's book. In an affidavit in this litigation, Titler states that he copied Hoehling's theory of sabotage. Hoehling, however, has never instituted a copyright action against Titler.

      48

      [2] Mooney, his publishers, and Universal entered into an agreement under which (1) Universal acquired the film rights to Mooney's book, (2) Universal agreed to promote sales of the book, and (3) Mooney would receive a percentage fee, tied to sales of his book. Hoehling claims that because of this arrangement, Universal is vicariously liable if Mooney's book, but not the motion picture, is held to infringe his copyright. In view of our disposition of the appeal, however, we need not address this issue.

      49

      [3] At the same time, Judge Smith denied Universal's motion for summary judgment, concluding it was inappropriate prior to the completion of requested discovery.

      50

      [4] In Sheldon, both works were loosely based on an actual murder committed by a young Scottish girl. Judge Hand, however, clearly dealt only with the fictional plots conceived by the respective authors. See Sheldon v. Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corp., 81 F.2d 49, 54 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 298 U.S. 669, 56 S.Ct. 835, 80 L.Ed. 1392 (1936).

      51

      [5] This circuit has permitted extensive reliance on prior works of history. See, e. g., Gardner v. Nizer, 391 F.Supp. 940 (S.D.N.Y.1975) (the story of the Rosenberg trial not copyrightable); Fuld v. National Broadcasting Co., 390 F.Supp. 877 (S.D.N.Y.1975) ("Bugsy" Siegel's life story not copyrightable); Greenbie v. Noble, 151 F.Supp. 45 (S.D.N.Y.1957) (the life of Anna Carroll, a member of Lincoln's cabinet, not copyrightable). The commentators are in accord with this view. See, e. g. 1 Nimmer on Copyright § 2.11(A) (1979); Chafee, Reflections on the Law of Copyright: I, 45 Colum.L.Rev. 503, 511 (1945).

      52

      [6] In detailed comparisons of his book with Mooney's work and Universal's motion picture, Hoehling isolates 266 and 75 alleged instances of copying, respectively. Judge Metzner correctly pointed out that many of these allegations are patently frivolous. The vast majority of the remainder deals with alleged copying of historical facts. It would serve no purpose to review Hoehling's specific allegations in detail in this opinion. The following ten examples, however, are illustrative: (1) Eric Spehl's age and birthplace; (2) Crew members had smuggled monkeys on board the Graf Zeppelin; (3) Germany's ambassador to the United States dismissed threats of sabotage; (4) A warning letter had been received from a Mrs. Rauch; (5) The Hindenburg's captain was constructing a new home in Zeppelinheim; (6) Eric Spehl was a photographer; (7) The airship flew over Boston; (8) The Hindenburg was "tail heavy" before landing; (9) A member of the ground crew had etched his name in the zeppelin's hull; and (10) The navigator set the Hindenburg's course by reference to various North Atlantic islands.

      53

      [7] We note that publication of Mooney's book and release of the motion picture revived long dormant interest in the Hindenburg. As a result, Hoehling's book, which had been out of print for some time, was actually re-released after the film was featured in theaters across the country.

  • 3 Week 3

    • 3.1 Pivot Point, Int'l v. Charlene Products (2004)

      1

      372 F.3d 913

      2
      PIVOT POINT INTERNATIONAL, INCORPORATED, Plaintiff-Appellant, Cross-Appellee,
      v.
      CHARLENE PRODUCTS, INCORPORATED and Peter Yau, Defendants-Appellees, Cross-Appellants.
      3

      No. 01-3888.
      No. 02-1152.
      United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
      Argued June 6, 2003.
      Decided June 25, 2004.
      Rehearing En Banc Denied August 10, 2004.[1]

      4

      [915] Robert E. Browne (Argued), Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant, Cross-Appellee.

      5

      James B. Meyer (Argued), Meyer & Wyatt, Gary, IN, Martin H. Redish (Argued), Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, Chicago, IL, for Defendants-Appellees, Cross-Appellants.

      6

      Before RIPPLE, KANNE and DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judges.

      7

      RIPPLE, Circuit Judge. Pivot Point International, Inc. ("Pivot Point"), brought this cause of action against Charlene Products, Inc., and its president Peter Yau (collectively "Charlene"), for copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 501(b). The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants on the ground that the copied subject matter, a mannequin head, was not copyrightable under the Copyright Act of 1976 ("1976 Act"), 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. For the reasons set forth in the following opinion, we reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion. 

      8
      I. BACKGROUND
      9
      A. Facts
      10

      Pivot Point develops and markets educational techniques and tools for the hair design industry. It was founded in 1965 by Leo Passage, an internationally renowned hair designer. One aspect of Pivot Point's business is the design and development of mannequin heads, "slip-ons" (facial forms that slip over a mannequin head) and component hair pieces.

      11

      In the mid-1980s, Passage desired to develop a mannequin that would imitate the "hungry look" of high-fashion, runway models. Passage believed that such a mannequin could be marketed as a premium item to cutting-edge hair-stylists and to stylists involved in hair design competitions. Passage then worked with a German artist named Horst Heerlein to create an original sculpture of a female human head. Although Passage discussed his vision with Heerlein, Passage did not give Heerlein any specific dimensional requirements. From Passage's description, Heerlein created a sculpture in plaster entitled "Mara."

      12

      Wax molds of Mara were made and sent to Pivot Point's manufacturer in Hong Kong. The manufacturer created exact reproductions of Mara in polyvinyl chloride ("PVC"). The manufacturer filled the PVC form with a liquid that expands and hardens into foam. The process of creating the Mara sculpture and of developing the mannequin based on the sculpture took approximately eighteen months.

      13

      In February of 1988, when Pivot Point first inspected the PVC forms of Mara, it discovered that the mannequin's hairline had been etched too high on the forehead. The manufacturer corrected the mistake by adding a second, lower hairline. Although the first, higher hairline was visible upon inspection, it was covered with implanted hair. The early PVC reproductions of Mara, and Pivot Point's first shipment of the mannequins in May of 1988, possessed the double hairlines.

      14

      About the same time that it received its first shipment of mannequins, Pivot Point obtained a copyright registration for the design of Mara, specifically the bareheaded female human head with no makeup or hair. Heerlein assigned all of his rights in the Mara sculpture to Pivot Point. Pivot Point displayed the copyright notice in the name of Pivot Point on each mannequin.

      15

      Pivot Point enjoyed great success with its new mannequin. To respond to customer demand, Pivot Point began marketing the Mara mannequin with different types and lengths of hair, different skin [916] tones and variations in makeup; however, no alterations were made to the facial features of the mannequin. For customer ease in identification, Pivot Point changed the name of the mannequin based on its hair and skin color; for instance, a Mara mannequin implanted with yak hair was called "Sonja," and the Mara mannequin implanted with blonde hair was called "Karin."

      16

      At a trade show in 1989, Charlene, a wholesaler of beauty products founded by Mr. Yau,[2] displayed its own "Liza" mannequin, which was very close in appearance to Pivot Point's Mara. In addition to the strikingly similar facial features, Liza also exhibited a double hairline that the early Mara mannequins possessed.

      17

      On September 24, 1989, Pivot Point noticed Charlene for copyright infringement. When Charlene refused to stop importing and selling the Liza mannequin, Pivot Point filed this action.[3]

      18
      B. District Court Proceedings
      19

      Pivot Point filed a multi-count complaint in district court against Charlene. It alleged violations of federal copyright law as well as state-law claims; Charlene both answered the complaint and counterclaimed. After extensive discovery, Pivot Point filed a comprehensive motion for summary judgment on its complaint and Charlene's counterclaims. Charlene filed several cross-motions for summary judgment as well. The district court tentatively ruled on these motions in July 2001 and issued a final ruling in October 2001.

      20
      1. Merits
      21

      In its opinion, the district court stated that "[t]he principal dispute is whether a human mannequin head is copyrightable subject matter. If it is, then there must be a trial on the question whether Liza is a knock off of Mara." R.401 at 1. The district court explained that, although sculptural works are copyrightable under 17 U.S.C. § 102(a)(5), sculptures that may be copyrighted are limited by the language of 17 U.S.C. § 101, which provides in relevant part:

      22

      Such works shall include works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned; the design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be considered a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.

      23

      According to the district court, there was no question that Mara was a sculpture. However, in the district court's view, the sculpture served utilitarian ends. "Students in beauty schools practice styling hair on Mara's head and may practice other skills by applying makeup to Mara's eyes, lips, and cheeks. The parties dispute which functions are primary." R.401 at 2.

      24

      The district court then explored whether the artistic and utilitarian aspects of Mara were "separable" for purposes of the piece's copyrightability: "The statutory separability requirement confines copyright protection to those aspects of the design that exist apart from its utilitarian value, and that could be removed without reducing the usefulness of the item." Id. at 3. The district court observed that [917] drawing this line is particularly troublesome.

      25

      The statute, continued the district court, is generally recognized to suggest two types of separability: physical separability and conceptual separability. The district court explained that physical separability occurs when the ornamental nature of the object can be physically removed from the object and that

      26

      [c]onceptual separability differs from physical separability by asking not whether the features to be copyrighted could be sliced off for separate display, but whether one can conceive of this process. Relying on a comment in the House Report on the 1976 amendments, the second circuit in Kieselstein-Cord [v. Accessories by Pearl, Inc., 632 F.2d 989 (2d Cir.1980),] purported to adopt conceptual separability as the exclusive test (632 F.2d at 992, contrasting that approach with Esquire [v. Ringer, 591 F.2d 796 (D.C.Cir.1978)], which opted for physical separability, 591 F.2d at 803-04). Why a court should repair to the legislative history is unclear; the second circuit did not identify any ambiguity in § 101 that needed to be resolved, and a statement in the House Report that what appears on the face of the statutory text to be two requirements (physical and conceptual separability) should be administered as just one is not a proposition that in today's legal climate can be indulged. The Supreme Court does not permit the use of legislative history to alter, as opposed to elucidate, a statutory text.

      27

      Id. at 4.

      28

      Despite this lack of statutory moorings, the district court nevertheless reviewed the differing formulations for conceptual separability and determined that the definition proposed by Professor Paul Goldstein was the best one: "a pictorial, graphic or sculptural feature incorporated in the design of a useful article is conceptually separable if it can stand on its own as work of art traditionally conceived, and if the useful article in which it is embodied would be equally useful without it." R.401 at 5 (quoting 1 Paul Goldstein, Copyright: Principles, Law & Practice § 2.5.3, at 109 (1989)). The district court believed that the strength of this definition "comes from the fact that it differs little, if at all, from the test of physical separability embraced by the D.C. Circuit in Esquire and by the majority in Carol Barnhart [Inc., v. Economy Cover Corp., 773 F.2d 411, 418 (2d Cir.1985)]." Id. Applying this test led the district court to conclude that

      29

      Mara cannot be copyrighted because, even though one can conceive of Mara as a sculpture displayed as art, it would not be equally useful if the features that Pivot Point want to copyright were removed. So long as a utilitarian function is makeup tutoring and practice and the fact that Pivot Points sells Mara without eye or lip coloring shows that this is a function even if not, in Pivot Point's view, the "primary" one — the utilitarian value would be diminished by removing the aesthetic features that Pivot Point wants to protect by copyright.

      30

      Id.

      31

      As a final matter, the district court distinguished two cases, Hart v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co., 86 F.3d 320 (2d Cir.1996), and Superior Form Builders, Inc. v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co., Inc., 74 F.3d 488 (4th Cir.1996), which upheld the copyrightability of animal and fish mannequins. The district court found the Hart case unpersuasive, but concluded that "one cannot say of Mara what the fourth circuit said of animal mannequins: Mara is valued not for 'its own appearance' but for what it enables students to do and learn. Mara is a 'useful article' as § 101 and Superior Form Builders deploy that term." Id. at 6.

      32
      2. Fee Petition
      33

      [918] Although fees are available under the 1976 Act, the district court's order made no provision for fees. Charlene, therefore, sought an award of attorneys' fees of approximately $421,915 pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505. Charlene submitted its fees to Pivot Point and sought to confer and exchange information as required by Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 54.3(d). Pivot Point would not participate in this exercise on the basis that any fee request would be untimely because Charlene had missed the fourteen-day deadline for filing a fee motion set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(2)(B).

      34

      Charlene then moved for an instruction from the district court ordering Pivot Point to participate in the fee request process but the district court refused. It explained that its "opinion and declaratory judgment resolving this case on the merits did not make any provision for attorneys' fees." R.413 at 1. Because the judgment did not contain an order with respect to an attorneys' fee petition, the district court did not believe Local Rule 54.3 was applicable. Instead, the parties were bound by the fourteen-day deadline set forth in Federal Rule 54(d)(2)(B). Furthermore, the district court believed that its reading of Local Rule 54.3 — as not extending the time period allowed in Federal Rule 54 — saved the local rule because otherwise it would be inconsistent with Federal Rule 54 and therefore invalid pursuant to Federal Rule 83.[4]

      35

      Finally, the district court acknowledged that it had the discretion to extend the time to file such a motion; however, it stated that it was "not even slightly disposed to grant any [extension], because the parties knew well before October 2 what the judgment was likely to provide." Id. at 1.

      36

      Pivot Point now appeals from the district court's summary judgment in favor of Charlene; Charlene appeals from the district court's judgment with respect to its attorneys' fee petition.

      37
      II. ANALYSIS
      38
      A. Standard of Review
      39

      This court reviews de novo a district court's grant of summary judgment. See Silk v. City of Chicago, 194 F.3d 788, 798 (7th Cir.1999). In evaluating the judgment, we "construe all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable and justifiable inferences in favor of that party." Bellaver v. Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485, 491-92 (7th Cir.2000). If the record shows "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law," summary judgment is appropriate. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

      40
      B. Copyrightability
      41

      [919] The central issue in this case is whether the Mara mannequin is subject to copyright protection. This issue presents, at bottom, a question of statutory interpretation. We therefore begin our analysis with the language of the statute. Two provisions contained in 17 U.S.C. § 101 are at the center of our inquiry. The first of these is the description of pictorial, graphic and sculptural works:

      42

      Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works" include two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models, and technical drawings, including architectural plans. Such works shall include works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned; the design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.

      43

      The definition section further provides that "[a] 'useful article' is an article having an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information. An article that is normally a part of a useful article is considered a 'useful article.'" 17 U.S.C. § 101. As is clear from the definition of pictorial, graphic and sculptural work, only "useful article[s]," as the term is further defined, are subject to the limitation contained in the emphasized language above. If an article is not "useful" as the term is defined in § 101, then it is a pictorial, graphic and sculptural work entitled to copyright protection (assuming the other requirements of the statute are met).

      44
      1. Usefulness
      45

      Pivot Point submits that the Mara mannequin is not a "useful article" for purposes of § 101 because its "inherent nature is to portray the appearance of runway models. Its value," continues Pivot Point, "resides in how well it portrays the appearance of runway models, just as the value of a bust — depicting Cleopatra, for example, ... — would be in how well it approximates what one imagines the subject looked like." Appellant's Br. at 19. Pivot Point relies upon the decisions of the Fourth Circuit in Superior Form Builders and of the Second Circuit in Hart for the proposition that mannequins, albeit in those cases animal and fish mannequins, are not useful articles. Specifically, the Fourth Circuit explained that

      46

      [a] mannequin provides the creative form and expression of the ultimate animal display.... Even though covered with a skin, the mannequin is not invisible but conspicuous in the final display. The angle of the animal's head, the juxtaposition of its body parts, and the shape of the body parts in the final display is little more than the portrayal of the underlying mannequin. Indeed, the mannequin can even portray the intensity of flexed body parts, or it can reveal the grace of relaxed ones. None of these expressive aspects of a mannequin is lost by covering the mannequin with a skin. Thus, any utilitarian aspect of the mannequin exists "merely to portray the appearance" of the animal.

      47

      Superior Form Builders, 74 F.3d at 494; see also Hart, 86 F.3d at 323 ("The function of the fish form is to portray its own appearance, and that fact is enough to bring it within the scope of the Copyright Act."). Consequently, in Pivot Point's view, because the Mara mannequin performs functions similar to those of animal [920] and fish mannequins, it is not a useful article and is therefore entitled to full copyright protection.

      48

      Charlene presents us with a different view. It suggests that, unlike the animal mannequins at issue in Superior Form Builders and in Hart, the Mara mannequin does have a useful function other than portraying an image of a high-fashion runway model. According to Charlene, Mara also is marketed and used for practicing the art of makeup application. Charlene points to various places in the record that establish that Mara is used for this purpose and is, therefore, a useful article subject to the limiting language of § 101.

      49

      Pivot Point strongly disputes that the record establishes such a use and argues that the district court's reliance on Charlene's alleged proof improperly resolves an issue of fact against the non-moving party in contravention of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.[5] Indeed, our own review of the record leads us to believe that many of the documents cited by Charlene are susceptible to more than one interpretation.

      50

      Nevertheless, we shall assume that the district court correctly ruled that Mara is a useful article and proceed to examine whether, despite that usefulness, it is amenable to copyright protection.

      51
      2. Separability
      52

      We return to the statutory language. A useful article falls within the definition of pictorial, graphic or sculptural works "only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article." 17 U.S.C. § 101.[6] It is common [921] ground between the parties and, indeed, among the courts that have examined the issue, that this language, added by the 1976 Act, was intended to distinguish creative works that enjoy protection from elements of industrial design that do not. See H.R.Rep. No. 94-1476, at 55 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5668 (stating that the purpose behind this language was "to draw as clear a line as possible between copyrightable works of applied art and uncopyrighted works of industrial design"). Although the Congressional goal was evident, application of this language has presented the courts with significant difficulty. Indeed, one scholar has noted: "Of the many fine lines that run through the Copyright Act, none is more troublesome than the line between protectible pictorial, graphic and sculptural works and unprotectible utilitarian elements of industrial design." Paul Goldstein, 1 Copyright § 2.5.3, at 2:56 (2d ed.2004).

      53

      The difficulty in the application of this language would not have come, in all likelihood, as a surprise to the Congressional drafters. The language employed by Congress is not the language of a bright-line rule of universal application. Indeed, the circuits that have addressed the interpretative problem now before us uniformly have recognized that the wording of the statute does not supply categorical direction, but rather requires the Copyright Office and the courts "to continue their efforts to distinguish applied art and industrial design." Robert C. Denicola, Applied Art & Industrial Design: A Suggested Approach to Copyright in Useful Articles, 67 Minn. L.Rev. 707, 730 (1983). In short, no doubt well-aware of the myriad of factual scenarios to which its policy guidance would have to be applied, Congress wisely chose to provide only general policy guidance to be implemented on a case-by-case basis through the Copyright Office and the courts.

      54

      Even though the words of the statute do not yield a definitive answer, we believe that the statutory language nevertheless provides significant guidance in our task. We therefore shall examine in more detail what that language has to tell us, and we return to the necessary starting point of our task, § 101.

      55

      The statutory language provides that "the design of a useful article ... shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article." Although the italicized clause contains two operative phrases — "can be identified separately from" and "are capable of existing independently of" — we believe, as have the other courts that have grappled with this issue,[7] that Congress, in amending the statute, intended these two phrases to state a single, integrated standard to determine when there is sufficient separateness between the utilitarian and artistic aspects of a work to justify copyright protection.

      56

      [922] Certainly, one approach to determine whether material can be "identified separately," and the most obvious, is to rely on the capacity of the artistic material to be severed physically from the industrial design. See Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 74 S.Ct. 460, 98 L.Ed. 630 (1954) (holding that a statuette incorporated into the base of a lamp is copyrightable). When a three-dimensional article is the focus of the inquiry, reliance on physical separability can no doubt be a helpful tool in ascertaining whether the artistic material in question can be separated from the industrial design. As Professor Denicola points out, however, such an approach really is not of much use when the item in question is two-dimensional. See Denicola, supra, at 744. Indeed, because this provision, by its very words, was intended to apply to two-dimensional material, it is clear that a physical separability test cannot be the exclusive test for determining copyrightability.

      57

      It seems to be common ground between the parties and, indeed, among the courts and commentators, that the protection of the copyright statute also can be secured when a conceptual separability exists between the material sought to be copyrighted and the utilitarian design in which that material is incorporated.[8] The [923] difficulty lies not in the acceptance of that proposition, which the statutory language clearly contemplates, but in its application. As noted by Pivot Point, the following tests have been suggested for determining when the artistic and utilitarian aspects of useful articles are conceptually separable: 1) the artistic features are "primary" and the utilitarian features "subsidiary," Kieselstein-Cord, 632 F.2d at 993; 2) the useful article "would still be marketable to some significant segment of the community simply because of its aesthetic qualities," Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, 1 Nimmer on Copyright § 2.08[B][3], at 2-101 (2004); 3) the article "stimulate[s] in the mind of the beholder a concept that is separate from the concept evoked by its utilitarian function," Carol Barnhart, 773 F.2d at 422 (Newman, J., dissenting); 4) the artistic design was not significantly influenced by functional considerations, see Brandir Int'l, 834 F.2d at 1145 (adopting the test forwarded in Denicola, supra, at 741); 5) the artistic features "can stand alone as a work of art traditionally conceived, and ... the useful article in which it is embodied would be equally useful without it," Goldstein, 1 Copyright § 2.5.3, at 2:67; and 6) the artistic features are not utilitarian, see William F. Patry, 1 Copyright Law & Practice 285 (1994).

      58

      Pivot Point submits that "the test for conceptual separability should reflect the focus of copyright law — the artistic, not the marketability, design process, or usefulness." Appellant's Br. at 26. According to Pivot Point, the central inquiry is whether the article is a "'work of art.'" Id. Pivot Point further explains:

      59

      Conceptual separability would inhere in a "work of art" integrated into a useful article, or a "work of art" put to unexpected use, since the independent concepts of art and utility coexist. Conceptual separability would not exist in a useful article rendered simply aesthetically pleasing, since the independent concept of art does not exist, only the "artistic" embellishment to its utility, so that such "artistic" features are actually utilitarian. Should the "artistic" embellishment of utility reach the level of a "work of art," however, conceptual separability may exist.

      60

      Id. at 26-27. This test, Pivot Point suggests, has the additional benefit of "satisf[ying] most, if not all, of the current definitions of conceptual separability." Id. at 27.

      61

      Charlene, by contrast, lauds the district court's adoption of Professor Goldstein's test. "Under Goldstein's test," Charlene [924] asserts, "'a pictorial, graphic or sculptural feature incorporated in the design of a useful article is conceptually separable if it can stand on its own as a work of art traditionally conceived, and if the useful article in which it is embodied would be equally useful without it.'" Appellees' Br. at 26 (quoting R.401 at 5; emphasis added). Charlene contends that this approach mirrors that adopted by the majority in Carol Barnhart Inc. v. Economy Cover Corp., 773 F.2d 411 (2d Cir.1985), "the most closely related precedent to the case at bar." Appellees' Br. at 26.

      62

      Although both sides present thoughtful explanations for their proposed tests, we perceive shortcomings in the parties' choices. With respect to Pivot Point's focus on the article as a "work of art," it is certainly correct that Congress, in enacting § 101, attempted to separate the artistic from the utilitarian. However, this approach necessarily involves judges in a qualitative evaluation of artistic endeavors — a function for which judicial office is hardly a qualifier. With respect to the Charlene's approach, we believe that the test, at least when applied alone, is tied too closely to physical separability and, consequently, does not give a sufficiently wide berth to Congress' determination that artistic material conceptually separate from the utilitarian design can satisfy the statutory mandate.

      63

      In articulating a meaningful approach to conceptual separability, we note that we are not the first court of appeals to deal with this problem. The work of our colleagues in the other circuits provides significant insights into our understanding of Congressional intent. Indeed, even when those judges have disagreed on the appropriate application of the Congressional mandate to the case before them, their insight yield a bountiful harvest for those of us who now walk the same interpretative path.

      64

      Among the circuits, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has had occasion to wrestle most comprehensively with the notion of "conceptual separability." Its case law represents, we believe, an intellectual journey that has explored the key aspects of the problem. We therefore turn to a study of the key stages of doctrinal development in its case law.

      65
      a.
      66

      The Second Circuit first grappled with the issue of conceptual separability in Kieselstein-Cord v. Accessories by Pearl, Inc., 632 F.2d 989 (2d Cir.1980). In that case, Kieselstein-Cord, a jewelry designer, had created a line of decorative and jeweled belt buckles inspired by works of art; he obtained copyright registrations for his designs. When the line was successful, Accessories by Pearl, Inc., ("Pearl") copied the designs and marketed its own, less-expensive versions of the belt buckles. Kieselstein-Cord then sued Pearl for copyright infringement; however, Pearl claimed that the belt buckles were not copyrightable because they were "'useful articles' with no 'pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects' of the buckles." Id. at 991-92. The Second Circuit disagreed. Although it did not articulate a specific test for evaluating conceptual separability, it focused on the "primary" and "subsidiary" elements of the article and concluded:

      67

      We see in appellant's belt buckles conceptually separable sculptural elements, as apparently have the buckles' wearers who have used them as ornamentation for parts of the body other than the waist. The primary ornamental aspect of the Vaquero and Winchester buckles is conceptually separable from their subsidiary utilitarian function. This conclusion is not at variance with the [925] expressed congressional intent to distinguish copyrightable applied art and uncopyrightable industrial design. Pieces of applied art, these buckles may be considered jewelry, the form of which is subject to copyright protection.

      68

      Id. at 993 (internal citations omitted).[9]

      69
      b.
      70

      The Second Circuit revisited the issue of conceptual separability in Carol Barnhart Inc. v. Economy Cover Corp., 773 F.2d 411 (2d Cir.1985). In that case, Carol Barnhart, a provider of retail display items, developed four mannequins consisting of human torsos for the display of shirts and jackets. It obtained copyright registrations for each of the forms.[10] When a competitor, Economy Cover, copied the designs, Carol Barnhart claimed infringement of that copyright. The Second Circuit held that the designs were not copyrightable. It explained:

      71

      [W]hile copyright protection has increasingly been extended to cover articles having a utilitarian dimension, Congress has explicitly refused copyright protection for works of applied art or industrial design which have aesthetic or artistic features that cannot be identified separately from the useful article. Such works are not copyrightable regardless of the fact that they may be "aesthetically satisfying and valuable.

      72

      Applying these principles, we are persuaded that since the aesthetic and artistic features of the Barnhart forms are inseparable from the forms' use as utilitarian articles the forms are not copyrightable.... [Barnhart] stresses that the forms have been responded to as sculptural forms, and have been used for purposes other than modeling clothes, e.g., as decorating props and signs without any clothing or accessories. While this may indicate that the forms are "aesthetically satisfying and valuable," it is insufficient to show that the forms possess aesthetic or artistic features that are physically or conceptually separable from the forms' use as utilitarian objects to display clothes. On the contrary, to the extent the forms possess aesthetically pleasing features, even when these features are considered in the aggregate, they cannot be conceptualized as existing independently of their utilitarian function.

      73

      Id. at 418 (internal citations omitted). The court also rejected the argument that Kieselstein-Cord was controlling. The majority explained that what distinguished the Kieselstein-Cord buckles from the Barnhart forms was "that the ornamented surfaces of the buckles were not in any respect required by their functions; the artistic and aesthetic features would thus be conceived as having been added to, or superimposed upon, an otherwise utilitarian article." Id. at 419.

      74

      Perhaps the most theoretical and comprehensive discussion of "conceptual separability," as opposed to physical separability, can be found in the dissenting opinion of Judge Newman in Carol Barnhart, 773 F.2d at 419. After reviewing the possible ways to determine conceptual separability, Judge Newman set forth his choice and rationale:

      75

      How, then, is "conceptual separateness" to be determined? In my view, the answer derives from the word "conceptual." For the design features to be "conceptually separate" from the utilitarian [926] aspects of the useful article that embodies the design, the article must stimulate in the mind of the beholder a concept that is separate from the concept evoked by its utilitarian function. The test turns on what may reasonably be understood to be occurring in the mind of the beholder or, as some might say, in the "mind's eye" of the beholder....

      76

      The "separateness" of the utilitarian and non-utilitarian concepts engendered by an article's design is itself a perplexing concept. I think the requisite "separateness" exists whenever the design creates in the mind of the ordinary observer two different concepts that are not inevitably entertained simultaneously. Again, the example of the artistically designed chair displayed in a museum may be helpful. The ordinary observer can be expected to apprehend the design of a chair whenever the object is viewed. He may, in addition, entertain the concept of a work of art, but, if this second concept is engendered in the observer's mind simultaneously with the concept of the article's utilitarian function, the requisite "separateness" does not exist. The test is not whether the observer fails to recognize the object as a chair but only whether the concept of the utilitarian function can be displaced in the mind by some other concept. That does not occur, at least for the ordinary observer, when viewing even the most artistically designed chair. It may occur, however, when viewing some other object if the utilitarian function of the object is not perceived at all; it may also occur, even when the utilitarian function is perceived by observation, perhaps aided by explanation, if the concept of the utilitarian function can be displaced in the observer's mind while he entertains the separate concept of some non-utilitarian function. The separate concept will normally be that of a work of art.

      77

      Id. at 422-23.

      78
      c.
      79

      The Second Circuit soon addressed conceptual separability again in Brandir International, Inc. v. Cascade Pacific Lumber Co., 834 F.2d 1142 (2d Cir.1987). That case involved the work of an artist, David Levine; specifically, Levine had created a sculpture of thick, interwoven wire. A cyclist friend of Levine's realized that the sculpture could, with modification, function as a bicycle rack and thereafter put Levine in touch with Brandir International, Inc. ("Brandir"). The artist and the Brandir engineers then worked to modify the sculpture to produce a workable and marketable bicycle rack. Their work culminated in the "Ribbon Rack," which Brandir began marketing in 1979. Shortly thereafter, Cascade Pacific Lumber Co. ("Cascade") began selling a similar product, and, in response, Brandir applied for copyright protection and began placing copyright notices on its racks. The Copyright Office, however, rejected the registration on the ground that the rack did not contain any element that was "capable of independent existence as a copyrightable pictorial, graphic or sculptural work apart from the shape of the useful article." Id. at 1146.

      80

      The court first considered the possible tests for conceptual separability in light of its past decisions and, notably, attempted to reconcile its earlier attempts:

      81

      Perhaps the differences between the majority and the dissent in Carol Barnhart might have been resolved had they had before them the Denicola article on Applied Art and Industrial Design: A Suggested Approach to Copyright in Useful Articles, [67 Minn. L.Rev. 707 (1983)].... Denicola argues that "the statutory directive requires a distinction [927] between works of industrial design and works whose origins lie outside the design process, despite the utilitarian environment in which they appear." He views the statutory limitation of copyrightability as "an attempt to identify elements whose form and appearance reflect the unconstrained perspective of the artist," such features not being the product of industrial design. Id. at 742. "Copyrightability, therefore, should turn on the relationship between the proffered work and the process of industrial design." Id. at 741. He suggests that "the dominant characteristic of industrial design is the influence of nonaesthetic, utilitarian concerns" and hence concludes that copyrightability "ultimately should depend on the extent to which the work reflects artistic expression uninhibited by functional considerations." Id. To state the Denicola test in the language of conceptual separability, if design elements reflect a merger of aesthetic and functional considerations, the artistic aspects of a work cannot be said to be conceptually separable from the utilitarian elements. Conversely, where design elements can be identified as reflecting the designer's artistic judgment exercised independently of functional influences, conceptual separability exists.

      82

      We believe that Professor Denicola's approach provides the best test for conceptual separability and, accordingly, adopt it here for several reasons. First, the approach is consistent with the holdings of our previous cases. In Kieselstein-Cord, for example, the artistic aspects of the belt buckles reflected purely aesthetic choices, independent of the buckles' function, while in Carol Barnhart the distinctive features of the torsos — the accurate anatomical design and the sculpted shirts and collars — showed clearly the influence of functional concerns.... Second, the test's emphasis on the influence of utilitarian concerns in the design process may help ... "alleviate the de facto discrimination against nonrepresentational art that has regrettably accompanied much of the current analysis." Id. at 745.

      83

      Id. at 1145 (footnotes omitted).

      84

      Applying Professor Denicola's test to the Ribbon Rack, the court found that the rack was not copyrightable. The court stated that, "[h]ad Brandir merely adopted one of the existing sculptures as a bicycle rack, neither the application to a utilitarian end nor commercialization of that use would have caused the object to forfeit its copyrighted status." Id. at 1147. However, when the Ribbon Rack was compared to earlier sculptures, continued the court, it was "in its final form essentially a product of industrial design." Id.

      85

      In creating the RIBBON Rack, the designer ... clearly adapted the original aesthetic elements to accommodate and further a utilitarian purpose. These altered design features of the RIBBON Rack, including the spacesaving, open design achieved by widening the upper loops ..., the straightened vertical elements that allow in- and above-ground installation of the rack, the ability to fit all types of bicycles and mopeds, and the heavy-gauged tubular construction of rustproof galvanized steel, are all features that combine to make for a safe, secure, and maintenance-free system of parking bicycles and mopeds.

      86

      . . .

      87

      ... While the RIBBON Rack may be worthy of admiration for its aesthetic qualities alone, it remains nonetheless the product of industrial design. Form and function are inextricably intertwined in the rack, its ultimate design being as much the result of utilitarian pressures as aesthetic choices.... Thus there remains no artistic element of the RIBBON Rack that can be identified as [928] separate and "capable of existing independently, of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.

      88

      Id. at 1146-47.

      89
      d.
      90

      We believe that the experience of the Second Circuit is also reflected in the more recent encounter of the Fourth Circuit with the same problem. In Superior Form Builders, Inc. v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co., Inc., 74 F.3d 488 (4th Cir.1996), the court considered whether animal mannequins qualified for copyright protection. The Fourth Circuit first considered whether the mannequins were useful articles as defined by § 101 and concluded that they were not:

      91

      A mannequin provides the creative form and expression of the ultimate animal display.... Even though covered with a skin, the mannequin is not invisible but conspicuous in the final display. The angle of the animal's head, the juxtaposition of its body parts, and the shape of the body parts in the final display is little more than the portrayal of the underlying mannequin.... None of these expressive aspects of a mannequin is lost by covering the mannequin with a skin. Thus, any utilitarian aspect of the mannequin exists "merely to portray the appearance" of the animal. See 17 U.S.C. § 101.

      92

      ... It is the portrayal of the animal's body expression given by the mannequin that is thus protectable under the Copyright Act. We therefore agree with the district court in this case because "the usefulness of the forms is their portrayal of the appearance of animals." The mannequin forms "by definition are not useful articles.

      93

      Id. at 494 (quoting Superior Form Builders v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co., Inc., 851 F.Supp. 222, 223 (E.D.Va.1994)).

      94

      The court, however, also considered whether, if useful, the utilitarian and aesthetic aspects of the mannequin were separable:

      95

      To the extent that an argument can be made that the mannequins in this case perform a utilitarian function — other than portraying themselves — by supporting the mounted skins, we believe the function to be conceptually separable from the works' sculptural features. See Brandir Int'l, Inc. v. Cascade Pac. Lumber Co., 834 F.2d 1142, 1145 (2d Cir.1987) ("Where design elements can be identified as reflecting the designer's artistic judgment exercised independently of functional influences, conceptual separability exists."); Kieselstein-Cord v. Accessories by Pearl, Inc., 632 F.2d 989, 993 (2d Cir.1980) (finding sculptural element of belt buckle conceptually separable from utilitarian function).

      96

      Id. Thus, without specifically adopting one of the tests of conceptual separability, the Fourth Circuit determined that artistic work put into the design of the animal frame was copyrightable; the fact that a skin was placed on the model and that the model, therefore, was useful in the display of the skin did not negate the artistic elements of the design.[11]

      97
      e.
      98

      [929] There is one final Second Circuit case that bears comment. In Mattel, Inc. v. Goldberger Doll Manufacturing Co., 365 F.3d 133 (2d Cir.2004), the Second Circuit rejected the idea that a particular expression of features on a doll's face was not subject to copyright protection. The case arose out of the alleged copying of the facial features of Mattel's Barbie dolls by Goldberger Doll Manufacturing when creating its "Rockettes 2000" doll. On Goldberger's motion for summary judgment, the district court held that "copyright protection did not extend to Barbie's eyes, nose, and mouth ...." Id. at 134. The Second Circuit reversed. Although it did not speak specifically in terms of conceptual separability, the court's reasoning is nevertheless instructive; it stated:

      99

      The proposition that standard or common features are not protected is inconsistent with copyright law. To merit protection from copying, a work need not be particularly novel or unusual. It need only have been "independently created" by the author and possess "some minimal degree of creativity." Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 345, 111 S.Ct. 1282, 113 L.Ed.2d 358 (1991).... There are innumerable ways of making upturned noses, bow lips, and widely spaced eyes. Even if the record had shown that many dolls possess upturned noses, bow lips, and wide-spread eyes, it would not follow that each such doll — assuming it was independently created and not copied from others — would not enjoy protection from copying.

      100

      Id. at 135 (footnotes and parallel citations omitted). Additionally, the court noted the scope of the copyright protection that the Barbie dolls enjoyed:

      101

      The copyright does not protect ideas; it protects only the author's particularized expression of the idea. Thus, Mattel's copyright in a doll visage with an upturned nose, bow lips, and widely spaced eyes will not prevent a competitor from making dolls with upturned noses, bow lips, and widely spaced eyes, even if the competitor has taken the idea from Mattel's example, so long as the competitor [930] has not copied Mattel's particularized expression. An upturned nose, bow lips, and wide eyes are the "idea" of a certain type of doll face. That idea belongs not to Mattel but to the public domain. But Mattel's copyright will protect its own particularized expression of that idea and bar a competitor from copying Mattel's realization of the Barbie features.

      102

      Id. at 136 (citations omitted).

      103
      C. Application
      104

      Each of these cases differs in the object at issue and the method by which the court evaluated whether the object was entitled to copyright protection. Yet, each court attempted to give effect to "the expressed congressional intent to distinguish copyrightable applied art and uncopyrightable industrial design." Kieselstein-Cord, 632 F.2d at 993; see also Carol Barnhart, 773 F.2d at 417-18 (reviewing legislative history in detail and concluding that, although "copyright protection has increasingly been extended to cover articles having a utilitarian dimension," Congress did not intend all useful articles that are "aesthetically satisfying or valuable" to be copyrightable); Brandir Int'l, 834 F.2d at 1145 (adopting Professor Denicola's test that makes copyrightability dependent upon "the extent to which the work reflects artistic expression uninhibited by functional considerations" (internal quotation marks and citations omitted)); Superior Form Builders, 74 F.3d at 494 (distinguishing the animal mannequins at issue from "aesthetically pleasing articles of industrial design").

      105

      The Second Circuit cases exhibit a progressive attempt to forge a workable judicial approach capable of giving meaning to the basic Congressional policy decision to distinguish applied art from uncopyrightable industrial art or design. In Kieselstein-Cord, the Second Circuit attempted to distinguish artistic expression from industrial design by focusing on the present use of the item, i.e., the "primary ornamental aspect" versus the "subsidiary utilitarian function" of the object at issue. 632 F.2d at 993. In Carol Barnhart, the Second Circuit moved closer to a process-oriented approach:

      106

      What distinguishes those [Kieselstein-Cord] buckles from the Barnhart forms is that the ornamented surfaces of the buckles were not in any respect required by their utilitarian functions; the artistic and aesthetic features could thus be conceived of as having been added to, or superimposed upon, an otherwise utilitarian article. The unique artistic design was wholly unnecessary to performance of the utilitarian function. In the case of the Barnhart forms, on the other hand, the features claimed to be aesthetic or artistic, e.g., the life-size configuration of the breasts and the width of the shoulders, are inextricably intertwined with the utilitarian feature, the display of clothes. Whereas a model of a human torso, in order to serve its utilitarian function, must have some configuration of the chest and some width of shoulders, a belt buckle can serve its function satisfactorily without any ornamentation of the type that renders the Kieselstein-Cord buckles distinctive.

      107

      773 F.2d at 419. Thus, it was the fact that the creator of the torsos was driven by utilitarian concerns, such as how display clothes would fit on the end product, that deprived the human torsos of copyright protection.

      108

      This process-oriented approach for conceptual separability — focusing on the process of creating the object to determine whether it is entitled to copyright protection — is more fully articulated in Brandir and indeed reconciles the earlier case law pertaining to conceptual separability.

      109

      [T]he approach is consistent with the holdings of our previous cases. In Kieselstein-Cord, [931] for example, the artistic aspects of the belt buckles reflected purely aesthetic choices, independent of the buckles' function, while in Carol Barnhart the distinctive features of the torsos — the accurate anatomical design and the sculpted shirts and collars — showed clearly the influence of functional concerns. Though the torsos bore artistic features, it was evident the designer incorporated those features to further the usefulness of the torsos as mannequins.

      110

      Brandir, 834 F.2d at 1145.

      111

      Furthermore, Brandir is not inconsistent with the more theoretical rendition of Judge Newman in his Carol Barnhart dissent — that "the requisite 'separateness' exists whenever the design creates in the mind of an ordinary observer two different concepts that are not inevitably entertained simultaneously." 773 F.2d at 422. When a product has reached its final form as a result of predominantly functional or utilitarian considerations, it necessarily will be more difficult for the observer to entertain simultaneously two different concepts — the artistic object and the utilitarian object. In such circumstances, Brandir has the added benefit of providing a more workable judicial methodology by articulating the driving principle behind conceptual separability — the influence of industrial design. When the ultimate form of the object in question is "as much the result of utilitarian pressures as aesthetic choices," "[f]orm and function are inextricably intertwined," and the artistic aspects of the object cannot be separated from its utilitarian aspects for purposes of copyright protection. Brandir, 834 F.2d at 1147.

      112

      Conceptual separability exists, therefore, when the artistic aspects of an article can be "conceptualized as existing independently of their utilitarian function." Carol Barnhart, 773 F.2d at 418. This independence is necessarily informed by "whether the design elements can be identified as reflecting the designer's artistic judgment exercised independently of functional influences." Brandir, 834 F.2d at 1145. If the elements do reflect the independent, artistic judgment of the designer, conceptual separability exists. Conversely, when the design of a useful article is "as much the result of utilitarian pressures as aesthetic choices," id. at 1147, the useful and aesthetic elements are not conceptually separable.

      113

      Applying this test to the Mara mannequin, we must conclude that the Mara face is subject to copyright protection. It certainly is not difficult to conceptualize a human face, independent of all of Mara's specific facial features, i.e., the shape of the eye, the upturned nose, the angular cheek and jaw structure, that would serve the utilitarian functions of a hair stand and, if proven, of a makeup model. Indeed, one is not only able to conceive of a different face than that portrayed on the Mara mannequin, but one easily can conceive of another visage that portrays the "hungry look" on a high-fashion runway model. Just as Mattel is entitled to protection for "its own particularized expression" of an "upturned nose[], bow lips, and widely spaced eyes," Mattel, 365 F.3d at 136, so too is Heerlein (and, therefore, Pivot Point as assignee of the copyright registration) entitled to have his expression of the "hungry look" protected from copying.

      114

      Mara can be conceptualized as existing independent from its use in hair display or make-up training because it is the product of Heerlein's artistic judgment. When Passage approached Heerlein about creating the Mara sculpture, Passage did not provide Heerlein with specific dimensions or measurements; indeed, there is no evidence that Heerlein's artistic judgment was constrained by functional considerations. [932] Passage did not require, for instance, that the sculpture's eyes be a certain width to accommodate standard-sized eyelashes, that the brow be arched at a certain angle to facilitate easy make-up application or that the sculpture as a whole not exceed certain dimensional limits so as to fit within Pivot Point's existing packaging system. Such considerations, had they been present, would weigh against a determination that Mara was purely the product of an artistic effort. By contrast, after Passage met with Heerlein to discuss Passage's idea for a "hungry-look" model, Heerlein had carte blanche to implement that vision as he saw fit. Consequently, this is not a situation, such as was presented to the Second Circuit in Carol Barnhart, in which certain features ("accurate anatomical design and the sculpted shirts and collars") were included in the design for purely functional reasons. Brandir, 834 F.2d at 1145. Furthermore, unlike "the headless, armless, backless styrene torsos" which "were little more than glorified coat-racks used to display clothing in stores," Hart, 86 F.3d at 323, the creative aspects of the Mara sculpture were meant to be seen and admired. Thus, because Mara was the product of a creative process unfettered by functional concerns, its sculptural features "can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of," its utilitarian aspects. It therefore meets the requirements for conceptual separability and is subject to copyright protection.

      115
      Conclusion
      116

      The Mara mannequin is subject to copyright protection. We therefore must reverse the summary judgment in favor of Charlene Products and Mr. Yau; the case is remanded for a trial on Pivot Point's infringement claim. Furthermore, because Charlene Products and Mr. Yau have not prevailed on the merits at this point, the judgment of the district court with respect to attorneys' fees must be vacated. The cross-appeal with respect to attorneys' fees is moot. Pivot Point may recover its costs in this court.

      117

      REVERSED AND REMANDED; CROSS-APPEAL DISMISSED

      118

      __________

      119

      KANNE, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

      120

      Writing for the majority, Judge Ripple has applied his usual thorough and scholarly approach to this difficult intellectual property problem; however, I cannot join the majority opinion because I am not persuaded that the "Mara" mannequin is copyrightable. All functional items have aesthetic qualities. If copyright provided protection for functional items simply because of their aesthetic qualities, Congress's policy choice that gives less protection in patent than copyright would be undermined. See American Dental Ass'n v. Delta Dental Plans Ass'n, 126 F.3d 977, 980 (7th Cir.1997).

      121

      The majority rightly assumes that Mara is a "useful article" as defined in 17 U.S.C. § 101. Opinion at 920. To receive copyright protection as a "sculptural work," then, Mara must come within the narrow restrictions placed on "useful articles" in the definition of pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works:

      122
      [T]he design of a useful article ... shall be considered a... sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates ... sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.
      123

      17 U.S.C. § 101 (emphasis added). As the district court noted, the statute requires, on its face, that sculptural features must be separately identified from the utilitarian aspects of the article ("conceptual separability") and they must exist independently from the utilitarian aspects of the article [933] ("physical separability") in order to receive copyright protection. As to whether both conceptual and physical separability are required for copyrightability, most courts and commentators have concluded that only one or the other test is appropriate. But that issue is not presented here because Mara is not copyrightable regardless of whether both or either is applied.

      124

      Taking physical separability first, the district court used examples from case law to illustrate that the sculptural features in many useful items can be physically removed from the object and sold separately without affecting the functionality of the useful article. See, e.g., Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 74 S.Ct. 460, 98 L.Ed. 630 (1954) (holding that a sculpture of a dancer carved into the base of a lamp may be copyrighted); Kieselstein-Cord v. Accessories by Pearl, Inc., 632 F.2d 989 (2d Cir.1980) (holding that decorative belt buckles could be copyrighted as separate objects sold not to hold up one's pants).

      125

      Mara, on the other hand, has only functional attributes. Thus, any physical separation of a portion of her would not be independent of her utilitarian aspects. She is sold to beauty schools as a teaching device; students style her hair and apply makeup as realistic training for such pursuits on live subjects. A mannequin head without a neck, or with different eyes and musculature, would not serve the utilitarian purpose of applying makeup or teaching the art of matching hair styles to facial features. As the district court explained: "Beauty students style hair to flatter the face, not to be worn on featureless ovoids. The use of a mannequin head in training students of beauty schools lies in its aesthetic qualities." There is nothing in Mara that we could physically remove that would not be part of Mara's utility as a teaching aid. Like mannequins of human torsos, Carol Barnhart Inc. v. Economy Cover Corp., 773 F.2d 411, 418-19 (2d Cir.1985), mannequins of human faces are not physically separable from their functional purpose and are therefore not copyrightable.

      126

      Next, the district court considered various restatements of the meaning of "conceptual separability" (whether features can be identified or conceived of separately from the utilitarian aspects) and applied the most appropriate one to Mara. Professor Goldstein, in his treatise, Copyright: Principles, Law & Practice, presents a reasonable explanation of the statutory text: "a ... sculptural feature incorporated in the design of a useful article is conceptually separable if it can stand on its own as a work of art traditionally conceived, and if the useful article in which it is embodied would be equally useful without it." Mara has no conceptually separable features to which copyright protection could be granted. Her features are incapable of being identified separately from the utilitarian use of those features. Without features, the mannequin's head and neck would be little more than an egg on a stick, useless for its intended purpose. Mara possesses neither physical nor conceptual separability.

      127

      The majority, concluding that Congress intended "to state a single, integrated standard," deduced that the standard must be "conceptual separability." This may be correct, as it is very difficult to divine the distinction between physical and conceptual separability if those standards are properly stated. In my view, however, the majority's explanation of conceptual separability lacks a basis in the statute. As the majority sees it, conceptual separability "exists ... when the artistic aspects of an article can be conceptualized as existing independently of their utilitarian function." Opinion at 931. The majority further explains that the way to determine if this is the case is to look to the process of design: if independent "artistic" choices were made in the sculpture's creation, and such [934] choices were not later sullied by the influence of industrial design, then some of the useful article is a conceptually separable sculpture and therefore copyrightable, Opinion at 931-32.

      128

      Problematically, the majority's test for conceptual separability seems to bear little resemblance to the statute. The statute asks two questions: Does the useful article incorporate "sculptural features that can be identified separately from the utilitarian aspects" of the article? And are these features "capable of existing independently" from the utilitarian aspects? The copyright statute is concerned with protecting only non-utilitarian features of the useful article. To be copyrightable, the statute requires that the useful article's functionality remain intact once the copyrightable material is separated. In other words, Pivot Point needs to show that Mara's face is not a utilitarian "aspect" of the product "Mara," but rather a separate non-utilitarian "feature." The majority, by looking only to whether the features could also "be conceptualized as existing independently of their utilitarian function" and ignoring the more important question of whether the features themselves are utilitarian aspects of the useful article, mistakenly presupposes that utilitarian aspects of a useful article can be copyrighted. If we took away Mara's facial features, her functionality would be greatly diminished or eliminated, thus proving that her features cannot be copyrighted.

      129

      Moreover, the "process-oriented approach," advocated by the majority drifts even further away from the statute. Opinion at 930. The statute looks to the useful article as it exists, not to how it was created. I believe it simply is irrelevant to inquire into the origins of Mara's eyes, cheekbones, and neck. If such features have been fully incorporated as functional aspects of the mannequin, then copyright does not provide protection. Even if we were to look at the "process" that led to the creation of Mara, it is undeniable that, from the beginning, Pivot Point intended Mara to serve a functional purpose and commissioned her creation to fulfill that purpose (not to create a work of art for aesthetic beauty).

      130

      The majority, as evidenced by its emphasis on the fact that Charlene Products apparently copied Mara with its doll, "Liza," seems unduly concerned in this context with Charlene's questionable business practices. This is immaterial to the determination of whether the Mara doll is protected by copyright law. Importantly, other possible legal protections for Pivot Point's intellectual property — design patent, trademark, trade dress, and state unfair competition law — are available to address the majority's concerns. Copyright does not protect functional products. Charlene is free, under its own brand name, to copy and sell copies of useful articles that do not have patent protection. See, e.g., TrafFix Devices, Inc. v. Marketing Displays, Inc., 532 U.S. 23, 121 S.Ct. 1255, 149 L.Ed.2d 164 (2001); Bonito Boats, Inc. v. Thunder Craft Boats, Inc., 489 U.S. 141, 109 S.Ct. 971, 103 L.Ed.2d 118 (1989); Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Stiffel Co., 376 U.S. 225, 84 S.Ct. 784, 11 L.Ed.2d 661 (1964). I fear that the majority's opinion grants copyright protection to functional aspects of a useful article. I would, therefore, affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Charlene Products and Mr. Yau.

      131

      __________

      132

      [1] Chief Judge Joel M. Flaum, The Honorable Frank H. Easterbrook and The Honorable Ann Claire Williams did not participate in the consideration of the petition for rehearing en banc.

      133

      [2] Mr. Yau was not unfamiliar with Pivot Point. Shortly before founding Charlene Products in 1985, Mr. Yau had worked for Pivot Point.

      134

      [3] Charlene eventually obtained a copyright registration for its Liza mannequin.

      135

      [4] Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 83 provides:

      136

      (1) Each district court, acting by a majority of its district judges, may, after giving appropriate public notice and an opportunity for comment, make and amend rules governing its practice. A local rule shall be consistent with — but not duplicative of — Acts of Congress and rules adopted under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2072 and 2075, and shall conform to any uniform numbering system prescribed by the Judicial Conference of the United States. A local rule takes effect on the date specified by the district court and remains in effect unless amended by the court or abrogated by the judicial council of the circuit. Copies of rules and amendments shall, upon their promulgation, be furnished to the judicial council and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and be made available to the public.

      137

      Fed.R.Civ.P. 83(a)(1) (emphasis added).

      138

      [5] The district court relied heavily on this fact in concluding that Mara is a useful object:

      139

      Mara is a work of "applied art" and displays "artistic craftsmanship" — Pivot Point commissioned a sculptor to design a mannequin head that emulates features of runway models — but serves utilitarian ends: Students in beauty schools practice styling hair on Mara's head and may practice other skills by applying makeup to Mara's eyes, lips, and cheeks. The parties dispute which functions are primary. Charlene Products says that Mara is used primarily for practicing makeup; Pivot Point insists that its primary use is hair styling. This factual dispute might have legal significance if Pivot Point were contending that Mara's sole use is hair styling; then it is (barely) possible to imagine a suitable mannequin head devoid of human features. (The legal significance of this possibility is explicated below.) But Pivot Point contends only that Mara's "primary" use is hair styling; it does not deny that a use (if only, in its view, a secondary one) is the application of makeup and other beauty-school arts, and the evidence would not permit a reasonable jury to conclude that Mara has no utilitarian value for makeup practice. (Pivot Point says that it "generally" sells Mara with painted-on makeup, which reveals by negative implication that it also sells Mara without eye or cheek coloring, so that beauty-school students can add their own.)

      140

      R.401 at 2.

      141

      [6] Prior to the addition of this language in the 1976 Act, Congress had not explicitly authorized the Copyright Office to register "useful articles." Indeed, when Congress first extended copyright protection to three-dimensional works of art in 1870, copyright protection was limited to objects of fine art; objects of applied art still were not protected. See Paul Goldstein, 1 Copyright § 2.5.3 at 2:58 (2d ed.2004). This changed with the adoption of the Copyright Act of 1909 ("1909 Act"); Professor Goldstein explains:

      142
      The 1909 Act, which continued protection for three-dimensional works of art, dropped the requirement that they constitute fine art and thus opened the door to protection of useful works of art. In 1948, the Copyright Office broadened the scope of protection for three-dimensional works of art to cover "works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their utilitarian aspects are concerned." The United States Supreme Court upheld this interpretation in Mazer v. Stein, [347 U.S. 201, 213, 74 S.Ct. 460, 98 L.Ed. 630 (1954),] holding that the fact that statuettes in issue were intended for use in articles of manufacture — electric lamp bases — did not bar them from copyright. Five years later, in 1959, the Copyright Office promulgated a rule that if "the sole intrinsic function of an article is its utility, the fact that the work is unique and attractively shaped will not qualify it as a work of art." The regulation did, however, permit registration of features of a utilitarian article that "can be identified separately and are capable of existing independently as a work of art.
      143

      Id. (quoting 37 C.F.R. § 207.8(a) (1949) and 37 C.F.R. § 202.10(c) (1959); footnotes omitted).

      144

      [7] See infra note 8.

      145

      [8] Although the district court was skeptical that the statutory language encompassed both physical and conceptual separability, circuits have been almost unanimous in interpreting the language of § 101 to include both types of separability. See Superior Form Builders, Inc. v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co., Inc., 74 F.3d 488, 494 (4th Cir.1996) (asking whether functional aspects of animal mannequins are "conceptually separable from the works' sculptural features"); Brandir Int'l, Inc. v. Cascade Pac. Lumber Co., 834 F.2d 1142, 1144 (2d Cir.1987) (stating that "'[c]onceptual separability' is alive and well"); Carol Barnhart Inc. v. Econ. Cover Corp., 773 F.2d 411, 418 (2d Cir.1985) (judging copyrightability of mannequin torsos based on whether "forms possess aesthetic or artistic features that are physically or conceptually separable from the forms' use as utilitarian objects to display clothes"); Norris Indus., Inc. v. Int'l Tel. & Tel. Corp., 696 F.2d 918, 923 (11th Cir.1983) ("Both case law and legislative history indicate that separability encompasses works of art that are either physically severable from the utilitarian article or conceptually severable."); Kieselstein-Cord v. Accessories by Pearl, Inc., 632 F.2d 989, 993 (2d Cir.1980) (applying test of conceptual separability).

      146

      Only one appellate court has rejected the idea of conceptual separability. See Esquire, Inc. v. Ringer, 591 F.2d 796 (D.C.Cir.1978). In that case, arising under the 1909 Act, the Copyright Office had refused to register a design for outdoor lighting fixtures. The district court, however, believed the fixtures were copyrightable and issued a writ of mandamus that the copyright issue. However, the D.C. Circuit reversed. The precise question before the court was whether the regulation implementing the 1909 Act mandated that the Copyright Office register a copyright for the lighting fixtures. The regulation at issue provided:

      147
      (c) If the sole intrinsic function of an article is its utility, the fact that the article is unique and attractively shaped will not qualify it as a work of art. However, if the shape of a utilitarian article incorporates features, such as artistic sculpture, carving, or pictorial representation, which can be identified separately and are capable of existing independently as a work of art, such features will be eligible for registration.
      148

      Id. at 800 (quoting 37 C.F.R. § 202.10(b) (1976)). The Copyright Office took the position that the regulation barred "copyright registration for the overall shape or configuration of a utilitarian article, no matter how aesthetically pleasing that shape or configuration may be." Id. In determining whether to accept or reject the proffered interpretation, the court noted that "[c]onsiderable weight is to be given to an agency's interpretation of its regulations," especially when "an administrative interpretation relates to a matter within the field of administrative expertise." Id. at 801. The court concluded that the Copyright Office had adopted a "reasonable and well-supported interpretation of § 202.10(c)." Id. at 800. In the court's view, the interpretation was grounded in "the principle that industrial designs are not eligible for copyright." Id. The court also believed that the interpretation found support in the legislative history of the newly enacted 1976 Act. The court acknowledged, however, that the legislative history was not "free from ambiguity"; it explained:

      149
      Esquire could arguably draw some support from the statement that a protectable element of a utilitarian article must be separable "physically or conceptually" from the utilitarian aspects of the design. But any possible ambiguity raised by this isolated reference disappears when the excerpt is considered in its entirety. The underscored passages indicate unequivocally that the overall design or configuration of a utilitarian object, even if it is determined by aesthetic as well as functional considerations, is not eligible for copyright. Thus the legislative history, taken as congressional understanding of existing law, reinforces the Register's position.
      150

      Id. at 803-04.

      151

      As is evident from the passages set forth above, the issue addressed by the D.C. Circuit in Esquire arose in a much different procedural and legal environment than the issue in the present case. The court's focus in Esquire was a regulation adopted pursuant to the former law and its obligation to defer to the agency's interpretation of the law embodied in that regulation. Furthermore, the court acknowledged that the 1976 Act was "not applicable to the case before" it. Id. at 803. Given these differences, we do not believe that the D.C. Circuit would conclude that its decision in Esquire disposed of the issue of conceptual separability presently before this court.

      152

      [9] Judge Weinstein (sitting by designation) dissented. See Kieselstein-Cord, 632 F.2d at 993.

      153

      [10] There were a total of four mannequins at issue, two male and two female. Of those four, two of the mannequin forms were unclothed, and two were formed with one layer of clothing and were meant specifically for the display of outerwear.

      154

      [11] Notably, in Hart v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co., 86 F.3d 320 (2d Cir.1996), the Second Circuit shortly thereafter addressed the question whether a fish mannequin was copyrightable. Although the court did not address specifically the issue before us today, its analysis is nevertheless helpful. Referring to its decision in Carol Barnhart, the Second Circuit posed the question rather simplistically: "Is taxidermy different [for purposes of copyright protection]?" Id. at 321. The Second Circuit resolved that it is:

      155

      We do not agree that Barnhart mandates a finding that fish mannequins are "useful articles" undeserving of copyright protection.... [W]e do not believe that the Barnhart torsos can be analogized to the fish in this case. In Barnhart, the headless, armless, backless styrene torsos were little more than glorified coat-racks used to display clothing in stores. The torsos were designed to present the clothing, not their own forms. In taxidermy, by contrast, people look for more than a fish skin; they wish to see a complete "fish." The superficial characteristics of the fish, such as its color and texture, are admittedly conveyed by the skin, but the shape, volume, and movement of the animal are depicted by the underlying mannequin. Whether the fish is shown as resting, jumping, wiggling its tail, or preparing to munch on some plankton, is dictated by the mannequin and by its particular form, not by the skin.

      In short, the fish mannequin is designed to be looked at. That the fish mannequin is meant to be viewed clothed by a fish skin, rather than naked and on its own, makes no difference. The function of the fish form is to portray its own appearance, and that fact is enough to bring it within the scope of the Copyright Act. 17 U.S.C. § 101; accord Superior Form Builders v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co., 74 F.3d 488 (4th Cir.1996) (distinguishing Barnhart and holding that mammal taxidermy mannequins are "sculptural works" rather than "useful articles" because their utilitarian aspects serve "merely to portray the appearance" of the animal)....

      We conclude that fish mannequins even if considered "useful articles," are useful insofar as they "portray the[ir] appearance." 17 U.S.C. § 101. That makes them copyrightable.

      156

      Id. at 323 (internal citation omitted). Thus, the Second Circuit distinguished fish mannequins from human mannequins; however, it did so on the basis that the fish mannequins were not "useful articles" as that term is defined in § 101, not on the basis that, although useful, the artistic aspects were physically or conceptually separable from the useful aspects of the article.

      157

       

    • 3.2 Oracle v. Google (2014)

      1
      ORACLE AMERICA, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant,
      v.
      GOOGLE INC., Defendant-Cross-Appellant.

      Nos. 2013-1021, 2013-1022

      2

      United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit.

      Decided: May 9, 2014.

      3

      E. JOSHUA ROSENKRANZ, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, of New York, New York, argued for plaintiff-appellant. With him on the brief were MARK S. DAVIES, ANDREW D. SILVERMAN, KELLY M. DALEY; and ANNETTE L. HURST, GABRIEL M. RAMSEY, and ELIZABETH C. MCBRIDE, of San Francisco, California. Of counsel on the brief were DORIAN E. DALEY, DEBORAH K. MILLER, MATTHEW SARBORARIA, and ANDREW C. TEMKIN, Oracle America, Inc., of Redwood Shores, California; and DALE M. CENDALI, DIANA M. TORRES, SEAN B. FERNANDES, and JOSHUA L. SIMMONS, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, of New York, New York. Of counsel were SUSAN M. DAVIES, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, of New York, New York; MICHAEL A. JACOBS, Morrison & Foerster LLP, of San Francisco, California; and KENNETH A. KUWAYTI, of Palo Alto, California.

      4

      ROBERT A. VAN NEST, Keker & Van Nest LLP, of San Francisco, California, argued for defendant-cross-appellant. With him on the brief were CHRISTA M. ANDERSON, STEVEN A. HIRSCH, MICHAEL S. KWUN, and DANIEL E. JACKSON. Of counsel on the brief were IAN C. BALLON and HEATHER MEEKER, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, of East Palo Alto, California; RENNY HWANG, Google Inc., of Mountain View, California; and DARYL L. JOSEFFER and BRUCE W. BABER, King & Spalding LLP, of Washington, DC.

      5

      MARCIA B. PAUL, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, of New York, New York, for amicus curiae Ralph Oman. With her on the brief were LACY H. KOONCE, III and DEBORAH A. ADLER.

      6

      WILLIAM A. RUDY, Lathrop & Gage LLP, of Kansas City, Missouri, for amici curiae Picture Archive Council of America, Inc., et al. With him on the brief were CAROLE E. HANDLER and BRIANNA E. DAHLBERG, of Los Angeles, California.

      7

      GREGORY G. GARRE, Latham & Watkins, LLP, of Washington, DC, for amici curiae Microsoft Corporation, et al. With him on the brief was LORI ALVINO MCGILL. Of counsel on the brief were PAUL T. DACIER, KRISHNENDU GUPTA, EMC Corporation, of Hopkinton, Massachusetts; and DOUGLAS LUFTMAN, NETAPP, Inc., of Sunnyvale, California.

      8

      JARED BOBROW, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, of Redwood Shores, California, for amici curiae Eugene H. Spafford, Ph.D., et al. With him on the brief was AARON Y. HUANG.

      9

      MATTHEW S. HELLMAN, Jenner & Block LLP, of Washington, DC, for amicus curiae BSA/The Software Alliance. With him on the brief was PAUL M. SMITH.

      10

      STEVEN T. COTTREAU, Clifford Chance US LLP, of Washington, DC, for amici curiae, Scott McNealy, et al.

      11

      MEREDITH JACOB, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University, Washington College of Law, of Washington, DC, for amici curiae Intellectual Property Law Professors.

      12

      JULIE P. SAMUELS, Electronic Frontier Foundation, of San Francisco, California, for amici curiae Computer Scientists. With her on the brief was MICHAEL BARCLAY. Of counsel on the brief was JASON M. SCHULTZ, NYU Technology Law and Policy Clinic, NYU School of Law, of New York, New York.

      13

      JONATHAN BAND, Jonathan Band PLLC, of Washington, DC, filed a brief for amicus curiae Computer & Communications Industry Association. With him on the brief was MATTHEW SCHRUERS, Computer & Communications Industry Association, of Washington, DC.

      14

      CHAD RUBACK, The Ruback Law Firm, of Dallas, Texas, filed a brief for amici curiae Rackspace US, Inc., et al.

      15

      JENNIFER M. URBAN, Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, of Berkeley, California for amici curiae Software Innovators, et al.

      16

      Before O'MALLEY, PLAGER, and TARANTO, Circuit Judges.

      17
      O'MALLEY, Circuit Judge.
      18

      This copyright dispute involves 37 packages of computer source code. The parties have often referred to these groups of computer programs, individually or collectively, as "application programming interfaces," or API packages, but it is their content, not their name, that matters. The predecessor of Oracle America, Inc. ("Oracle") wrote these and other API packages in the Java programming language, and Oracle licenses them on various terms for others to use. Many software developers use the Java language, as well as Oracle's API packages, to write applications (commonly referred to as "apps") for desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices.

      19

      Oracle filed suit against Google Inc. ("Google") in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Google's Android mobile operating system infringed Oracle's patents and copyrights. The jury found no patent infringement, and the patent claims are not at issue in this appeal. As to the copyright claims, the parties agreed that the jury would decide infringement, fair use, and whether any copying was de minimis, while the district judge would decide copyrightability and Google's equitable defenses. The jury found that Google infringed Oracle's copyrights in the 37 Java packages and a specific computer routine called "rangeCheck," but returned a noninfringement verdict as to eight decompiled security files. The jury deadlocked on Google's fair use defense.

      20

      After the jury verdict, the district court denied Oracle's motion for judgment as a matter of law ("JMOL") regarding fair use as well as Google's motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck files. Order on Motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law, Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. May 10, 2012), ECF No. 1119. Oracle also moved for JMOL of infringement with respect to the eight decompiled security files. In granting that motion, the court found that: (1) Google admitted to copying the eight files; and (2) no reasonable jury could find that the copying was de minimis. Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. C 10-3561, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66417 (N.D. Cal. May 11, 2012) ("Order Granting JMOL on Decompiled Files").

      21

      Shortly thereafter, the district court issued its decision on copyrightability, finding that the replicated elements of the 37 API packages—including the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization—were not subject to copyright protection. Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., 872 F. Supp. 2d 974 (N.D. Cal. 2012) ("Copyrightability Decision"). Accordingly, the district court entered final judgment in favor of Google on Oracle's copyright infringement claims, except with respect to the rangeCheck code and the eight decompiled files. Final Judgment, Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. June 20, 2012), ECF No. 1211. Oracle appeals from the portion of the final judgment entered against it, and Google cross-appeals from the portion of that same judgment entered in favor of Oracle as to the rangeCheck code and eight decompiled files.

      22

      Because we conclude that the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection, we reverse the district court's copyrightability determination with instructions to reinstate the jury's infringement finding as to the 37 Java packages. Because the jury deadlocked on fair use, we remand for further consideration of Google's fair use defense in light of this decision. With respect to Google's cross-appeal, we affirm the district court's decisions: (1) granting Oracle's motion for JMOL as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google copied into Android; and (2) denying Google's motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck function. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand for further proceedings.

      23
      BACKGROUND
      24
      A. The Technology
      25

      Sun Microsystems, Inc. ("Sun") developed the Java "platform" for computer programming and released it in 1996.[1] The aim was to relieve programmers from the burden of writing different versions of their computer programs for different operating systems or devices. "The Java platform, through the use of a virtual machine, enable[d] software developers to write programs that [we]re able to run on different types of computer hardware without having to rewrite them for each different type." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 977. With Java, a software programmer could "write once, run anywhere."

      26

      The Java virtual machine ("JVM") plays a central role in the overall Java platform. The Java programming language itself—which includes words, symbols, and other units, together with syntax rules for using them to create instructions—is the language in which a Java programmer writes source code, the version of a program that is "in a human-readable language." Id. For the instructions to be executed, they must be converted (or compiled) into binary machine code (object code) consisting of 0s and 1s understandable by the particular computing device. In the Java system, "source code is first converted into `bytecode,' an intermediate form, before it is then converted into binary machine code by the Java virtual machine" that has been designed for that device. Id. The Java platform includes the "Java development kit (JDK), javac compiler, tools and utilities, runtime programs, class libraries (API packages), and the Java virtual machine." Id. at 977 n.2.

      27

      Sun wrote a number of ready-to-use Java programs to perform common computer functions and organized those programs into groups it called "packages." These packages, which are the application programming interfaces at issue in this appeal, allow programmers to use the prewritten code to build certain functions into their own programs, rather than write their own code to perform those functions from scratch. They are shortcuts. Sun called the code for a specific operation (function) a "method." It defined "classes" so that each class consists of specified methods plus variables and other elements on which the methods operate. To organize the classes for users, then, it grouped classes (along with certain related "interfaces") into "packages." See id. at 982 (describing organization: "[e]ach package [i]s broken into classes and those in turn [are] broken into methods"). The parties have not disputed the district court's analogy: Oracle's collection of API packages is like a library, each package is like a bookshelf in the library, each class is like a book on the shelf, and each method is like a how-to chapter in a book. Id. at 977.

      28

      The original Java Standard Edition Platform ("Java SE") included "eight packages of pre-written programs." Id. at 982. The district court found, and Oracle concedes to some extent, that three of those packages—java.lang, java.io, and java.util—were "core" packages, meaning that programmers using the Java language had to use them "in order to make any worthwhile use of the language." Id. By 2008, the Java platform had more than 6,000 methods making up more than 600 classes grouped into 166 API packages. There are 37 Java API packages at issue in this appeal, three of which are the core packages identified by the district court.[2] These packages contain thousands of individual elements, including classes, subclasses, methods, and interfaces.

      29

      Every package consists of two types of source code— what the parties call (1)declaring code; and (2) implementing code. Declaring code is the expression that identifies the prewritten function and is sometimes referred to as the "declaration" or "header." As the district court explained, the "main point is that this header line of code introduces the method body and specifies very precisely the inputs, name and other functionality." Id. at 979-80. The expressions used by the programmer from the declaring code command the computer to execute the associated implementing code, which gives the computer the step-by-step instructions for carrying out the declared function.

      30

      To use the district court's example, one of the Java API packages at issue is "java.lang." Within that package is a class called "math," and within "math" there are several methods, including one that is designed to find the larger of two numbers: "max." The declaration for the "max" method, as defined for integers, is: "public static int max(int x, int y)," where the word "public" means that the method is generally accessible, "static" means that no specific instance of the class is needed to call the method, the first "int" indicates that the method returns an integer, and "int x" and "int y" are the two numbers (inputs) being compared. Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 980-82. A programmer calls the "max" method by typing the name of the method stated in the declaring code and providing unique inputs for the variables "x" and "y." The expressions used command the computer to execute the implementing code that carries out the operation of returning the larger number.

      31

      Although Oracle owns the copyright on Java SE and the API packages, it offers three different licenses to those who want to make use of them. The first is the General Public License, which is free of charge and provides that the licensee can use the packages—both the declaring and implementing code—but must "contribute back" its innovations to the public. This arrangement is referred to as an "open source" license. The second option is the Specification License, which provides that the licensee can use the declaring code and organization of Oracle's API packages but must write its own implementing code. The third option is the Commercial License, which is for businesses that "want to use and customize the full Java code in their commercial products and keep their code secret." Appellant Br. 14. Oracle offers the Commercial License in exchange for royalties. To maintain Java's "write once, run anywhere" motto, the Specification and Commercial Licenses require that the licensees' programs pass certain tests to ensure compatibility with the Java platform.

      32

      The testimony at trial also revealed that Sun was licensing a derivative version of the Java platform for use on mobile devices: the Java Micro Edition ("Java ME"). Oracle licensed Java ME for use on feature phones and smartphones. Sun/Oracle has never successfully developed its own smartphone platform using Java.

      33
      B. Google's Accused Product: Android
      34

      The accused product is Android, a software platform that was designed for mobile devices and competes with Java in that market. Google acquired Android, Inc. in 2005 as part of a plan to develop a smartphone platform. Later that same year, Google and Sun began discussing the possibility of Google "taking a license to use and to adapt the entire Java platform for mobile devices." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 978. They also discussed a "possible co-development partnership deal with Sun under which Java technology would become an open-source part of the Android platform, adapted for mobile devices." Id. The parties negotiated for months but were unable to reach an agreement. The point of contention between the parties was Google's refusal to make the implementation of its programs compatible with the Java virtual machine or interoperable with other Java programs. Because Sun/Oracle found that position to be anathema to the "write once, run anywhere" philosophy, it did not grant Google a license to use the Java API packages.

      35

      When the parties' negotiations reached an impasse, Google decided to use the Java programming language to design its own virtual machine—the Dalvik virtual machine ("Dalvik VM")—and "to write its own implementations for the functions in the Java API that were key to mobile devices." Id. Google developed the Android platform, which grew to include 168 API packages—37 of which correspond to the Java API packages at issue in this appeal.

      36

      With respect to the 37 packages at issue, "Google believed Java application programmers would want to find the same 37 sets of functionalities in the new Android system callable by the same names as used in Java." Id. To achieve this result, Google copied the declaring source code from the 37 Java API packages verbatim, inserting that code into parts of its Android software. In doing so, Google copied the elaborately organized taxonomy of all the names of methods, classes, interfaces, and packages— the "overall system of organized names—covering 37 packages, with over six hundred classes, with over six thousand methods." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 999. The parties and district court referred to this taxonomy of expressions as the "structure, sequence, and organization" or "SSO" of the 37 packages. It is undisputed, however, that Google wrote its own implementing code, except with respect to: (1) the rangeCheck function, which consisted of nine lines of code; and (2) eight decompiled security files.

      37

      As to rangeCheck, the court found that the Sun engineer who wrote it later worked for Google and contributed two files he created containing the rangeCheck function— "Timsort.java" and "ComparableTimsort"—to the Android platform. In doing so, the nine-line rangeCheck function was copied directly into Android. As to the eight decompiled files, the district court found that they were copied and used as test files but "never found their way into Android or any handset." Id. at 983.

      38

      Google released the Android platform in 2007, and the first Android phones went on sale the following year. Although it is undisputed that certain Android software contains copies of the 37 API packages' declaring code at issue, neither the district court nor the parties specify in which programs those copies appear. Oracle indicated at oral argument, however, that all Android phones contain copies of the accused portions of the Android software. Oral Argument at 1:35, available at http://www. cafc.uscourts.gov/oral-argument-recordings/XXXX-XXXX/all. Android smartphones "rapidly grew in popularity and now comprise a large share of the United States market." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 978. Google provides the Android platform free of charge to smartphone manufacturers and receives revenue when customers use particular functions on the Android phone. Although Android uses the Java programming language, it is undisputed that Android is not generally Java compatible. As Oracle explains, "Google ultimately designed Android to be incompatible with the Java platform, so that apps written for one will not work on the other." Appellant Br. 29.

      39
      C. Trial and Post-Trial Rulings
      40

      Beginning on April 16, 2012, the district court and the jury—on parallel tracks—viewed documents and heard testimony from twenty-four witnesses on copyrightability, infringement, fair use, and Google's other defenses. Because the parties agreed the district court would decide copyrightability, the court instructed the jury to assume that the structure, sequence, and organization of the 37 API packages was copyrightable. And, the court informed the jury that Google conceded that it copied the declaring code used in the 37 packages verbatim. The court also instructed the jury that Google conceded copying the rangeCheck function and the eight decompiled security files, but that Google maintained that its use of those lines of code was de minimis. See Final Charge to the Jury (Phase One), Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 30, 2012), ECF No. 1018 at 14 ("With respect to the infringement issues concerning the rangeCheck and other similar files, Google agrees that the accused lines of code and comments came from the copyrighted material but contends that the amounts involved were so negligible as to be de minimis and thus should be excused.").

      41

      On May 7, 2012, the jury returned a verdict finding that Google infringed Oracle's copyright in the 37 Java API packages and in the nine lines of rangeCheck code, but returned a noninfringement verdict as to eight decompiled security files. The jury hung on Google's fair use defense.

      42

      The parties filed a number of post-trial motions, most of which were ultimately denied. In relevant part, the district court denied Oracle's motion for JMOL regarding fair use and Google's motion for JMOL as to the rangeCheck files. Order on Motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law, Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. May 10, 2012), ECF No. 1119. The district court granted Oracle's motion for JMOL of infringement as to the eight decompiled files, however. In its order, the court explained that: (1) Google copied the files in their entirety; (2) the trial testimony revealed that the use of those files was "significant"; and (3) no reasonable jury could find the copying de minimis. Order Granting JMOL on Decompiled Files, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66417, at *6.

      43

      On May 31, 2012, the district court issued the primary decision at issue in this appeal, finding that the replicated elements of the Java API packages—including the declarations and their structure, sequence, and organization—were not copyrightable. As to the declaring code, the court concluded that "there is only one way to write" it, and thus the "merger doctrine bars anyone from claiming exclusive copyright ownership of that expression." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 998. The court further found that the declaring code was not protectable because "names and short phrases cannot be copyrighted." Id. As such, the court determined that "there can be no copyright violation in using the identical declarations." Id.

      44

      As to the overall structure, sequence, and organization of the Java API packages, the court recognized that "nothing in the rules of the Java language . . . required that Google replicate the same groupings even if Google was free to replicate the same functionality." Id. at 999. Therefore, the court determined that "Oracle's best argument. . . is that while no single name is copyrightable, Java's overall system of organized names—covering 37 packages, with over six hundred classes, with over six thousand methods—is a `taxonomy' and, therefore, copyrightable." Id.

      45

      Although it acknowledged that the overall structure of Oracle's API packages is creative, original, and "resembles a taxonomy," the district court found that it "is nevertheless a command structure, a system or method of operation—a long hierarchy of over six thousand commands to carry out pre-assigned functions"—that is not entitled to copyright protection under Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act. Id. at 999-1000. In reaching this conclusion, the court emphasized that, "[o]f the 166 Java packages, 129 were not violated in any way." Id. at 1001. And, of the 37 Java API packages at issue, "97 percent of the Android lines were new from Google and the remaining three percent were freely replicable under the merger and names doctrines." Id. On these grounds, the court dismissed Oracle's copyright claims, concluding that "the particular elements replicated by Google were free for all to use under the Copyright Act." Id.

      46

      On June 20, 2012, the district court entered final judgment in favor of Google and against Oracle on its claim for copyright infringement, except with respect to the rangeCheck function and the eight decompiled files. As to rangeCheck and the decompiled files, the court entered judgment for Oracle and against Google in the amount of zero dollars, per the parties' stipulation. Final Judgment, Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. June 20, 2012), ECF No. 1211. Oracle timely appealed from the portion of the district court's final judgment entered against it and Google timely crossappealed with respect to rangeCheck and the eight decompiled files. Because this action included patent claims, we have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1).

      47
      DISCUSSION
      48
      I. ORACLE'S APPEAL
      49

      It is undisputed that the Java programming language is open and free for anyone to use. Except to the limited extent noted below regarding three of the API packages, it is also undisputed that Google could have written its own API packages using the Java language. Google chose not to do that. Instead, it is undisputed that Google copied 7,000 lines of declaring code and generally replicated the overall structure, sequence, and organization of Oracle's 37 Java API packages. The central question before us is whether these elements of the Java platform are entitled to copyright protection. The district court concluded that they are not, and Oracle challenges that determination on appeal. Oracle also argues that the district court should have dismissed Google's fair use defense as a matter of law.

      50

      According to Google, however, the district court correctly determined that: (1) there was only one way to write the Java method declarations and remain "interoperable" with Java; and (2) the organization and structure of the 37 Java API packages is a "command structure" excluded from copyright protection under Section 102(b). Google also argues that, if we reverse the district court's copyrightability determination, we should direct the district court to retry its fair use defense.

      51

      "When the questions on appeal involve law and precedent on subjects not exclusively assigned to the Federal Circuit, the court applies the law which would be applied by the regional circuit." Atari Games Corp. v. Nintendo of Am., Inc., 897 F.2d 1572, 1575 (Fed. Cir. 1990). Copyright issues are not exclusively assigned to the Federal Circuit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1295. The parties agree that Ninth Circuit law applies and that, in the Ninth Circuit, whether particular expression is protected by copyright law is "subject to de novo review." Ets-Hokin v. Skyy Spirits, Inc., 225 F.3d 1068, 1073 (9th Cir. 2000).[3]

      52

      We are mindful that the application of copyright law in the computer context is often a difficult task. See Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int'l, Inc., 49 F.3d 807, 820 (1st Cir. 1995) (Boudin, J., concurring) ("Applying copyright law to computer programs is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces do not quite fit."). On this record, however, we find that the district court failed to distinguish between the threshold question of what is copyrightable— which presents a low bar—and the scope of conduct that constitutes infringing activity. The court also erred by importing fair use principles, including interoperability concerns, into its copyrightability analysis.

      53

      For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the 37 Java API packages are entitled to copyright protection. Because there is an insufficient record as to the relevant fair use factors, we remand for further proceedings on Google's fair use defense.

      54
      A. Copyrightability
      55

      The Copyright Act provides protection to "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression," including "literary works." 17 U.S.C. § 102(a). It is undisputed that computer programs— defined in the Copyright Act as "a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result," 17 U.S.C. § 101—can be subject to copyright protection as "literary works." See Atari Games Corp. v. Nintendo of Am., Inc., 975 F.2d 832, 838 (Fed. Cir. 1992) ("As literary works, copyright protection extends to computer programs."). Indeed, the legislative history explains that "literary works" includes "computer programs to the extent that they incorporate authorship in the programmer's expression of original ideas, as distinguished from the ideas themselves." H.R. Rep. No. 1476, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 54, reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5667.

      56

      By statute, a work must be "original" to qualify for copyright protection. 17 U.S.C. § 102(a). This "originality requirement is not particularly stringent," however. Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 358 (1991). "Original, as the term is used in copyright, means only that the work was independently created by the author (as opposed to copied from other works), and that it possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity." Id. at 345.

      57

      Copyright protection extends only to the expression of an idea—not to the underlying idea itself. Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 217 (1954) ("Unlike a patent, a copyright gives no exclusive right to the art disclosed; protection is given only to the expression of the idea—not the idea itself."). This distinction—commonly referred to as the "idea/expression dichotomy"—is codified in Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act, which provides:

      58

      In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

      59

      17 U.S.C. § 102(b); see Golan v. Holder, 132 S. Ct. 873, 890 (2012) ("The idea/expression dichotomy is codified at 17 U.S.C. § 102(b).").

      60

      The idea/expression dichotomy traces back to the Supreme Court's decision in Baker v. Selden, 101 U.S. 99, 101 (1879). In Baker, the plaintiff Selden wrote and obtained copyrights on a series of books setting out a new system of bookkeeping. Id. at 100. The books included an introductory essay explaining the system and blank forms with ruled lines and headings designed for use with that system. Id. Baker published account books employing a system with similar forms, and Selden filed suit alleging copyright infringement. According to Selden, the "ruled lines and headings, given to illustrate the system, are a part of the book" and "no one can make or use similar ruled lines and headings, or ruled lines and headings made and arranged on substantially the same system, without violating the copyright." Id. at 101.

      61

      The Supreme Court framed the issue on appeal in Baker as "whether the exclusive property in a system of book-keeping can be claimed, under the law of copyright, by means of a book in which that system is explained." Id. In reversing the circuit court's decision, the Court concluded that the "copyright of a book on book-keeping cannot secure the exclusive right to make, sell, and use account-books prepared upon the plan set forth in such book." Id. at 104. Likewise, the "copyright of a work on mathematical science cannot give to the author an exclusive right to the methods of operation which he propounds." Id. at 103. The Court found that, although the copyright protects the way Selden "explained and described a peculiar system of book-keeping," it does not prevent others from using the system described therein. Id. at 104. The Court further indicated that, if it is necessary to use the forms Selden included in his books to make use of the accounting system, that use would not amount to copyright infringement. See id. (noting that the public has the right to use the account-books and that, "in using the art, the ruled lines and headings of accounts must necessarily be used as incident to it").

      62

      Courts routinely cite Baker as the source of several principles incorporated into Section 102(b) that relate to this appeal, including that: (1) copyright protection extends only to expression, not to ideas, systems, or processes; and (2) "those elements of a computer program that are necessarily incidental to its function are . . . unprotectable." See Computer Assocs. Int'l v. Altai, 982 F.2d 693, 704-05 (2d Cir. 1992) ("Altai") (discussing Baker, 101 U.S. at 103-04).

      63

      It is well established that copyright protection can extend to both literal and non-literal elements of a computer program. See Altai, 982 F.2d at 702. The literal elements of a computer program are the source code and object code. See Johnson Controls, Inc. v. Phoenix Control Sys., Inc., 886 F.2d 1173, 1175 (9th Cir. 1989). Courts have defined source code as "the spelled-out program commands that humans can read." Lexmark Int'l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 387 F.3d 522, 533 (6th Cir. 2004). Object code refers to "the binary language comprised of zeros and ones through which the computer directly receives its instructions." Altai, 982 F.2d at 698. Both source and object code "are consistently held protected by a copyright on the program." Johnson Controls, 886 F.2d at 1175; see also Altai, 982 F.2d at 702 ("It is now well settled that the literal elements of computer programs, i.e., their source and object codes, are the subject of copyright protection."). Google nowhere disputes that premise. See, e.g., Oral Argument at 57:38.

      64

      The non-literal components of a computer program include, among other things, the program's sequence, structure, and organization, as well as the program's user interface. Johnson Controls, 886 F.2d at 1175. As discussed below, whether the non-literal elements of a program "are protected depends on whether, on the particular facts of each case, the component in question qualifies as an expression of an idea, or an idea itself." Id.

      65

      In this case, Oracle claims copyright protection with respect to both: (1) literal elements of its API packages— the 7,000 lines of declaring source code; and (2) non-literal elements—the structure, sequence, and organization of each of the 37 Java API packages.

      66

      The distinction between literal and non-literal aspects of a computer program is separate from the distinction between literal and non-literal copying. See Altai, 982 F.2d at 701-02. "Literal" copying is verbatim copying of original expression. "Non-literal" copying is "paraphrased or loosely paraphrased rather than word for word." Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int'l, 49 F.3d 807, 814 (1st Cir. 1995). Here, Google concedes that it copied the declaring code verbatim. Oracle explains that the lines of declaring code "embody the structure of each [API] package, just as the chapter titles and topic sentences represent the structure of a novel." Appellant Br. 45. As Oracle explains, when Google copied the declaring code in these packages "it also copied the `sequence and organization' of the packages (i.e., the three-dimensional structure with all the chutes and ladders)" employed by Sun/Oracle in the packages. Appellant Br. 27. Oracle also argues that the nonliteral elements of the API packages—the structure, sequence, and organization that led naturally to the implementing code Google created—are entitled to protection. Oracle does not assert "literal" copying of the entire SSO, but, rather, that Google literally copied the declaring code and then paraphrased the remainder of the SSO by writing its own implementing code. It therefore asserts non-literal copying with respect to the entirety of the SSO.

      67

      At this stage, it is undisputed that the declaring code and the structure and organization of the Java API packages are original. The testimony at trial revealed that designing the Java API packages was a creative process and that the Sun/Oracle developers had a vast range of options for the structure and organization. In its copyrightability decision, the district court specifically found that the API packages are both creative and original, and Google concedes on appeal that the originality requirements are met. See Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 976 ("The overall name tree, of course, has creative elements. . . ."); Id. at 999 ("Yes, it is creative. Yes, it is original."); Appellee Br. 5 ("Google does not dispute" the district court's finding that "the Java API clears the low originality threshold."). The court found, however, that neither the declaring code nor the SSO was entitled to copyright protection under the Copyright Act.

      68

      Although the parties agree that Oracle's API packages meet the originality requirement under Section 102(a), they disagree as to the proper interpretation and application of Section 102(b). For its part, Google suggests that there is a two-step copyrightability analysis, wherein Section 102(a) grants copyright protection to original works, while Section 102(b) takes it away if the work has a functional component. To the contrary, however, Congress emphasized that Section 102(b) "in no way enlarges or contracts the scope of copyright protection" and that its "purpose is to restate . . . that the basic dichotomy between expression and idea remains unchanged." Feist, 499 U.S. at 356 (quoting H.R. Rep. No. 1476, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 54, reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5670). "Section 102(b) does not extinguish the protection accorded a particular expression of an idea merely because that expression is embodied in a method of operation." Mitel, Inc. v. Iqtel, Inc., 124 F.3d 1366, 1372 (10th Cir. 1997). Section 102(a) and 102(b) are to be considered collectively so that certain expressions are subject to greater scrutiny. Id. In assessing copyrightability, the district court is required to ferret out apparent expressive aspects of a work and then separate protectable expression from "unprotectable ideas, facts, processes, and methods of operation." See Atari, 975 F.2d at 839.

      69

      Of course, as with many things, in defining this task, the devil is in the details. Circuit courts have struggled with, and disagree over, the tests to be employed when attempting to draw the line between what is protectable expression and what is not. Compare Whelan Assocs., Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Lab., Inc., 797 F.2d 1222, 1236 (3d Cir. 1986) (everything not necessary to the purpose or function of a work is expression), with Lotus, 49 F.3d at 815 (methods of operation are means by which a user operates something and any words used to effectuate that operation are unprotected expression). When assessing whether the non-literal elements of a computer program constitute protectable expression, the Ninth Circuit has endorsed an "abstraction-filtration-comparison" test formulated by the Second Circuit and expressly adopted by several other circuits. Sega Enters. Ltd. v. Accolade, Inc., 977 F.2d 1510, 1525 (9th Cir. 1992) ("In our view, in light of the essentially utilitarian nature of computer programs, the Second Circuit's approach is an appropriate one."). This test rejects the notion that anything that performs a function is necessarily uncopyrightable. See Mitel, 124 F.3d at 1372 (rejecting the Lotus court's formulation, and concluding that, "although an element of a work may be characterized as a method of operation, that element may nevertheless contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection."). And it also rejects as flawed the Whelan assumption that, once any separable idea can be identified in a computer program everything else must be protectable expression, on grounds that more than one idea may be embodied in any particular program. Altai, 982 F.2d at 705-06.

      70

      Thus, this test eschews bright line approaches and requires a more nuanced assessment of the particular program at issue in order to determine what expression is protectable and infringed. As the Second Circuit explains, this test has three steps. In the abstraction step, the court "first break[s] down the allegedly infringed program into its constituent structural parts." Id. at 706. In the filtration step, the court "sift[s] out all non-protectable material," including ideas and "expression that is necessarily incidental to those ideas." Id. In the final step, the court compares the remaining creative expression with the allegedly infringing program.[4]

      71

      In the second step, the court is first to assess whether the expression is original to the programmer or author. Atari, 975 F.2d at 839. The court must then determine whether the particular inclusion of any level of abstraction is dictated by considerations of efficiency, required by factors already external to the program itself, or taken from the public domain—all of which would render the expression unprotectable. Id. These conclusions are to be informed by traditional copyright principles of originality, merger, and scenes a faire. See Mitel, 124 F.3d at 1372 ("Although this core of expression is eligible for copyright protection, it is subject to the rigors of filtration analysis which excludes from protection expression that is in the public domain, otherwise unoriginal, or subject to the doctrines of merger and scenes a faire.").

      72

      In all circuits, it is clear that the first step is part of the copyrightability analysis and that the third is an infringement question. It is at the second step of this analysis where the circuits are in less accord. Some treat all aspects of this second step as part of the copyrightability analysis, while others divide questions of originality from the other inquiries, treating the former as a question of copyrightability and the latter as part of the infringement inquiry. Compare Lexmark, 387 F.3d at 537-38 (finding that the district court erred in assessing principles of merger and scenes a faire in the infringement analysis, rather than as a component of copyrightability), with Kregos, 937 F.2d at 705 (noting that the Second Circuit has considered the merger doctrine "in determining whether actionable infringement has occurred, rather than whether a copyright is valid"); see also Lexmark, 387 F.3d at 557 (Feikens, J., dissenting-in-part) (noting the circuit split and concluding that, where a court is assessing merger of an expression with a method of operation, "I would find the merger doctrine can operate only as a defense to infringement in that context, and as such has no bearing on the question of copyrightability."). We need not assess the wisdom of these respective views because there is no doubt on which side of this circuit split the Ninth Circuit falls.

      73

      In the Ninth Circuit, while questions regarding originality are considered questions of copyrightability, concepts of merger and scenes a faire are affirmative defenses to claims of infringement. Ets-Hokin, 225 F.3d at 1082; Satava v. Lowry, 323 F.3d 805, 810 n.3 (9th Cir. 2003) ("The Ninth Circuit treats scenes a faire as a defense to infringement rather than as a barrier to copyrightability."). The Ninth Circuit has acknowledged that "there is some disagreement among courts as to whether these two doctrines figure into the issue of copyrightability or are more properly defenses to infringement." Ets-Hokin, 225 F.3d at 1082 (citations omitted). It, nonetheless, has made clear that, in that circuit, these concepts are to be treated as defenses to infringement. Id. (citing Kregos, 937 F.2d at 705 (holding that the merger doctrine relates to infringement, not copyrightability); Reed-Union Corp. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 77 F.3d 909, 914 (7th Cir. 1996) (explaining why the doctrine of scenes a faire is separate from the validity of a copyright)).

      74

      With these principles in mind, we turn to the trial court's analysis and judgment and to Oracle's objections thereto. While the trial court mentioned the abstractionfiltration-comparison test when describing the development of relevant law, it did not purport to actually apply that test. Instead, it moved directly to application of familiar principles of copyright law when assessing the copyrightability of the declaring code and interpreted Section 102(b) to preclude copyrightability for any functional element "essential for interoperability" "regardless of its form." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 997.

      75

      Oracle asserts that all of the trial court's conclusions regarding copyrightability are erroneous. Oracle argues that its Java API packages are entitled to protection under the Copyright Act because they are expressive and could have been written and organized in any number of ways to achieve the same functions. Specifically, Oracle argues that the district court erred when it: (1) concluded that each line of declaring code is uncopyrightable because the idea and expression have merged; (2) found the declaring code uncopyrightable because it employs short phrases; (3) found all aspects of the SSO devoid of protection as a "method of operation" under 17 U.S.C. § 102(b); and (4) invoked Google's "interoperability" concerns in the copyrightability analysis. For the reasons explained below, we agree with Oracle on each point.

      76
      1. Declaring Source Code
      77

      First, Oracle argues that the district court erred in concluding that each line of declaring source code is completely unprotected under the merger and short phrases doctrines. Google responds that Oracle waived its right to assert copyrightability based on the 7,000 lines of declaring code by failing "to object to instructions and a verdict form that effectively eliminated that theory from the case." Appellee Br. 67. Even if not waived, moreover, Google argues that, because there is only one way to write the names and declarations, the merger doctrine bars copyright protection.

      78

      We find that Oracle did not waive arguments based on Google's literal copying of the declaring code. Prior to trial, both parties informed the court that Oracle's copyright infringement claims included the declarations of the API elements in the Android class library source code. See Oracle's Statement of Issues Regarding Copyright, Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 12, 2012), ECF No. 899-1, at 3 (Oracle accuses the "declarations of the API elements in the Android class library source code and object code that implements the 37 API packages" of copyright infringement.); see also Google's Proposed Statement of Issues Regarding Copyright, Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 12, 2012), ECF No. 901, at 2 (Oracle accuses the "declarations of the API elements in Android class library source code and object code that implements the 37 API packages.").

      79

      While Google is correct that the jury instructions and verdict form focused on the structure and organization of the packages, we agree with Oracle that there was no need for the jury to address copying of the declaring code because Google conceded that it copied it verbatim. Indeed, the district court specifically instructed the jury that "Google agrees that it uses the same names and declarations" in Android. Final Charge to the Jury at 10.

      80

      That the district court addressed the declaring code in its post-jury verdict copyrightability decision further confirms that the verbatim copying of declaring code remained in the case. The court explained that the "identical lines" that Google copied into Android "are those lines that specify the names, parameters and functionality of the methods and classes, lines called `declarations' or `headers.'" Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 979. The court specifically found that the declaring code was not entitled to copyright protection under the merger and short phrases doctrines. We address each in turn.

      81
      a. Merger
      82

      The merger doctrine functions as an exception to the idea/expression dichotomy. It provides that, when there are a limited number of ways to express an idea, the idea is said to "merge" with its expression, and the expression becomes unprotected. Altai, 982 F.2d at 707-08. As noted, the Ninth Circuit treats this concept as an affirmative defense to infringement. Ets-Hokin, 225 F.3d at 1082. Accordingly, it appears that the district court's merger analysis is irrelevant to the question of whether Oracle's API packages are copyrightable in the first instance. Regardless of when the analysis occurs, we conclude that merger does not apply on the record before us.

      83

      Under the merger doctrine, a court will not protect a copyrighted work from infringement if the idea contained therein can be expressed in only one way. Satava v. Lowry, 323 F.3d 805, 812 n.5 (9th Cir. 2003). For computer programs, "this means that when specific [parts of the code], even though previously copyrighted, are the only and essential means of accomplishing a given task, their later use by another will not amount to infringement." Altai, 982 F.2d at 708 (citation omitted). We have recognized, however, applying Ninth Circuit law, that the "unique arrangement of computer program expression . . . does not merge with the process so long as alternate expressions are available." Atari, 975 F.2d at 840.

      84

      In Atari, for example, Nintendo designed a program— the 10NES—to prevent its video game system from accepting unauthorized game cartridges. 975 F.2d at 836. Nintendo "chose arbitrary programming instructions and arranged them in a unique sequence to create a purely arbitrary data stream" which "serves as the key to unlock the NES." Id. at 840. Because Nintendo produced expert testimony "showing a multitude of different ways to generate a data stream which unlocks the NES console," we concluded that Nintendo's specific choice of code did not merge with the process. Id.

      85

      Here, the district court found that, "no matter how creative or imaginative a Java method specification may be, the entire world is entitled to use the same method specification (inputs, outputs, parameters) so long as the line-by-line implementations are different." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 998. In its analysis, the court identified the method declaration as the idea and found that the implementation is the expression. Id. ("The method specification is the idea. The method implementation is the expression. No one may monopolize the idea.") (emphases in original). The court explained that, under the rules of Java, a programmer must use the identical "declaration or method header lines" to "declare a method specifying the same functionality." Id. at 976. Because the district court found that there was only one way to write the declaring code for each of the Java packages, it concluded that "the merger doctrine bars anyone from claiming exclusive copyright ownership" of it. Id. at 998. Accordingly, the court held there could be "no copyright violation in using the identical declarations." Id.

      86

      Google agrees with the district court that the implementing code is the expression entitled to protection—not the declaring code. Indeed, at oral argument, counsel for Google explained that, "it is not our position that none of Java is copyrightable. Obviously, Google spent two and a half years . . . to write from scratch all of the implementing code." Oral Argument at 33:16.[5] Because it is undisputed that Google wrote its own implementing code, the copyrightability of the precise language of that code is not at issue on appeal. Instead, our focus is on the declaring code and structure of the API packages.

      87

      On appeal, Oracle argues that the district court: (1) misapplied the merger doctrine; and (2) failed to focus its analysis on the options available to the original author. We agree with Oracle on both points. First, we agree that merger cannot bar copyright protection for any lines of declaring source code unless Sun/Oracle had only one way, or a limited number of ways, to write them. See Satava, 323 F.3d at 812 n.5 ("Under the merger doctrine, courts will not protect a copyrighted work from infringement if the idea underlying the copyrighted work can be expressed in only one way, lest there be a monopoly on the underlying idea."). The evidence showed that Oracle had "unlimited options as to the selection and arrangement of the 7000 lines Google copied." Appellant Br. 50. Using the district court's "java.lang.Math.max" example, Oracle explains that the developers could have called it any number of things, including "Math.maximum" or "Arith.larger." This was not a situation where Oracle was selecting among preordained names and phrases to create its packages.[6] As the district court recognized, moreover, "the Android method and class names could have been different from the names of their counterparts in Java and still have worked." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 976. Because "alternative expressions [we]re available," there is no merger. See Atari, 975 F.2d at 840.

      88

      We further find that the district court erred in focusing its merger analysis on the options available to Google at the time of copying. It is well-established that copyrightability and the scope of protectable activity are to be evaluated at the time of creation, not at the time of infringement. See Apple Computer, Inc. v. Formula Int'l, Inc., 725 F.2d 521, 524 (9th Cir. 1984) (quoting National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works, Final Report at 21 (1979) ("CONTU Report") (recognizing that the Copyright Act was designed "to protect all works of authorship from the moment of their fixation in any tangible medium of expression")). The focus is, therefore, on the options that were available to Sun/Oracle at the time it created the API packages. Of course, once Sun/Oracle created "java.lang.Math.max," programmers who want to use that particular package have to call it by that name. But, as the court acknowledged, nothing prevented Google from writing its own declaring code, along with its own implementing code, to achieve the same result. In such circumstances, the chosen expression simply does not merge with the idea being expressed.[7]

      89

      It seems possible that the merger doctrine, when properly analyzed, would exclude the three packages identified by the district court as core packages from the scope of actionable infringing conduct. This would be so if the Java authors, at the time these packages were created, had only a limited number of ways to express the methods and classes therein if they wanted to write in the Java language. In that instance, the idea may well be merged with the expression in these three packages.[8] Google did not present its merger argument in this way below and does not do so here, however. Indeed, Google does not try to differentiate among the packages for purposes of its copyrightability analysis and does not appeal the infringement verdict as to the packages. For these reasons, we reject the trial court's merger analysis.

      90
      b. Short Phrases
      91

      The district court also found that Oracle's declaring code consists of uncopyrightable short phrases. Specifically, the court concluded that, "while the Android method and class names could have been different from the names of their counterparts in Java and still have worked, copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as a matter of law." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 976.

      92

      The district court is correct that "[w]ords and short phrases such as names, titles, and slogans" are not subject to copyright protection. 37 C.F.R. § 202.1(a). The court failed to recognize, however, that the relevant question for copyrightability purposes is not whether the work at issue contains short phrases—as literary works often do—but, rather, whether those phrases are creative. See Soc'y of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Inc. v. Gregory, 689 F.3d 29, 52 (1st Cir. 2012) (noting that "not all short phrases will automatically be deemed uncopyrightable"); see also 1 Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 2.01[B] (2013) ("[E]ven a short phrase may command copyright protection if it exhibits sufficient creativity."). And, by dissecting the individual lines of declaring code at issue into short phrases, the district court further failed to recognize that an original combination of elements can be copyrightable. See Softel, Inc. v. Dragon Med. & Scientific Commc'ns, 118 F.3d 955, 964 (2d Cir. 1997) (noting that, in Feist, "the Court made quite clear that a compilation of nonprotectible elements can enjoy copyright protection even though its constituent elements do not").

      93

      By analogy, the opening of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is nothing but a string of short phrases. Yet no one could contend that this portion of Dickens' work is unworthy of copyright protection because it can be broken into those shorter constituent components. The question is not whether a short phrase or series of short phrases can be extracted from the work, but whether the manner in which they are used or strung together exhibits creativity.

      94

      Although the district court apparently focused on individual lines of code, Oracle is not seeking copyright protection for a specific short phrase or word. Instead, the portion of declaring code at issue is 7,000 lines, and Google's own "Java guru" conceded that there can be "creativity and artistry even in a single method declaration." Joint Appendix ("J.A.") 20,970. Because Oracle "exercised creativity in the selection and arrangement" of the method declarations when it created the API packages and wrote the relevant declaring code, they contain protectable expression that is entitled to copyright protection. See Atari, 975 F.2d at 840; see also 17 U.S.C. §§ 101, 103 (recognizing copyright protection for "compilations" which are defined as work that is "selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship"). Accordingly, we conclude that the district court erred in applying the short phrases doctrine to find the declaring code not copyrightable.

      95
      c. Scenes a Faire
      96

      The scenes a faire doctrine, which is related to the merger doctrine, operates to bar certain otherwise creative expression from copyright protection. Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 35 F.3d 1435, 1444 (9th Cir. 1994). It provides that "expressive elements of a work of authorship are not entitled to protection against infringement if they are standard, stock, or common to a topic, or if they necessarily follow from a common theme or setting." Mitel, 124 F.3d at 1374. Under this doctrine, "when certain commonplace expressions are indispensable and naturally associated with the treatment of a given idea, those expressions are treated like ideas and therefore [are] not protected by copyright." Swirsky v. Carey, 376 F.3d 841, 850 (9th Cir. 2004). In the computer context, "the scene a faire doctrine denies protection to program elements that are dictated by external factors such as `the mechanical specifications of the computer on which a particular program is intended to run' or `widely accepted programming practices within the computer industry.'" Softel, 118 F.3d at 963 (citation omitted).

      97

      The trial court rejected Google's reliance on the scenes a faire doctrine. It did so in a footnote, finding that Google had failed to present evidence to support the claim that either the grouping of methods within the classes or the code chosen for them "would be so expected and customary as to be permissible under the scenes a faire doctrine." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 999 n.9. Specifically, the trial court found that "it is impossible to say on this record that all of the classes and their contents are typical of such classes and, on this record, this order rejects Google's global argument based on scenes a faire." Id.

      98

      On appeal, Google refers to scenes a faire concepts briefly, as do some amici, apparently contending that, because programmers have become accustomed to and comfortable using the groupings in the Java API packages, those groupings are so commonplace as to be indispensable to the expression of an acceptable programming platform. As such, the argument goes, they are so associated with the "idea" of what the packages are accomplishing that they should be treated as ideas rather than expression. See Br. of Amici Curiae Rackspace US, Inc., et al. at 19-22.

      99

      Google cannot rely on the scenes a faire doctrine as an alternative ground upon which we might affirm the copyrightability judgment of the district court. This is so for several reasons. First, as noted, like merger, in the Ninth Circuit, the scenes a faire doctrine is a component of the infringement analysis. "[S]imilarity of expression, whether literal or non-literal, which necessarily results from the fact that the common idea is only capable of expression in more or less stereotyped form, will preclude a finding of actionable similarity." 4 Nimmer on Copyright § 13.03[B][3]. Thus, the expression is not excluded from copyright protection; it is just that certain copying is forgiven as a necessary incident of any expression of the underlying idea. See Satava, 323 F.3d at 810 n.3 ("The Ninth Circuit treats scenes a faire as a defense to infringement rather than as a barrier to copyrightability.").

      100

      Second, Google has not objected to the trial court's conclusion that Google failed to make a sufficient factual record to support its contention that the groupings and code chosen for the 37 Java API packages were driven by external factors or premised on features that were either commonplace or essential to the idea being expressed. Google provides no record citations indicating that such a showing was made and does not contend that the trial court erred when it expressly found it was not. Indeed, Google does not even make this argument with respect to the core packages.

      101

      Finally, Google's reliance on the doctrine below and the amici reference to it here are premised on a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. Like merger, the focus of the scenes a faire doctrine is on the circumstances presented to the creator, not the copier. See Mitel, 124 F.3d at 1375 (finding error to the extent the trial court discussed "whether external factors such as market forces and efficiency considerations justified Iqtel's copying of the command codes"). The court's analytical focus must be upon the external factors that dictated Sun's selection of classes, methods, and code—not upon what Google encountered at the time it chose to copy those groupings and that code. See id. "[T]he scenes a faire doctrine identifies and excludes from protection against infringement expression whose creation `flowed naturally from considerations external to the author's creativity.'" Id. (quoting Nimmer § 13.03[F][3], at 13-131 (1997)). It is this showing the trial court found Google failed to make, and Google cites to nothing in the record which indicates otherwise.

      102

      For these reasons, the trial court was correct to conclude that the scenes a faire doctrine does not affect the copyrightability of either the declaring code in, or the SSO of, the Java API packages at issue.

      103
      2. The Structure, Sequence, and Organization of the API Packages
      104

      The district court found that the SSO of the Java API packages is creative and original, but nevertheless held that it is a "system or method of operation . . . and, therefore, cannot be copyrighted" under 17 U.S.C. § 102(b). Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 976-77. In reaching this conclusion, the district court seems to have relied upon language contained in a First Circuit decision: Lotus Development Corp. v. Borland International, Inc., 49 F.3d 807 (1st Cir. 1995), aff'd without opinion by equally divided court, 516 U.S. 233 (1996).[9]

      105

      In Lotus, it was undisputed that the defendant copied the menu command hierarchy and interface from Lotus 1-2-3, a computer spreadsheet program "that enables users to perform accounting functions electronically on a computer." 49 F.3d at 809. The menu command hierarchy referred to a series of commands—such as "Copy," "Print," and "Quit"—which were arranged into more than 50 menus and submenus. Id. Although the defendant did not copy any Lotus source code, it copied the menu command hierarchy into its rival program. The question before the court was "whether a computer menu command hierarchy is copyrightable subject matter." Id.

      106

      Although it accepted the district court's finding that Lotus developers made some expressive choices in selecting and arranging the command terms, the First Circuit found that the command hierarchy was not copyrightable because, among other things, it was a "method of operation" under Section 102(b). In reaching this conclusion, the court defined a "method of operation" as "the means by which a person operates something, whether it be a car, a food processor, or a computer." Id. at 815.[10] Because the Lotus menu command hierarchy provided "the means by which users control and operate Lotus 1-2-3," it was deemed unprotectable. Id. For example, if users wanted to copy material, they would use the "Copy" command and the command terms would tell the computer what to do. According to the Lotus court, the "fact that Lotus developers could have designed the Lotus menu command hierarchy differently is immaterial to the question of whether it is a `method of operation.'" Id. at 816. (noting that "our initial inquiry is not whether the Lotus menu command hierarchy incorporates any expression"). The court further indicated that, "[i]f specific words are essential to operating something, then they are part of a `method of operation' and, as such, are unprotectable." Id.

      107

      On appeal, Oracle argues that the district court's reliance on Lotus is misplaced because it is distinguishable on its facts and is inconsistent with Ninth Circuit law. We agree. First, while the defendant in Lotus did not copy any of the underlying code, Google concedes that it copied portions of Oracle's declaring source code verbatim. Second, the Lotus court found that the commands at issue there (copy, print, etc.) were not creative, but it is undisputed here that the declaring code and the structure and organization of the API packages are both creative and original. Finally, while the court in Lotus found the commands at issue were "essential to operating" the system, it is undisputed that—other than perhaps as to the three core packages—Google did not need to copy the structure, sequence, and organization of the Java API packages to write programs in the Java language.

      108

      More importantly, however, the Ninth Circuit has not adopted the court's "method of operation" reasoning in Lotus, and we conclude that it is inconsistent with binding precedent.[11] Specifically, we find that Lotus is inconsistent with Ninth Circuit case law recognizing that the structure, sequence, and organization of a computer program is eligible for copyright protection where it qualifies as an expression of an idea, rather than the idea itself. See Johnson Controls, 886 F.2d at 1175-76. And, while the court in Lotus held "that expression that is part of a `method of operation' cannot be copyrighted," 49 F.3d at 818, this court—applying Ninth Circuit law—reached the exact opposite conclusion, finding that copyright protects "the expression of [a] process or method," Atari, 975 F.2d at 839.

      109

      We find, moreover, that the hard and fast rule set down in Lotus and employed by the district court here— i.e., that elements which perform a function can never be copyrightable—is at odds with the Ninth Circuit's endorsement of the abstraction-filtration-comparison analysis discussed earlier. As the Tenth Circuit concluded in expressly rejecting the Lotus "method of operation" analysis, in favor of the Second Circuit's abstraction-filtrationcomparison test, "although an element of a work may be characterized as a method of operation, that element may nevertheless contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection." Mitel, 124 F.3d at 1372. Specifically, the court found that Section 102(b) "does not extinguish the protection accorded a particular expression of an idea merely because that expression is embodied in a method of operation at a higher level of abstraction." Id.

      110

      Other courts agree that components of a program that can be characterized as a "method of operation" may nevertheless be copyrightable. For example, the Third Circuit rejected a defendant's argument that operating system programs are "per se" uncopyrightable because an operating system is a "method of operation" for a computer. Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp., 714 F.2d 1240, 1250-52 (3d Cir. 1983). The court distinguished between the "method which instructs the computer to perform its operating functions" and "the instructions themselves," and found that the instructions were copyrightable. Id. at 1250-51. In its analysis, the court noted: "[t]hat the words of a program are used ultimately in the implementation of a process should in no way affect their copyrightability." Id. at 1252 (quoting CONTU Report at 21). The court focused "on whether the idea is capable of various modes of expression" and indicated that, "[i]f other programs can be written or created which perform the same function as [i]n Apple's operating system program, then that program is an expression of the idea and hence copyrightable." Id. at 1253. Notably, no other circuit has adopted the First Circuit's "method of operation" analysis.

      111

      Courts have likewise found that classifying a work as a "system" does not preclude copyright for the particular expression of that system. See Toro Co. v. R & R Prods. Co., 787 F.2d 1208, 1212 (8th Cir. 1986) (rejecting the district court's decision that "appellant's parts numbering system is not copyrightable because it is a `system'" and indicating that Section 102(b) does not preclude protection for the "particular expression" of that system); see also Am. Dental Ass'n v. Delta Dental Plans Ass'n, 126 F.3d 977, 980 (7th Cir. 1997) ("A dictionary cannot be called a `system' just because new novels are written using words, all of which appear in the dictionary. Nor is word-processing software a `system' just because it has a command structure for producing paragraphs.").

      112

      Here, the district court recognized that the SSO "resembles a taxonomy," but found that "it is nevertheless a command structure, a system or method of operation—a long hierarchy of over six thousand commands to carry out pre-assigned functions." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 999-1000.[12] In other words, the court concluded that, although the SSO is expressive, it is not copyrightable because it is also functional. The problem with the district court's approach is that computer programs are by definition functional—they are all designed to accomplish some task. Indeed, the statutory definition of "computer program" acknowledges that they function "to bring about a certain result." See 17 U.S.C. § 101 (defining a "computer program" as "a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result"). If we were to accept the district court's suggestion that a computer program is uncopyrightable simply because it "carr[ies] out pre-assigned functions," no computer program is protectable. That result contradicts Congress's express intent to provide copyright protection to computer programs, as well as binding Ninth Circuit case law finding computer programs copyrightable, despite their utilitarian or functional purpose. Though the trial court did add the caveat that it "does not hold that the structure, sequence and organization of all computer programs may be stolen," Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 1002, it is hard to see how its method of operation analysis could lead to any other conclusion.

      113

      While it does not appear that the Ninth Circuit has addressed the precise issue, we conclude that a set of commands to instruct a computer to carry out desired operations may contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection. See Mitel, 124 F.3d at 1372. We agree with Oracle that, under Ninth Circuit law, an original work—even one that serves a function—is entitled to copyright protection as long as the author had multiple ways to express the underlying idea. Section 102(b) does not, as Google seems to suggest, automatically deny copyright protection to elements of a computer program that are functional. Instead, as noted, Section 102(b) codifies the idea/expression dichotomy and the legislative history confirms that, among other things, Section 102(b) was "intended to make clear that the expression adopted by the programmer is the copyrightable element in a computer program." H.R. Rep. No. 1476, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 54, reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5670. Therefore, even if an element directs a computer to perform operations, the court must nevertheless determine whether it contains any separable expression entitled to protection.

      114

      On appeal, Oracle does not—and concedes that it cannot—claim copyright in the idea of organizing functions of a computer program or in the "package-class-method" organizational structure in the abstract. Instead, Oracle claims copyright protection only in its particular way of naming and organizing each of the 37 Java API packages.[13] Oracle recognizes, for example, that it "cannot copyright the idea of programs that open an internet connection," but "it can copyright the precise strings of code used to do so, at least so long as `other language is available' to achieve the same function." Appellant Reply Br. 13-14 (citation omitted). Thus, Oracle concedes that Google and others could employ the Java language—much like anyone could employ the English language to write a paragraph without violating the copyrights of other English language writers. And, that Google may employ the "package-class-method" structure much like authors can employ the same rules of grammar chosen by other authors without fear of infringement. What Oracle contends is that, beyond that point, Google, like any author, is not permitted to employ the precise phrasing or precise structure chosen by Oracle to flesh out the substance of its packages—the details and arrangement of the prose.

      115

      As the district court acknowledged, Google could have structured Android differently and could have chosen different ways to express and implement the functionality that it copied.[14] Specifically, the court found that "the very same functionality could have been offered in Android without duplicating the exact command structure used in Java." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 976. The court further explained that Google could have offered the same functions in Android by "rearranging the various methods under different groupings among the various classes and packages." Id. The evidence showed, moreover, that Google designed many of its own API packages from scratch, and, thus, could have designed its own corresponding 37 API packages if it wanted to do so.

      116

      Given the court's findings that the SSO is original and creative, and that the declaring code could have been written and organized in any number of ways and still have achieved the same functions, we conclude that Section 102(b) does not bar the packages from copyright protection just because they also perform functions.

      117
      3. Google's Interoperability Arguments are Irrelevant to Copyrightability
      118

      Oracle also argues that the district court erred in invoking interoperability in its copyrightability analysis. Specifically, Oracle argues that Google's interoperability arguments are only relevant, if at all, to fair use—not to the question of whether the API packages are copyrightable. We agree.

      119

      In characterizing the SSO of the Java API packages as a "method of operation," the district court explained that "[d]uplication of the command structure is necessary for interoperability." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 977. The court found that, "[i]n order for at least some of [the pre-Android Java] code to run on Android, Google was required to provide the same java.package.Class.method() command system using the same names with the same `taxonomy' and with the same functional specifications." Id. at 1000 (emphasis omitted). And, the court concluded that "Google replicated what was necessary to achieve a degree of interoperability—but no more, taking care, as said before, to provide its own implementations." Id. In reaching this conclusion, the court relied primarily on two Ninth Circuit decisions: Sega Enterprises v. Accolade, Inc., 977 F.2d 1510 (9th Cir. 1992), and Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. v. Connectix, Corp., 203 F.3d 596 (9th Cir. 2000).

      120

      Both Sega and Sony are fair use cases in which copyrightability was addressed only tangentially. In Sega, for example, Sega manufactured a video game console and game cartridges that contained hidden functional program elements necessary to achieve compatibility with the console. Defendant Accolade: (1) reverse-engineered Sega's video game programs to discover the requirements for compatibility; and (2) created its own games for the Sega console. Sega, 977 F.2d at 1514-15. As part of the reverse-engineering process, Accolade made intermediate copies of object code from Sega's console. Id. Although the court recognized that the intermediate copying of computer code may infringe Sega's copyright, it concluded that "disassembly of copyrighted object code is, as a matter of law, a fair use of the copyrighted work if such disassembly provides the only means of access to those elements of the code that are not protected by copyright and the copier has a legitimate reason for seeking such access." Id. at 1518. The court agreed with Accolade that its copying was necessary to examine the unprotected functional aspects of the program. Id. at 1520. And, because Accolade had a legitimate interest in making its cartridges compatible with Sega's console, the court found that Accolade's intermediate copying was fair use.

      121

      Likewise, in Sony, the Ninth Circuit found that the defendant's reverse engineering and intermediate copying of Sony's copyrighted software program "was a fair use for the purpose of gaining access to the unprotected elements of Sony's software." Sony, 203 F.3d at 602. The court explained that Sony's software program contained unprotected functional elements and that the defendant could only access those elements through reverse engineering. Id. at 603. The defendant used that information to create a software program that let consumers play games designed for Sony's PlayStation console on their computers. Notably, the defendant's software program did not contain any of Sony's copyrighted material. Id. at 598.

      122

      The district court characterized Sony and Sega as "close analogies" to this case. Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 1000. According to the court, both decisions "held that interface procedures that were necessary to duplicate in order to achieve interoperability were functional aspects not copyrightable under Section 102(b)." Id. The district court's reliance on Sega and Sony in the copyrightability context is misplaced, however.

      123

      As noted, both cases were focused on fair use, not copyrightability. In Sega, for example, the only question was whether Accolade's intermediate copying was fair use. The court never addressed the question of whether Sega's software code, which had functional elements, also contained separable creative expression entitled to protection. Likewise, although the court in Sony determined that Sony's computer program had functional elements, it never addressed whether it also had expressive elements. Sega and Sony are also factually distinguishable because the defendants in those cases made intermediate copies to understand the functional aspects of the copyrighted works and then created new products. See Sony, 203 F.3d at 606-07; Sega, 977 F.2d at 1522-23. This is not a case where Google reverse-engineered Oracle's Java packages to gain access to unprotected functional elements contained therein. As the former Register of Copyrights of the United States pointed out in his brief amicus curiae, "[h]ad Google reverse engineered the programming packages to figure out the ideas and functionality of the original, and then created its own structure and its own literal code, Oracle would have no remedy under copyright whatsoever." Br. for Amicus Curiae Ralph Oman 29. Instead, Google chose to copy both the declaring code and the overall SSO of the 37 Java API packages at issue.

      124

      We disagree with Google's suggestion that Sony and Sega created an "interoperability exception" to copyrightability. See Appellee Br. 39 (citing Sony and Sega for the proposition that "compatibility elements are not copyrightable under section 102(b)" (emphasis omitted)). Although both cases recognized that the software programs at issue there contained unprotected functional elements, a determination that some elements are unprotected is not the same as saying that the entire work loses copyright protection. To accept Google's reading would contradict Ninth Circuit case law recognizing that both the literal and non-literal components of a software program are eligible for copyright protection. See Johnson Controls, 886 F.2d at 1175. And it would ignore the fact that the Ninth Circuit endorsed the abstractionfiltration-comparison inquiry in Sega itself.

      125

      As previously discussed, a court must examine the software program to determine whether it contains creative expression that can be separated from the underlying function. See Sega, 977 F.2d at 1524-25. In doing so, the court filters out the elements of the program that are "ideas" as well as elements that are "dictated by considerations of efficiency, so as to be necessarily incidental to that idea; required by factors external to the program itself." Altai, 982 F.2d at 707.

      126

      To determine "whether certain aspects of an allegedly infringed software are not protected by copyright law, the focus is on external factors that influenced the choice of the creator of the infringed product." Dun & Bradstreet Software Servs., Inc. v. Grace Consulting, Inc., 307 F.3d 197, 215 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing Altai, 982 F.2d at 714; Mitel, 124 F.3d at 1375). The Second Circuit, for example, has noted that programmers are often constrained in their design choices by "extrinsic considerations" including "the mechanical specifications of the computer on which a particular program is intended to run" and "compatibility requirements of other programs with which a program is designed to operate in conjunction." Altai, 982 F.2d at 709-10 (citing 3 Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 13.01 at 13-66-71 (1991)). The Ninth Circuit has likewise recognized that: (1) computer programs "contain many logical, structural, and visual display elements that are dictated by . . . external factors such as compatibility requirements and industry demands"; and (2) "[i]n some circumstances, even the exact set of commands used by the programmer is deemed functional rather than creative for purposes of copyright." Sega, 977 F.2d at 1524 (internal citation omitted).

      127

      Because copyrightability is focused on the choices available to the plaintiff at the time the computer program was created, the relevant compatibility inquiry asks whether the plaintiff's choices were dictated by a need to ensure that its program worked with existing third-party programs. Dun & Bradstreet, 307 F.3d at 215; see also Atari, 975 F.2d at 840 ("External factors did not dictate the design of the 10NES program."). Whether a defendant later seeks to make its program interoperable with the plaintiff's program has no bearing on whether the software the plaintiff created had any design limitations dictated by external factors. See Dun & Bradstreet, 307 F.3d at 215 (finding an expert's testimony on interoperability "wholly misplaced" because he "looked at externalities from the eyes of the plagiarist, not the eyes of the program's creator"). Stated differently, the focus is on the compatibility needs and programming choices of the party claiming copyright protection—not the choices the defendant made to achieve compatibility with the plaintiff's program. Consistent with this approach, courts have recognized that, once the plaintiff creates a copyrightable work, a defendant's desire "to achieve total compatibility. . . is a commercial and competitive objective which does not enter into the . . . issue of whether particular ideas and expressions have merged." Apple Computer, 714 F.2d at 1253.

      128

      Given this precedent, we conclude that the district court erred in focusing its interoperability analysis on Google's desires for its Android software. See Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 1000 ("Google replicated what was necessary to achieve a degree of interoperability" with Java.). Whether Google's software is "interoperable" in some sense with any aspect of the Java platform (although as Google concedes, certainly not with the JVM) has no bearing on the threshold question of whether Oracle's software is copyrightable. It is the interoperability and other needs of Oracle—not those of Google—that apply in the copyrightability context, and there is no evidence that when Oracle created the Java API packages at issue it did so to meet compatibility requirements of other pre-existing programs.

      129

      Google maintains on appeal that its use of the "Java class and method names and declarations was `the only and essential means' of achieving a degree of interoperability with existing programs written in the [Java language]." Appellee Br. 49. Indeed, given the record evidence that Google designed Android so that it would not be compatible with the Java platform, or the JVM specifically, we find Google's interoperability argument confusing. While Google repeatedly cites to the district court's finding that Google had to copy the packages so that an app written in Java could run on Android, it cites to no evidence in the record that any such app exists and points to no Java apps that either pre-dated or post-dated Android that could run on the Android platform.[15] The compatibility Google sought to foster was not with Oracle's Java platform or with the JVM central to that platform. Instead, Google wanted to capitalize on the fact that software developers were already trained and experienced in using the Java API packages at issue. The district court agreed, finding that, as to the 37 Java API packages, "Google believed Java application programmers would want to find the same 37 sets of functionalities in the new Android system callable by the same names as used in Java." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 978. Google's interest was in accelerating its development process by "leverag[ing] Java for its existing base of developers." J.A. 2033, 2092. Although this competitive objective might be relevant to the fair use inquiry, we conclude that it is irrelevant to the copyrightability of Oracle's declaring code and organization of the API packages.

      130

      Finally, to the extent Google suggests that it was entitled to copy the Java API packages because they had become the effective industry standard, we are unpersuaded. Google cites no authority for its suggestion that copyrighted works lose protection when they become popular, and we have found none.[16] In fact, the Ninth Circuit has rejected the argument that a work that later becomes the industry standard is uncopyrightable. See Practice Mgmt. Info. Corp. v. Am. Med. Ass'n, 121 F.3d 516, 520 n.8 (9th Cir. 1997) (noting that the district court found plaintiff's medical coding system entitled to copyright protection, and that, although the system had become the industry standard, plaintiff's copyright did not prevent competitors "from developing comparative or better coding systems and lobbying the federal government and private actors to adopt them. It simply prevents wholesale copying of an existing system."). Google was free to develop its own API packages and to "lobby" programmers to adopt them. Instead, it chose to copy Oracle's declaring code and the SSO to capitalize on the preexisting community of programmers who were accustomed to using the Java API packages. That desire has nothing to do with copyrightability. For these reasons, we find that Google's industry standard argument has no bearing on the copyrightability of Oracle's work.

      131
      B. Fair Use
      132

      As noted, the jury hung on Google's fair use defense, and the district court declined to order a new trial given its conclusion that the code and structure Google copied were not entitled to copyright protection. On appeal, Oracle argues that: (1) a remand to decide fair use "is pointless"; and (2) this court should find, as a matter of law, that "Google's commercial use of Oracle's work in a market where Oracle already competed was not fair use." Appellant Br. 68.

      133

      Fair use is an affirmative defense to copyright infringement and is codified in Section 107 of the Copyright Act. Golan, 132 S. Ct. at 890 ("[T]he fair use defense, is codified at 17 U.S.C. § 107."). Section 107 permits use of copyrighted work if it is "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research." 17 U.S.C. § 107. The fair use doctrine has been referred to as "`the most troublesome in the whole law of copyright.'" Monge v. Maya Magazines, Inc., 688 F.3d 1164, 1170 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Dellar v. Samuel Goldwyn, Inc., 104 F.2d 661, 662 (2d Cir. 1939) (per curiam)). It both permits and requires "courts to avoid rigid application of the copyright statute when, on occasion, it would stifle the very creativity which that law is designed to foster." Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 577 (1994) (quoting Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207, 236 (1990)).

      134

      "Section 107 requires a case-by-case determination whether a particular use is fair, and the statute notes four nonexclusive factors to be considered." Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enters., 471 U.S. 539, 549 (1985). Those factors are: (1) "the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;" (2) "the nature of the copyrighted work;" (3) "the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;" and (4) "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work." 17 U.S.C. § 107. The Supreme Court has explained that all of the statutory factors "are to be explored, and the results weighed together, in light of the purpose[] of copyright," which is "[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 578, 575 (internal citations omitted).

      135

      "Fair use is a mixed question of law and fact." Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 560. Thus, while subsidiary and controverted findings of fact must be reviewed for clear error under Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Ninth Circuit reviews the ultimate application of those facts de novo. See Seltzer v. Green Day, Inc., 725 F.3d 1170, 1175 (9th Cir. 2013) (citing SOFA Entm't, Inc. v. Dodger Prods., Inc., 709 F.3d 1273, 1277 (9th Cir. 2013)). Where there are no material facts at issue and "the parties dispute only the ultimate conclusions to be drawn from those facts, we may draw those conclusions without usurping the function of the jury." Id. (citing Fisher v. Dees, 794 F.2d 432, 436 (9th Cir. 1986)). Indeed, the Supreme Court has specifically recognized that, "[w]here the district court has found facts sufficient to evaluate each of the statutory factors, an appellate court `need not remand for further factfinding . . . [but] may conclude as a matter of law that [the challenged use] [does] not qualify as a fair use of the copyrighted work.'" Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 560 (citation omitted).

      136

      Of course, the corollary to this point is true as well— where there are material facts in dispute and those facts have not yet been resolved by the trier of fact, appellate courts may not make findings of fact in the first instance. See Shawmut Bank, N.A. v. Kress Assocs., 33 F.3d 1477, 1504 (9th Cir. 1994) ("[W]e must avoid finding facts in the first instance."); see also Golden Bridge Tech., Inc. v. Nokia, Inc., 527 F.3d 1318, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2008) ("Appellate courts review district court judgments; we do not find facts."). Here, it is undisputed that neither the jury nor the district court made findings of fact to which we can refer in assessing the question of whether Google's use of the API packages at issue was a "fair use" within the meaning of Section 107. Oracle urges resolution of the fair use question by arguing that the trial court should have decided the question as a matter of law based on the undisputed facts developed at trial, and that we can do so as well. Google, on the other hand, argues that many critical facts regarding fair use are in dispute. It asserts that the fact that the jury could not reach a resolution on the fair use defense indicates that at least some presumably reasonable jurors found its use to be fair. And, Google asserts that, even if it is true that the district court erred in discussing concepts of "interoperability" when considering copyrightability, those concepts are still relevant to its fair use defense. We turn first to a more detailed examination of fair use.

      137

      The first factor in the fair use inquiry involves "the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes." 17 U.S.C. § 107(1). This factor involves two sub-issues: (1) "whether and to what extent the new work is transformative," Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); and (2) whether the use serves a commercial purpose.

      138

      A use is "transformative" if it "adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning or message." Id. The critical question is "whether the new work merely supersede[s] the objects of the original creation . . . or instead adds something new." Id. (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). This inquiry "may be guided by the examples given in the preamble to § 107, looking to whether the use is for criticism, or comment, or news reporting, and the like." Id. at 578-79. "The Supreme Court has recognized that parodic works, like other works that comment and criticize, are by their nature often sufficiently transformative to fit clearly under the fair use exception." Mattel Inc. v. Walking Mountain Prods., 353 F.3d 792, 800 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579).

      139

      Courts have described new works as "transformative" when "the works use copy-righted material for purposes distinct from the purpose of the original material." Elvis Presley Enters., Inc. v. Passport Video, 349 F.3d 622, 629 (9th Cir. 2003) ("Here, Passport's use of many of the television clips is transformative because they are cited as historical reference points in the life of a remarkable entertainer."), overruled on other grounds by Flexible Lifeline Sys., Inc. v. Precision Lift, Inc., 654 F.3d 989, 995 (9th Cir. 2011) (per curiam); see also Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Ltd. P'ship, 619 F.3d 301, 309-10 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting A.V. ex rel. Vanderhyge v. iParadigms, LLC, 562 F.3d 630, 638 (4th Cir. 2009) ("[A] transformative use is one that `employ[s] the quoted matter in a different manner or for a different purpose from the original.'")). "A use is considered transformative only where a defendant changes a plaintiff's copyrighted work or uses the plaintiff's copyrighted work in a different context such that the plaintiff's work is transformed into a new creation." Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 508 F.3d 1146, 1165 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting Wall Data Inc. v. L.A. County Sheriff's Dep't, 447 F.3d 769, 778 (9th Cir. 2006), and finding that Google's use of thumbnail images in its search engine was "highly transformative").

      140

      A work is not transformative where the user "makes no alteration to the expressive content or message of the original work." Seltzer, 725 F.3d at 1177; see also Wall Data, 447 F.3d at 778 ("The Sheriff's Department created exact copies of RUMBA's software. It then put those copies to the identical purpose as the original software. Such a use cannot be considered transformative."); Monge, 688 F.3d at 1176 (finding that a magazine's publication of photographs of a secret celebrity wedding "sprinkled with written commentary" was "at best minimally transformative" where the magazine "did not transform the photos into a new work . . . or incorporate the photos as part of a broader work"); Elvis Presley Enters., 349 F.3d at 629 (finding that use of copyrighted clips of Elvis's television appearances was not transformative where "some of the clips [we]re played without much interruption, if any . . . [and] instead serve[d] the same intrinsic entertainment value that is protected by Plaintiffs' copyrights."). Where the use "is for the same intrinsic purpose as [the copyright holder's] . . . such use seriously weakens a claimed fair use." Worldwide Church of God v. Phila. Church of God, Inc., 227 F.3d 1110, 1117 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting Weissmann v. Freeman, 868 F.2d 1313, 1324 (2d Cir. 1989)).

      141

      Analysis of the first factor also requires inquiry into the commercial nature of the use. Use of the copyrighted work that is commercial "tends to weigh against a finding of fair use." Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 562 ("The crux of the profit/nonprofit distinction is not whether the sole motive of the use is monetary gain but whether the user stands to profit from exploitation of the copyrighted material without paying the customary price."). "[T]he more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579.

      142

      The second factor—the nature of the copyrighted work—"calls for recognition that some works are closer to the core of intended copyright protection than others, with the consequence that fair use is more difficult to establish when the former works are copied." Id. at 586. This factor "turns on whether the work is informational or creative." Worldwide Church of God, 227 F.3d at 1118; see also Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 563 ("The law generally recognizes a greater need to disseminate factual works than works of fiction or fantasy."). Creative expression "falls within the core of the copyright's protective purposes." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 586. Because computer programs have both functional and expressive components, however, where the functional components are themselves unprotected (because, e.g., they are dictated by considerations of efficiency or other external factors), those elements should be afforded "a lower degree of protection than more traditional literary works." Sega, 977 F.2d at 1526. Thus, where the nature of the work is such that purely functional elements exist in the work and it is necessary to copy the expressive elements in order to perform those functions, consideration of this second factor arguably supports a finding that the use is fair.

      143

      The third factor asks the court to examine "the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole." 17 U.S.C. § 107(3). Analysis of this factor is viewed in the context of the copyrighted work, not the infringing work. Indeed, the statutory language makes clear that "a taking may not be excused merely because it is insubstantial with respect to the infringing work." Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 565. "As Judge Learned Hand cogently remarked, `no plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.'" Id. (quoting Sheldon v. Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corp., 81 F.2d 49, 56 (2d Cir. 1936)). In contrast, "the fact that a substantial portion of the infringing work was copied verbatim is evidence of the qualitative value of the copied material, both to the originator and to the plagiarist who seeks to profit from marketing someone else's copyrighted expression." Id. The Ninth Circuit has recognized that, while "wholesale copying does not preclude fair use per se, copying an entire work militates against a finding of fair use." Worldwide Church of God, 227 F.3d at 1118 (internal citation and quotation omitted). "If the secondary user only copies as much as is necessary for his or her intended use, then this factor will not weigh against him or her." Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp., 336 F.3d 811, 820-21 (9th Cir. 2003). Under this factor, "attention turns to the persuasiveness of a parodist's justification for the particular copying done, and the enquiry will harken back to the first of the statutory factors . . . [because] the extent of permissible copying varies with the purpose and character of the use." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 586-87.

      144

      The fourth and final factor focuses on "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work." Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 566. This factor reflects the idea that fair use "is limited to copying by others which does not materially impair the marketability of the work which is copied." Id. at 566-67. The Supreme Court has said that this factor is "undoubtedly the single most important element of fair use." Id. at 566. It requires that courts "consider not only the extent of market harm caused by the particular actions of the alleged infringer, but also whether unrestricted and widespread conduct of the sort engaged in by the defendant. . . would result in a substantially adverse impact on the potential market for the original." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 590 (citation and quotation marks omitted). "Market harm is a matter of degree, and the importance of this factor will vary, not only with the amount of harm, but also with the relative strength of the showing on the other factors." Id. at 590 n.21.

      145

      Oracle asserts that all of these factors support its position that Google's use was not "fair use"—Google knowingly and illicitly copied a creative work to further its own commercial purposes, did so verbatim, and did so to the detriment of Oracle's market position. These undisputable facts, according to Oracle, should end the fair use inquiry. Oracle's position is not without force. On many of these points, Google does not debate Oracle's characterization of its conduct, nor could it on the record evidence.

      146

      Google contends, however, that, although it admittedly copied portions of the API packages and did so for what were purely commercial purposes, a reasonable juror still could find that: (1) Google's use was transformative; (2) the Java API packages are entitled only to weak protection; (3) Google's use was necessary to work within a language that had become an industry standard; and (4) the market impact on Oracle was not substantial.

      147

      On balance, we find that due respect for the limit of our appellate function requires that we remand the fair use question for a new trial. First, although it is undisputed that Google's use of the API packages is commercial, the parties disagree on whether its use is "transformative." Google argues that it is, because it wrote its own implementing code, created its own virtual machine, and incorporated the packages into a smartphone platform. For its part, Oracle maintains that Google's use is not transformative because: (1) "[t]he same code in Android . . . enables programmers to invoke the same pre-programmed functions in exactly the same way;" and (2) Google's use of the declaring code and packages does not serve a different function from Java. Appellant Reply Br. 47. While Google overstates what activities can be deemed transformative under a correct application of the law, we cannot say that there are no material facts in dispute on the question of whether Google's use is "transformative," even under a correct reading of the law. As such, we are unable to resolve this issue on appeal.

      148

      Next, while we have concluded that it was error for the trial court to focus unduly on the functional aspects of the packages, and on Google's competitive desire to achieve commercial "interoperability" when deciding whether Oracle's API packages are entitled to copyright protection, we expressly noted that these factors may be relevant to a fair use analysis. While the trial court erred in concluding that these factors were sufficient to overcome Oracle's threshold claim of copyrightability, reasonable jurors might find that they are relevant to Google's fair use defense under the second and third factors of the inquiry. See Sega, 977 F.2d at 1524-25 (discussing the Second Circuit's approach to "break[ing] down a computer program into its component subroutines and subsubroutines and then identif[ying] the idea or core functional element of each" in the context of the second fair use factor: the nature of the copyrighted work). We find this particularly true with respect to those core packages which it seems may be necessary for anyone to copy if they are to write programs in the Java language. And, it may be that others of the packages were similarly essential components of any Java language-based program. So far, that type of filtration analysis has not occurred.

      149

      Finally, as to market impact, the district court found that "Sun and Oracle never successfully developed its own smartphone platform using Java technology." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 978. But Oracle argues that, when Google copied the API packages, Oracle was licensing in the mobile and smartphone markets, and that Android's release substantially harmed those commercial opportunities as well as the potential market for a Java smartphone device. Because there are material facts in dispute on this factor as well, remand is necessary.

      150

      Ultimately, we conclude that this is not a case in which the record contains sufficient factual findings upon which we could base a de novo assessment of Google's affirmative defense of fair use. Accordingly, we remand this question to the district court for further proceedings. On remand, the district court should revisit and revise its jury instructions on fair use consistent with this opinion so as to provide the jury with a clear and appropriate picture of the fair use defense.[17]

      151
      II. GOOGLE'S CROSS-APPEAL
      152

      Google cross-appeals from the portion of the district court's final judgment entered in favor of Oracle on its claim for copyright infringement as to the nine lines of rangeCheck code and the eight decompiled files. Final Judgment, Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. June 20, 2012), ECF No. 1211. Specifically, Google appeals from the district court's decisions: (1) granting Oracle's motion for JMOL of infringement as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google copied into Android; and (2) denying Google's motion for JMOL with respect to rangeCheck.

      153

      When reviewing a district court's grant or denial of a motion for JMOL, we apply the procedural law of the relevant regional circuit, here the Ninth Circuit. Trading Techs. Int'l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., 595 F.3d 1340, 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2010). The Ninth Circuit reviews a district court's JMOL decision de novo, applying the same standard as the district court. Mangum v. Action Collection Serv., Inc., 575 F.3d 935, 938 (9th Cir. 2009). To grant judgment as a matter of law, the court must find that "the evidence presented at trial permits only one reasonable conclusion" and that "no reasonable juror could find in the non-moving party's favor." Id. at 938-39 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

      154

      Oracle explains that the eight decompiled files at issue "contain security functions governing access to network files" while rangeCheck "facilitates an important sorting function, frequently called upon during the operation of Java and Android." Oracle Response to Cross-Appeal 60-61. At trial, Google conceded that it copied the eight decompiled Java code files and the nine lines of code referred to as rangeCheck into Android. Its only defense was that the copying was de minimis. Accordingly, the district court instructed the jury that, "[w]ith respect to the infringement issues concerning the rangeCheck and other similar files, Google agrees that the accused lines of code and comments came from the copyrighted materials but contends that the amounts involved were so negligible as to be de minimis and thus should be excluded." Final Charge to the Jury (Phase One), Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google, Inc., No. 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 30, 2012), ECF No. 1018, at 14.

      155

      Although the jury found that Google infringed Oracle's copyright in the nine lines of code comprising rangeCheck, it returned a noninfringement verdict as to eight decompiled security files. But because the trial testimony was that Google's use of the decompiled files was significant—and there was no testimony to the contrary—the district court concluded that "[n]o reasonable jury could find that this copying was de minimis." Order Granting JMOL on Decompiled Files, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66417, at *6. As such, the court granted Oracle's motion for JMOL of infringement as to the decompiled security files.

      156

      On appeal, Google maintains that its copying of rangeCheck and the decompiled security files was de minimis and thus did not infringe any of Oracle's copyrights. According to Google, the district court should have denied Oracle's motion for JMOL "because substantial evidence supported the jury's verdict that Google's use of eight decompiled test files was de minimis." Cross-Appellant Br. 76. Google further argues that the court should have granted its motion for JMOL as to rangeCheck because the "trial evidence revealed that the nine lines of rangeCheck code were both quantitatively and qualitatively insignificant in relation to the [Java] platform." Id. at 78.

      157

      In response, Oracle argues that the Ninth Circuit does not recognize a de minimis defense to copyright infringement and that, even if it does, we should affirm the judgments of infringement on grounds that Google's copying was significant. Because we agree with Oracle on its second point, we need not address the first, except to note that there is some conflicting Ninth Circuit precedent on the question of whether there is a free-standing de minimis defense to copyright infringement or whether the substantiality of the alleged copying is best addressed as part of a fair use defense. Compare Norse v. Henry Holt & Co., 991 F.2d 563, 566 (9th Cir. 1993) (indicating that "even a small taking may sometimes be actionable" and the "question of whether a copying is substantial enough to be actionable may be best resolved through the fair use doctrine"), with Newton v. Diamond, 388 F.3d 1189, 1192-93 (9th Cir. 2003) ("For an unauthorized use of a copyrighted work to be actionable, the use must be significant enough to constitute infringement. This means that even where the fact of copying is conceded, no legal consequences will follow from that fact unless the copying is substantial.") (internal citation omitted)).[18]

      158

      Even assuming that the Ninth Circuit recognizes a stand-alone de minimis defense to copyright infringement, however, we conclude that: (1) the jury reasonably found that Google's copying of the rangeCheck files was more than de minimis; and (2) the district court correctly concluded that the defense failed as a matter of law with respect to the decompiled security files.

      159

      First, the unrebutted testimony at trial revealed that rangeCheck and the decompiled security files were significant to both Oracle and Google. Oracle's expert, Dr. John Mitchell, testified that Android devices call the rangeCheck function 2,600 times just in powering on the device. Although Google argues that the eight decompiled files were insignificant because they were used only to test the Android platform, Dr. Mitchell testified that "using the copied files even as test files would have been significant use" and the district court specifically found that "[t]here was no testimony to the contrary." Order Granting JMOL on Decompiled Files, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66417, at *6. Given this testimony, a reasonable jury could not have found Google's copying de minimis.

      160

      Google emphasizes that the nine lines of rangeCheck code "represented an infinitesimal percentage of the 2.8 million lines of code in the 166 Java packages—let alone the millions of lines of code in the entire [Java] platform." Google Cross-Appeal Br. 78-79. To the extent Google is arguing that a certain minimum number of lines of code must be copied before a court can find infringement, that argument is without merit. See Baxter v. MCA, Inc., 812 F.2d 421, 425 (9th Cir. 1987) ("[N]o bright line rule exists as to what quantum of similarity is permitted."). And, given the trial testimony that both rangeCheck and the decompiled security files are qualitatively significant and Google copied them in their entirety, Google cannot show that the district court erred in denying its motion for JMOL.

      161

      We have considered Google's remaining arguments and find them unpersuasive. Accordingly, we affirm both of the JMOL decisions at issue in Google's cross-appeal.

      162
      III. GOOGLE'S POLICY-BASED ARGUMENTS
      163

      Many of Google's arguments, and those of some amici, appear premised on the belief that copyright is not the correct legal ground upon which to protect intellectual property rights to software programs; they opine that patent protection for such programs, with its insistence on non-obviousness, and shorter terms of protection, might be more applicable, and sufficient. Indeed, the district court's method of operation analysis seemed to say as much. Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 984 (stating that this case raises the question of "whether the copyright holder is more appropriately asserting an exclusive right to a functional system, process, or method of operation that belongs in the realm of patents, not copyrights"). Google argues that "[a]fter Sega, developers could no longer hope to protect [software] interfaces by copyright . . . Sega signaled that the only reliable means for protecting the functional requirements for achieving interoperability was by patenting them." Appellee Br. 40 (quoting Pamela Samuelson, Are Patents on Interfaces Impeding Interoperability? 93 Minn. L. Rev. 1943, 1959 (2009)). And, Google relies heavily on articles written by Professor Pamela Samuelson, who has argued that "it would be best for a commission of computer program experts to draft a new form of intellectual property law for machine-readable programs." Pamela Samuelson, CONTU Revisited: The Case Against Copyright Protection for Computer Programs in Machine-Readable Form, 1984 Duke L.J. 663, 764 (1984). Professor Samuelson has more recently argued that "Altai and Sega contributed to the eventual shift away from claims of copyright in program interfaces and toward reliance on patent protection. Patent protection also became more plausible and attractive as the courts became more receptive to software patents." Samuelson, 93 Minn. L. Rev. at 1959.

      164

      Although Google, and the authority on which it relies, seem to suggest that software is or should be entitled to protection only under patent law—not copyright law— several commentators have recently argued the exact opposite. See Technology Quarterly,Stalking Trolls, ECONOMIST, Mar. 8, 2014, http://www.economist. com/news/technology-quarterly/21598321-intellectualproperty-after-being-blamed-stymying-innovation-america-vague ("[M]any innovators have argued that the electronics and software industries would flourish if companies trying to bring new technology (software innovations included) to market did not have to worry about being sued for infringing thousands of absurd patents at every turn. A perfectly adequate means of protecting and rewarding software developers for their ingenuity has existed for over 300 years. It is called copyright."); Timothy B. Lee, Will the Supreme Court save us from software patents?, WASH. POST, Feb. 26, 2014, 1:13 PM, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/ 2014/02/26/will-the-supreme-court-save-us-from-softwarepatents/ ("If you write a book or a song, you can get copyright protection for it. If you invent a new pill or a better mousetrap, you can get a patent on it. But for the last two decades, software has had the distinction of being potentially eligible for both copyright and patent protection. Critics say that's a mistake. They argue that the complex and expensive patent system is a terrible fit for the fast-moving software industry. And they argue that patent protection is unnecessary because software innovators already have copyright protection available.").

      165

      Importantly for our purposes, the Supreme Court has made clear that "[n]either the Copyright Statute nor any other says that because a thing is patentable it may not be copyrighted." Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 217 (1954). Indeed, the thrust of the CONTU Report is that copyright is "the most suitable mode of legal protection for computer software." Peter S. Menell, An Analysis of the Scope of Copyright Protection for Application Programs, 41 Stan. L. Rev. 1045, 1072 (1989); see also CONTU Report at 1 (recommending that copyright law be amended "to make it explicit that computer programs, to the extent that they embody an author's original creation, are proper subject matter of copyright"). Until either the Supreme Court or Congress tells us otherwise, we are bound to respect the Ninth Circuit's decision to afford software programs protection under the copyright laws. We thus decline any invitation to declare that protection of software programs should be the domain of patent law, and only patent law.

      166
      CONCLUSION
      167

      For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the 37 Java API packages at issue are entitled to copyright protection. We therefore reverse the district court's copyrightability determination with instructions to reinstate the jury's infringement verdict. Because the jury hung on fair use, we remand Google's fair use defense for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

      168

      With respect to Google's cross-appeal, we affirm the district court's decisions: (1) granting Oracle's motion for JMOL as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google copied into Android; and (2) denying Google's motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck function. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand for further proceedings.

      169

      AFFIRMED-IN-PART, REVERSED-IN-PART, AND REMANDED

      170

      [1] Oracle acquired Sun in 2010.

      171

      [2] The 37 API packages involved in this appeal are: java.awt.font, java.beans, java.io, java.lang, java.lang.annotation, java.lang.ref, java.lang.reflect, java.net, java.nio, java.nio.channels, java.nio.channels.spi, java.nio.charset, java.nio.charset.spi, java.security, java.security.acl, java.security.cert, java.security.interfaces, java.security.spec, java.sql, java.text, java.util, java.util.jar, java.util.logging, java.util.prefs, java.util.regex, java.util.zip, javax.crypto, javax.crypto.interfaces, javax.crypto.spec, javax.net, javax.net.ssl, javax.security.auth, javax.security.auth.callback, javax.security.auth.login, javax.security.auth.x500, javax.security.cert, and javax.sql.

      172

      [3] The Supreme Court has not addressed whether copyrightability is a pure question of law or a mixed question of law and fact, or whether, if it is a mixed question of law and fact, the factual components of that inquiry are for the court, rather than the jury. Relatedly, it has not decided the standard of review that applies on appeal. Ten years ago, before finding it unnecessary to decide whether copyrightability is a pure question of law or a mixed question of law and fact, the Seventh Circuit noted that it had "found only a handful of appellate cases addressing the issue, and they are split." Gaiman v. McFarlane, 360 F.3d 644, 648 (7th Cir. 2004). And, panels of the Ninth Circuit have defined the respective roles of the jury and the court differently where questions of originality were at issue. Compare North Coast Indus. v. Jason Maxwell, Inc., 972 F.2d 1031, 1035 (9th Cir. 1992), with Ets-Hokin, 225 F.3d at 1073. More recently, several district courts within the Ninth Circuit have treated copyrightability as a question for only the court, regardless of whether it is a pure question of law. See Stern v. Does, No. 09-1986, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37735, *7 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 10, 2011); Jonathan Browning, Inc. v. Venetian Casino Resort LLC, No. C 07-3983, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57525, at *2 (N.D. Cal. June 19, 2009); see also Pivot Point Int'l, Inc. v. Charlene Prods., Inc., 932 F. Supp. 220, 225 (N.D. Ill. 1996) (Easterbrook, J.) (citing to Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370 (1996), and concluding that whether works are copyrightable is a question which the "jury has nothing to do with"). We need not address any of these questions, because the parties here agreed that the district court would decide copyrightability, and both largely agree that we may undertake a review of that determination de novo.

      173

      [4] Importantly, this full analysis only applies where a copyright owner alleges infringement of the non-literal aspects of its work. Where "admitted literal copying of a discrete, easily-conceptualized portion of a work" is at issue—as with Oracle's declaring code—a court "need not perform a complete abstraction-filtration-comparison analysis" and may focus the protectability analysis on the filtration stage, with attendant reference to standard copyright principles. Mitel, 124 F.3d at 1372-73.

      174

      [5] It is undisputed that Microsoft and Apple developed mobile operating systems from scratch, using their own array of software packages. When asked whether Google could also copy all of Microsoft or Apple's declaring code—codes that obviously differ from those at issue here—counsel for Google responded: "Yes, but only the structure, sequence, and organization. Only the command structure—what you need to access the functions. You'd have to rewrite all the millions of lines of code in Apple or in Microsoft which is what Google did in Android." Oral Argument at 36:00.

      175

      [6] In their brief as amici curiae in support of reversal, Scott McNealy and Brian Sutphin—both former executives at Sun who were involved in the development of the Java platform—provide a detailed example of the creative choices involved in designing a Java package. Looking at the "java.text" package, they explain that it "contains 25 classes, 2 interfaces, and hundreds of methods to handle text, dates, numbers, and messages in a manner independent of natural human languages. . . ." Br. of McNealy and Sutphin 14-15. Java's creators had to determine whether to include a java.text package in the first place, how long the package would be, what elements to include, how to organize that package, and how it would relate to other packages. Id. at 16. This description of Sun's creative process is consistent with the evidence presented at trial. See Appellant Br. 12-13 (citing testimony that it took years to write some of the Java packages and that Sun/Oracle developers had to "wrestle with what functions to include in the package, which to put in other packages, and which to omit entirely").

      176

      [7] The district court did not find merger with respect to the structure, sequence, and organization of Oracle's Java API packages. Nor could it, given the court's recognition that there were myriad ways in which the API packages could have been organized. Indeed, the court found that the SSO is original and that "nothing in the rules of the Java language . . . required that Google replicate the same groupings." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F. Supp. 2d at 999. As discussed below, however, the court nonetheless found that the SSO is an uncopyrightable "method of operation."

      177

      [8] At oral argument, counsel for Oracle was asked whether we should view the three core packages "differently vis-à-vis the concept of a method of operation than the other packages." See Oral Argument at 7:43. He responded: "I think not your Honor. I would view them differently with respect to fair use. . . . It's not that they are more basic. It's that there are just several methods, that is, routines, within just those three packages that are necessary to `speak the Java language.' Nothing in the other thirty-four packages is necessary in order to speak in Java, so to speak." Id. Counsel conceded, however, that this issue "might go to merger. It might go to the question whether someone—since we conceded that it's okay to use the language—if it's alright to use the language that there are certain things that the original developers had to say in order to use that language, arguably, although I still think it's really a fair use analysis." Id.

      178

      [9] The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Lotus, but, shortly after oral argument, the Court announced that it was equally divided and that Justice Stevens took no part in the consideration or decision of the case. The Court therefore left the First Circuit's decision undisturbed. See Lotus, 516 U.S. at 233-34.

      179

      [10] The Lotus majority cited no authority for this definition of "method of operation."

      180

      [11] As Oracle points out, the Ninth Circuit has cited Lotus only one time, on a procedural issue. See Danjaq LLC v. Sony Corp., 263 F.3d 942, 954 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing Lotus for the proposition that delay "has been held permissible, among other reasons, when it is necessitated by the exhaustion of remedies through the administrative process . . . when it is used to evaluate and prepare a complicated claim").

      181

      [12] This analogy by the district court is meaningful because taxonomies, in varying forms, have generally been deemed copyrightable. See, e.g., Practice Mgmt. Info. Corp. v. Am. Med. Ass'n, 121 F.3d 516, 517-20 (9th Cir. 1997); Am. Dental, 126 F.3d at 978-81.

      182

      [13] At oral argument, counsel for Oracle explained that it "would never claim that anyone who uses a package-class-method manner of classifying violates our copyright. We don't own every conceivable way of organizing, we own only our specific expression—our specific way of naming each of these 362 methods, putting them into 36 classes, and 20 subclasses." Oral Argument at 16:44.

      183

      [14] Amici McNealy and Sutphin explain that "a quick examination of other programming environments shows that creators of other development platforms provide the same functions with wholly different creative choices." Br. of McNealy and Sutphin 17. For example, in Java, a developer setting the time zone would call the "setTime-Zone" method within the "DateFormat" class of the java.text package. Id. Apple's iOS platform, on the other hand, "devotes an entire class to set the time zone in an application—the `NSTimeZone' class" which is in the "Foundation framework." Id. at 17-18 (noting that a "framework is Apple's terminology for a structure conceptually similar to Java's `package'"). Microsoft provides similar functionality with "an entirely different structure, naming scheme, and selection." Id. at 18 ("In its Windows Phone development platform, Microsoft stores its time zone programs in the `TimeZoneInfo' class in its `Systems' namespace (Microsoft's version of a `package' or `framework')."). Again, this is consistent with the evidence presented at trial.

      184

      [15] During oral argument, Google's counsel stated that "a program written in the Java language can run on Android if it's only using packages within the 37. So if I'm a developer and I have written a program, I've written it in Java, I can stick an Android header on it and it will run in Android because it is using the identical names of the classes, methods, and packages." Oral Argument at 31:31. Counsel did not identify any programs that use only the 37 API packages at issue, however, and did not attest that any such program would be useful. Nor did Google cite to any record evidence to support this claim.

      185

      [16] Google argues that, in the same way a formerly distinctive trademark can become generic over time, a program element can lose copyright protection when it becomes an industry standard. But "it is to be expected that phrases and other fragments of expression in a highly successful copyrighted work will become part of the language. That does not mean they lose all protection in the manner of a trade name that has become generic." Warner Bros., Inc. v. Am. Broadcasting Cos., 720 F.2d 231, 242 (2d Cir. 1983) ("No matter how well known a copyrighted phrase becomes, its author is entitled to guard against its appropriation to promote the sale of commercial products."). Notably, even when a patented method or system becomes an acknowledged industry standard with acquiescence of the patent owner, any permissible use generally requires payment of a reasonable royalty, which Google refused to do here. See generally In re Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC, No. 11-C-9308, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144061 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 27, 2013).

      186

      [17] Google argues that, if we allow it to retry its fair use defense on remand, it is entitled to a retrial on infringement as well. We disagree. The question of whether Google's copying constituted infringement of a copyrighted work is "distinct and separable" from the question of whether Google can establish a fair use defense to its copying. See Gasoline Prods. Co. v. Champlin Refining Co., 283 U.S. 494, 500 (1931) ("Where the practice permits a partial new trial, it may not properly be resorted to unless it clearly appears that the issue to be retried is so distinct and separable from the others that a trial of it alone may be had without injustice."). Indeed, we have emphasized more than once in this opinion the extent to which the questions are separable, and the confusion and error caused when they are blurred. The issues are not "interwoven" and it would not create "confusion and uncertainty" to reinstate the infringement verdict and submit fair use to a different jury. Id. We note, moreover, that, because Google only mentions this point in passing, with no development of an argument in support of it, under our case law, it has not been properly raised. See SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Apotex Corp., 439 F.3d 1312, 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (when a party provides no developed argument on a point, we treat that argument as waived) (collecting cases).

      187

      [18] At least one recent district court decision has recognized uncertainty in Ninth Circuit law on this point. See Brocade Commc'ns Sys. v. A10 Networks, Inc., No. 10cv-3428, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8113, at *33 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 10, 2013) ("The Ninth Circuit has been unclear about whether the de minimis use doctrine serves as an affirmative defense under the Copyright Act's fair use exceptions or whether the doctrine merely highlights plaintiffs' obligation to show that `the use must be significant enough to constitute infringement.'") (citing Newton, 388 F.2d at 1193; Norse, 991 F.2d at 566).

  • 4 Week 4

  • 5 Week 5

    • 5.1 Lindsay v. R.M.S. Titanic (1999)

      1

      97 Civ. 9248 (HB)

      2
      ALEXANDER LINDSAY, Plaintiff
      -against-
      The Wrecked and Abandoned Vessel R.M.S. TITANIC, HER ENGINES, TACKLE, EQUIPMENT, FURNISHINGS, Located Within One Nautical Mile of a Point Located at 41°, 43'32" North Latitude and 49°, 56'49" West, and ARTIFACTS, and VIDEO Located at 17 Battery Place, New York, NY, in rem, and R.M.S. TITANIC, INC.,TITANIC VENTURES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, OCEANIC RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION LIMITED, SUAREZ CORPORATION INDUSTRIES, INC., and DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS, INC., d.b.a. THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL, in personam, Defendants.[1]
      3

      United States District Court Southern District of New York.
      October 13, 1999.

      4
      OPINION & ORDER
      5

      HAROLD BAER, JR., District Judge:

      6

      The plaintiff, Alexander Lindsay, commenced this lawsuit in 1997, seeking damages based upon his share of the revenues generated by the salvage operations conducted at the wreck site of the famous sunken vessel, the R.M.S. Titanic. Defendants R.M.S. Titanic, Inc. ("RMST") and Suarez Corporation Inc. ("SCI") answered and asserted counterclaims against the plaintiff for copyright infringement. The plaintiffs' amended complaint joined defendant Discovery Communications, Inc. ("DCI") and added claims of copyright infringement against RMST, SCI and DCI. Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the defendants now move [2] to dismiss the plaintiffs copyright claims alleged in the amended complaint.[2] The plaintiff crossmoves for summary judgment as to both his salvage and copyright claims. For the reasons discussed below, the defendants' motions are DENIED in part and GRANTED in part, and the Court reserves decision on the plaintiffs motion.

      7
      I. BACKGROUND
      8

      The plaintiff, a citizen of the United Kingdom and resident of the State of New York, is an independent documentary film maker engaged in the business of creating, producing, directing, and filming documentaries: (Amended Complaint ("Am. Compl.") ¶ 4.) Defendant R.M.S. Titanic, Inc. ("RMST") is a publicly traded U.S. corporation, organized under the laws of the State of Florida, which conducts business within and has its office and principal place of business in New York City. (Am. Compl. ¶ 8.) Defendant George Tulloch ("Tulloch") is a shareholder, president and member of the board of directors of RMST. (Am. Compl. ¶ 7.) Defendant Titanic Ventures Limited Partnership ("TVLP") is a limited partnership organized under the laws of Connecticut and currently doing business in the State of New York.[3] (Am. Compl. ¶ 9.) Defendant Oceanic Research and [3] Exploration Limited ("OREL") is a Delaware corporation and general partner of TVLP. Defendant Tullqch is also the president and sole shareholder of OREL (defendants RMST, Tulloc, TVLP and OREL collectively as "RMST"). Defendant Suarez Corporation, Inc. ("SCI") is an Ohio corporation doing business in the State of New York. Defendant Discovery Communications, Inc. ("DCI") is a Maryland corporation doing business as "The Discovery Channel", and is engaged in the business of making, financing and distributing documentary films. (Am. Compl. ¶ 13.)

      9

      In 1993, RMST was awarded exclusive status as salvor-in-possession of the Titanic wreck site and is therefore authorized to carry on salvage operations at the vessel's wreck site. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8, 20.) As a condition of obtaining these rights, RMST allegedly agreed to maintain all the artifacts it recovered during the salvage operations for historical verification, scientific education, and public awareness. (Am. Compl. ¶ 22.)

      10

      In 1994, the plaintiff, under contract with a British television company, filmed and directed the British documentary film, "Explorers of the Titanic," a chronicle of RMST's third salvage expedition of the Titanic. (Am. Compl. ¶ 25.) To film this documentary, Lindsay sailed with RMST and the salvage expedition crew to the wreck site and remained at sea for approximately one month. (Am. Compl. ¶ 27.) The plaintiff alleges that during and after filming this documentary in 1994, he conceived a new film project for the Titanic wreck using high illumination lighting equipment. (Am. Compl. ¶ 28.)

      11

      The plaintiff later discussed his idea with defendant George Tulloch and, according to the plaintiff, the two agreed to work together on the venture. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 29.) In March 1995, the plaintiff traveled to New York and developed a comprehensive business plan for the new film project entitled, ''Titanic: A Memorial Tribute." (Am. Compl ¶ 30.) Tulloch allegedly informed the [4] plaintiff that he would agree to the plan — which purported to include provisions for compensating Lindsay for his work on the project — but that Tulloch would have to obtain approval from the RMST Board of Directors. (Am. Compl. ¶ 31.) The plaintiff agreed to join RMST to raise money not only for the film project, but for other aspects of the 1996 salvage operation as well. (Am. Compl. ¶ 32.)

      12

      Lindsay moved into an office at RMST in and around April 1995. Around this time, tulloch repeatedly told Lindsay that he would obtain approval from RMSTs Board of Directors for a contract for the plaintiff based upon the terms of Lindsay's film plan. (Am. Compl. ¶ 33.) The contract was to include terms of Lindsay's compensation, including sharing in the profits derived from any film, video and still photographs obtained from the 1996 salvage operation. (Am. Compl. ¶ 36.) This contract was never executed.

      13

      As part of his pre-production efforts, the plaintiff created various storyboards for the film, a series of drawings which incorporated images of the Titanic by identifying specific camera angles and shooting sequences "that reflect[ed] Plaintiff's [sic] creative inspiration and force behind his concept for shooting the Subject Work." (Am. Compl. ¶ 38.) The plaintiff also alleges that he, along with members of his film team, designed the huge underwater light towers that were later used to make the film. (Am. Compl. ¶ 43.) Lindsay also "personally constructed the light towers" and thereafter "for approximately 3-4 weeks directed, produced, and acted as the cinematographer of the Subject Work; underwater video taping of the Titanic wreck site, and otherwise participated in the 1996 salvage operation." (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 45-46.) He also directed the filming of the wreck site from on board the salvage vessel "Ocean Voyager" after leading daily planning sessions with the crew of the Nautile, the submarine used to transport the film equipment and photographers to the underwater wreck site. (Am. Compl. ¶ 47.) The purpose of these sessions was to provide the [5] photographers with "detailed instructions for positioning and utilizing the light towers." Id.)

      14

      The plaintiff now alleges that he was never fully compensated for his services and that, inter alia, the defendants are now "unlawfully profiting from the exploitation of the" film project at issue. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 57-60.)

      15

      The plaintiff originally brought this action under the Court's admiralty jurisdiction to enforce his salvage claims against defendants RMS Titanic, Inc., Titanic Ventures Limited Partners, Oceanic Research and Exploration Limited (collectively as "RMST"), and Suarez Corporation.

      16

      These defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiffs salvage claims. By order dated September 2, 1998, I denied the motion to dismiss, having found that the plaintiff had met his burden of pleading all the necessary elements for bringing a salvage claim. See Lindsay v. Titanic, No. 97 Civ. 9248, 1998 WL 557591 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 2, 1998).

      17

      RMST and SCI then answered the complaint and included counterclaims for copyright infringement arising from the plaintiff's use of certain video footage taken from the wreck during the 1996 expedition. By order dated April 9, 1999, I granted the plaintiffs motion to amend his complaint to add copyright infringement claims against RMST and SCI and to join Discovery Communications, Inc. ("DCI") d/b/a The Discovery Channel, for copyright infringement of what appears to be the same footage at issue in the defendants' counterclaims.

      18

      The plaintiffs amended complaint now includes 13 causes of action, including those based on copyright infringement, salvage claims, and state law causes of action for fraud, breach of contract, and conversion. The defendants now move pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss Lindsay's copyright claims, and the plaintiff cross-moves for summary judgment on his copyright and salvage claims.

      19
      [6] II. DISCUSSION
      20
      A. Standards for Motion to Dismiss
      21

      Dismissal of a complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is permitted "only where itappears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim which would entitle him to relief." Scotto v. Almenas, 143 F.3d 105, 109-10 (2d Cir. 1998). "The task of the court in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is 'merely to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint not to assay the weight of the evidence which might be offered in support thereof.'" Cooper v. Parsky, 140 F.3d 433, 440 (2d Cir. 1998) (quoting Ryder Energy Distribution Com. v. Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc., 748 F.2d 774, 779 (2d Cir. 1984)). In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must accept as true all material facts alleged in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the nonmovant's favor. See Thomas v. City of New York, 143 F.3d 31, 36 (2d Cir. 1998).

      22
      B. Copyright Claims
      23
      Pleading Requirements
      24

      To withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint based on copyright infringement must allege: (1) which specific original works are the subject of the copyright claim; (2) that the plaintiff owns the copyrights in those works; (3) that the copyrights have been registered in accordance with the statute; and (4) "by what acts during what time" the defendant infringed the copyright. Kelly v. L.L. Cool J., 145 F.R.D. 32, 35 (1992), aff'd, 23 F.3d 398 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 950 (1994).

      25

      Although the complaint is not a model of clarity, it meets for the most part, these standards. With regard to the first element, the complaint refers to the plaintiffs copyright interest in the "Subject Work," and — as the defendants point out — makes several different references to what [7] exactly this work constitutes (See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 28, 76, 78.)[4] However, piecing together these various allegations, and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, it becomes clear for purposes of this motion that the "Subject Work" consists of the illuminated underwater footage that was filmed utilizing the large light towers that Lindsay helped design and construct. (See Am. Compl. ¶ 46.) Regarding the second and third elements, the plaintiff alleges that he owns these works, (Am. Compl. ¶ 55), and that they were accepted and registered with the U.S. Register of Copyrights. (Am. Compl. ¶ 78.)

      26

      As to the fourth element — how and when the defendants infringed the copyright — the plaintiff has satisfied his burden as to all the defendants except SCI. With respect to RMST, the complaint alleges that RMST "unlawfully enter[ed] into the exclusive license agreement with DCI," (Am. Compl. ¶ 62), "enered [sic] into contracts conveying video clips and still images . . . to various Titanic artifacts exhibitions throughout the world," and "RMST displays images from the Subject Work on its INTERNET web site." (Am. Compl. ¶ 63.) The complaint alleges that DCI incorporated portions of the illuminated footage into three separate documentaries that aired on certain dates in 1997. (Am. Compl.¶ 64.)

      27

      The plaintiffs' contentions against SCI, however, do not fare as well. Lindsay alleges that SCI "used plaintiff's name and likeness" to promote a 1996 cruise expedition to observe the salvage operations. (Am. Compl. ¶ 42.) In addition, the amended complaint charges that "SCI did knowingly and willfully infringe upon Plaintiff's copyright . . . by unlawfully purchasing and/or otherwise obtaining copies of the Subject Work" and has and will "exploit and profit from the Subject Work." [8] (Am. Compl. ¶ 73.) I find that these vague and conclusory allegations are, as a matter of law, insufficient withstand the instant motion. Kelly, 145 F.R.D. at 36, n.3 ("Rule 8 requires that the particular infringing acts be set out with some specificity. Broad, sweeping allegations of infringement do not comply with Rule 8."). Accordingly, the plaintiffs third cause of action as against SCI is hereby dismissed.

      28
      2. Authorship
      29

      The defendants first argue that the plaintiff cannot have any protectable right in the illuminated footage since he did not dive to the ship and thus did not himself actually photograph the wreckage. This argument, however, does not hold water.

      30

      The Copyright Act of 1976 provides that copyright ownership "vests initially in the author or authors of the work." 17 U.S.C. §201(a). Generally speaking, the author of a work is the person "who actually creates the work, that is, the person who translates an idea into a fixed, tangible expression entitled to copyright protection." Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730, 737 (1989) (citing 17 U.S.C. §102). In the context of film footage and photography, it makes intuitive sense that the "author" of a work is the individual or individuals who took the pictures, i.e. the photographer. However, the concept is broader than as argued by the defendants.

      31

      For over 100 years, the Supreme Court has recognized that photographs may receive copyright protection in ''so far as they are representatives of original intellectual conceptions of the author" Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S . 53, 58 (1884). An individual claiming to be an author for copyright purposes must show "the existence of those facts of originality, of intellectual production, of thought, and conception." Feist Publications. Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Company Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 346-347 (1991) (citing Burrow-Giles, 111 U.S. at 59-60). [9] Some elements of originality in a photograph includes "posing the subjects, lighting, angle, selection of film and camera, evoking the desired expression, and almost any variant involved." Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301, 307 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 934 (1992). Taken as true, the plaintiffs allegations meet this standard. Lindsay's alleged storyboards and the specific directions he provided to the film crew regarding the use of the lightowers and the angles from which to shoot the wreck all indicate that the final footage would indeed be the product of Lindsay's "original intellectual conceptions."

      32

      The fact that Lindsay did not literally perform the filming, i.e. by diving to the wreck and operating the cameras, will not defeat his claims of having "authored" the illuminated footage. The plaintiff alleges that as part of his pre-production efforts, he created so-called "storyboards," a series of drawings which incorporated images of the Titanic by identifying specific camera angles and shooting sequences. (Am. Compl. ¶ 38.) During the expedition itself, Lindsay claims to have been "the director, producer and cinematographer" of the underwater footage. (Am. Compl. ¶ 46.) As part of this role, Lindsay alleges that he directed daily planning sessions with the film crew to provide them with "detailed instructions for positioning and utilizing the light towers." (Am. Compl. ¶ 47.) Moreover, the plaintiff actually "directed the filming" of the Titanic from on board the Ocean Voyager, the salvage vessel that held the crew and equipment. (Am. Compl. ¶ 47) Finally, Lindsay screened the footage at the end of each day to "confirm that he had obtained the images he wanted." (Am. Compl. ¶ 48.)

      33

      All else being equal, where a plaintiff alleges that he exercised such a high degree of control over a film operation — including the type and amount of lighting used, the specific camera angles to be employed, and other detail-intensive artistic elements of a film — such that the final product [10] duplicates his conceptions and visions of what the film should look like, the plaintiff may be said "author" within the meaning of the Copyright Act.

      34

      Indeed, the instant case is analogous to Andrien v. Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, 927 F.2d 132 (3d Cir. 1991). There, the Third Circuit recognized that "a party can be considered an author when his or her expression of an idea is transposed by mechanical or rote transcription into tangible form under the authority of the party." Id. at 135. The plaintiff in Andrien had received a copyright for a map of Long Beach Island, New Jersey which was created from a compilation of pre-existing maps and the plaintiffs personal survey of the island. To transform his concepts and the information he had gathered into the final map, the plaintiff hired a printing company to print the map in final form. The plaintiff testified that the maps were made by the printer "with me at her elbow practically" and that he spent time each day at the print shop during the weeks the map was made, directing the map's preparation in specific detail. In reversing the lower court's granting of summary judgment against the plaintiff, the court noted that the printers had not "intellectually modified or technically enhanced the concept articulated by Andrien," nor did they "change the substance of Andrien's original expression." Id. at 135. See also Lakedreams v. Taylor 932 F.2d 1103, 1108 (5th Cir. 1991) (noting that authors may be entitled to copyright protection even if they do not ''perform with their own hands the mechanical tasks of putting the material into the form distributed to the public"). It is too early to tell whether the allegations of the plaintiff here satisfy the copyright laws, but crediting his story as I must, dismissal is unwarranted at this stage of the litigation.

      35

      The defendants argue that Geshwind v. Garrick, 734 F.Supp. 644 (S.D.N.Y. 1990), vacated in part, 738 F.Supp. 792 (S.D.N.Y. 1990), affd, 927 F.2d 594 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 811-[11]-1991), mandates dismissal. That case, however, is inapposite. The plaintiff there, a producer of computer graphics animation and special effects, had contracted to produce a 15-second animation piece. The plaintiff hired Digital, a computer graphics company to, in essence, produce the animated piece. The court in Geshwind found that Digital, by its employee, was the "author" within the meaning of the Copyright Act. In ruling that the plaintiff was not an "author," Judge Patterson found that the plaintiff there had made only minimal contributions to the final product and had only some, if any, of his "suggestions" incorporated into the final product. Id. at 650. This is in stark contrast to the case at bar where Lindsay alleges that his contributions — not suggestions — were anything but minimal, and he describes himself as the driving force behind the final film product at issue here.

      36
      3. Joint-Authorship
      37

      In the alternative, the defendants argue that Lindsay is, at best, a joint author of the underwater footage with RMST. This contention is based on the notion that Christian Petron, the main photographer of the film, was at least a joint-author of the footage with the plaintiff. Since Petron's participation was accomplished under the auspices of a work for hire agreement with RMST, the defendants' argument continues, any rights to authorship Petron may have received via his filming were conferred upon RMST. As a joint author with the plaintiff then, RMST cannot be liable for copyright infringement since each co-author acquires an undivided interest in the entire work and has the right to use the work as he or she pleases. Thomson v. Larson, 147 F .3d 195; 199 (2d Cir. 1998); Weissman v. Freeman, 868 F.2d 1313, 1318 (2d Cir.) ("[A]n action for infringement between joint owners will not lie because an individual cannot infringe his own copyright."), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 883 (1989). Similarly, any copyright claim against DCI would fail since RMST, as a joint author, has the right to license the joint work to third parties. Thomson, 147 F.3d at 199.

      38

      [12] A "joint work" under the Copyright Act is one "prepared by two or more authors with the Intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole." 17 U.S.C. §101. To prove co-authorship status, it must be shown by the individual claiming co-authorship status that each of the putative co-authors (1) fully intended to be co-authors, and (2) made independently copyrightable contributions to the work. Thomson, 147 F.3d at 200 (citing Childress v. Taylor, 945 F.2d 500, 507-508 (2d Cir. 1991)).

      39

      Drawing all inferences in favor of Lindsay, I conclude that no such status existed in the case at bar. With regard to the intent prong of the analysis, "[a]n important indicator of authorship is a contributor's decision making authority over what changes are made and what is included in a work." Id. at 202-3 (citing Erickson v. Trinity Theatre. Inc., 13 F.3d 1061, 1071-72 (7th Cir. 1994) (actor's suggestions of text did not support a claim of co-authorship where the sole author determined whether and where such suggestions were included in the work)). In other words, where one contributor retains a so-called "veto" authority over what is included in a work, such control is a strong indicator that he or she does not intend to be co-authors with the other contributor. According to the pleadings, the plaintiff exercised virtually total control over the content of the film as "the director, producer and cinematographer" of the production. (Am. Compl. ¶ 46.) Additionally, he briefed the photographers with regards to, inter alia, the specific camera angles they were to employ, (Am. Compl. ¶ 47), and Lindsay screened the film each day to make sure the proper footage was obtained. (Am. Compl. ¶ 48.) Based on these allegations, and implicit in the notion that the film crew was simply "following directions,"[5] Lindsay retained what appeared to be exclusive authority [13] over what was included in the footage. Assuming as I must at this stage of the litigation that this is true, it can hardly be said that the plaintiff intended Petron — or any other contributor — to be a coauthor. Accordingly, the claims by RMST that it — by virtue of Petron's role as a photographer under a work-for-hire agreement — was a joint-author within the meaning of the Copyright Act must fail.

      40
      4. Accounting
      41

      Lindsay's fifth cause of action seeks an accounting by DCI, SCI, and RMST of moneys these defendants received from their unauthorized use of the copyrighted footage at issue. Regardless of whether this Court — or a jury — ultimately finds that Lindsay and RMST are joint authors, with respect to DCI, the plaintiffs complaint here sinks under its own weight.

      42

      The duty to provide an accounting from profits obtained runs only between co-owners of a copyright. Margo v. Weiss, No. 96 Civ. 3842, 1998 WL 2558, at *9 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 5, 1998) ("[T]he duty to account for profits presupposes a relationship as co-owners of the copyright. . . ."); cf. Thomson, 147 F.3d at 199 ("[E]ach joint author has the right to use or to license the work as he or she wishes, subject only to the obligation to account to the other joint owner for any profits that are made.") (emphasis added); Kaplan v. Vincent, 937 F.Supp. 307, 316 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) ("[E]ach author maintains the right to use or license the work, subject only to an accounting to the other co-owner.") (emphasis added). Because DCI is only a licensee of a putative joint owner of the copyright at issue here, Lindsay's claim for an accounting fails as a matter of law and must be [14] dismissed.[6]

      43
      III. CONCLUSION
      44

      For the reasons discussed above, the defendants' motions are DENIED in part and GRANTED in part such that the plaintiffs cause of action for copyright infringement against SCI is dismissed, as is Lindsay's cause of action for an accounting with respect to DCI and SCI only. The plaintiffs remaining copyright-based claims[7] and other causes of action have survived this motion.[8] The current pre-trial scheduling order remains in place, and the case is on the January 2000 trailing trial calendar.

      45

      SO ORDERED.

      46

      Dated: October 12, 1999

      47

      New York, New York

      48

      [1] Prior to the issuance of this opinion, the plaintiff dismissed from the case defendant Ben Suarez, in his individual capacity as president of Suarez Corporation, Inc., pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1) of the Fed. R. Civ. P.

      49

      [2] Although the Court has reviewed the voluminous supplementary submissions provided with and after the filing of these motions, I am excluding this virtual sea of materials and decline to convert the defendants' motions to dismiss to motions for summary judgment. Accordingly, I base my ruling on these motions solely on the pleadings. See Amaker v. Weiner, 179 F.3d 48, 51-52 (2d Cir. 1999) (finding that the inclusion of affidavits or exhibits with a motion to dismiss does not require conversion to a motion for summary judgment provided the court does not rely on such submissions in deciding the motion to dismiss). In any event, a cursory review of the documents submitted with these motions reveals that the factual waters of this case are sufficiently muddied so as to warrant denial of summary judgment at this juncture as well.

      50

      [3] In May 1993, RMST acquired all the assets and assumed the liabilities of TVLP, a limited partnership that was formed in 1987 for purposes of exploring the Titanic wreck site. (Am. Compl. ¶ 19.)

      51

      [4] Lindsay defines the "Subject Work" as: "a new film project for the Titanic wreck using high illumination lighting equipment" (Am. Compl. ¶ 28); "the documentary film Titanic: In a New Light" (Am. Compl., 76); and "the illuminated underwater video footage." (Am. Compl. ¶ 78.)

      52

      [5] Along these lines, Lindsay's alleged control over the filming rendered the film crew's role to one of no more than "rote or mechanical transcription that [did] not require intellectual modification," Andrien, 927 F.2d at 135, a contribution that would not be independently copyrightable. Id.; Thomson, 147 F.3d at 200. RMST's claims of joint-authorship would thus fail on this prong as well.

      53

      [6] Because the plaintiff fails to state a cognizable copyright claim against defendant SCI, as discussed herein, count five is also dismissed as to defendant SCI.

      54

      [7] These causes of action are as follows: declaration of copyright ownership; copyright infringement by RMST; copyright infringement by DCI; and an accounting, with respect to RMST only.

      55

      [8] These causes of action, not at issue in the instant motions to dismiss, inculude: breach of contract; breach of implied covenant of good faith; quantum meruit; conversion; "money lent"; fraud; fraudulent misrepresentation; declaration of co-salvor status; and common law fraud and deceit.

  • 6 Week 6

    • 6.1 Stewart v. Abend (1990)

      1
      495 U.S. 207
      2
      110 S.Ct. 1750
      3
      109 L.Ed.2d 184
      4
      James STEWART, et al., Petitioners
      v.
      Sheldon ABEND, DBA Authors Research Company.
      5
      No. 88-2102.
      6
      Argued Jan. 9, 1990.
      7
      Decided April 24, 1990.
      8

      Syllabus

      9

      In 1945, author Cornell Woolrich agreed to assign the motion picture rights to several of his stories, including the one at issue, to petitioners' predecessor in interest. He also agreed to renew the copyrights in the stories at the appropriate time and to assign the same motion picture rights to the predecessor in interest for the 28-year renewal term provided by the Copyright Act of 1909. The film version of the story in question was produced and distributed in 1954. Woolrich died in 1968 without a surviving spouse or child and before he could obtain the rights in the renewal term for petitioners as promised. In 1969, his executor renewed the copyright in the story and assigned the renewal rights to respondent Abend. Apparently in reliance on Rohauer v. Killiam Shows, Inc., 551 F.2d 484 (CA2)—which held that the owner of the copyright in a derivative work may continue to use the existing derivative work according to the original grant from the author of the pre-existing work even if the grant of rights in the pre-existing work lapsed—petitioners subsequently re-released and publicly exhibited the film. Abend filed suit, alleging, among other things, that the re-release infringed his copyright in the story because petitioners' right to use the story during the renewal term lapsed when Woolrich died. The District Court granted petitioners' motions for summary judgment based on Rohauer and the "fair use" defense. The Court of Appeals reversed, rejecting the reasoning of Rohauer. Relying on Miller Music Corp. v. Charles N. Daniels, Inc., 362 U.S. 373, 80 S.Ct. 792, 4 L.Ed.2d 804—which held that assignment of renewal rights by an author before the time for renewal arrives cannot defeat the right of the author's statutory successor to the renewal rights if the author dies before the right to renewal accrues—the court concluded that petitioners received from Woolrich only an expectancy in the renewal rights that never matured, and that his executor, as his statutory successor, was entitled to renew the copyright and to assign it to Abend. The court also determined that petitioners' use of Woolrich's story in their film was not fair use.

      10

      Held:

      11

      1. The distribution and publication of a derivative work during the copyright renewal term of a pre-existing work incorporated into the-[208] derivative work infringes the rights of the owner of the pre-existing work where the author of that work agreed to assign the rights in the renewal term to the derivative work's owner but died before the commencement of the renewal period and the statutory successor does not assign the right to use the pre-existing work to the owner of the derivative work. Pp. 216-236.

      12

      (a) The renewal provisions of the 1909 and 1976 Copyright Acts, their legislative history, and the case law interpreting them establish that they were intended both to give the author a second chance to obtain fair remuneration for his creative efforts and to provide his family, or his executors absent surviving family, with a "new estate" if he died before the renewal period arrived. Under Miller Music, although the author may assign all of his exclusive rights in the copyrighted work by assigning the renewal copyright without limitation, the assignee holds nothing if the author dies before commencement of the renewal period. This being the rule with respect to all of the renewal rights, it follows, a fortiori, that assignees such as petitioners of the right to produce a derivative work or some other portion of the renewal rights also hold nothing but an unfulfilled and unenforceable expectancy if the author dies before the renewal period, unless the assignees secure a transfer of the renewal rights from the author's statutory successor. Pp. 216-221.

      13

      (b) Petitioners' contention that any right the owner of rights in the pre-existing work might have had to sue for infringement that occurs during the renewal term is extinguished by creation of the new work is not supported by any express provision of the Act nor by the rationale as to the scope of protection achieved in a derivative work, and is contrary to the axiomatic principle that a person may exploit only such copyrighted literary material as he either owns or is licensed to use. Section 7 of the 1909 Act and § 103(b) of the 1976 Act made explicit the well-settled rule that the owner of a derivative work receives copyright protection only for the material contributed by him and to the extent he has obtained a grant of rights in the pre-existing work. Pp. 221-224.

      14

      (c) Nor is petitioners' position supported by the termination provisions of the 1976 Act, which, for works existing in their original or renewal terms as of January 1, 1978, empowered the author to gain an additional 19 years' copyright protection by terminating any grant of rights at the end of the renewal term, except, under 17 U.S.C. § 304(c)(6)(A) (1988 ed.), the right to use a derivative work for which the owner of the derivative work has held valid rights in the original and renewal terms. No overarching policy preventing authors of pre-existing works from blocking distribution of derivative works may be inferred from § 304(c)(6)(A), which was part of a compromise between competing special inter-[209] ests. In fact, the plain language of the section indicates that Congress assumed that the owner of the pre-existing work continued to possess the right to sue for infringement even after incorporation of that work into the derivative work, since, otherwise, Congress would not have explicitly withdrawn the right to terminate use rights in the limited circumstances contemplated by the section. Pp. 224-227.

      15

      (d) Thus, the Rohauer theory is supported by neither the 1909 nor the 1976 Act. Even if it were, however, the "rule" of that case would make little sense when applied across the derivative works spectrum. For example, although the contribution by the derivative author of a condensed book might be little as compared to that of the original author, publication of the book would not infringe the pre-existing work under the Rohauer "rule" even though the derivative author has no license or grant of rights in the pre-existing work. In fact, the Rohauer "rule" is considered to be an interest-balancing approach. Pp. 227-228.

      16

      (e) Petitioners' contention that the rule applied here will undermine the Copyright Act's policy of ensuring the dissemination of creative works is better addressed by Congress than the courts. In attempting to fulfill its constitutional mandate to "secur[e] for limited Times to Authors . . . the exclusive Right to their Respective Writings," Congress has created a balance between the artist's right to control the work during the term of the copyright protection and the public's need for access to creative works. Absent an explicit statement of congressional intent that the rights in the renewal term of an owner of a pre-existing work are extinguished when his work is incorporated into another work, it is not the role of this Court to alter the delicate balance Congress has labored to achieve. Pp. 228-230.

      17

      (f) Section 6 of the 1909 Act, 17 U.S.C. § 7 (1976 ed.)—which provides that derivate works when produced with the consent of the copyright proprietor of the pre-existing work "shall be regarded as new works subject to copyright . . .; but the publication of any such new works shall not affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright upon the matter employed . . .," or be construed to affect the copyright status of the original work—does not, as the dissent contends, give the original author the power to sell the rights to make a derivative work that upon creation and copyright would be completely independent of the original work. This assertion is derived from three erroneous premises. First, since the plain meaning of the "force or validity" clause is that the copyright in the "matter employed"—i.e., the pre-existing work when it is incorporated into the derivative work is not abrogated by publication of the derivative work, the dissent misreads § 7 when it asserts that only the copyright in the "original work" survives the author's conveyance of derivative rights. Second, the substitution of "publication" for "copy right" [210] in the final version of the force or validity clause does not, as the dissent contends, establish that it was the publication of the derivative work, and not the copyright, that was not to "affect . . . any subsisting copyright." Since publication of a work without proper notice sent it into the public domain under the 1909 Act, the language change was necessary to ensure that the publication of a derivative work without proper notice, including smaller portions that had not been previously published and separately copyrighted, would not result in those sections moving into the public domain. Third, the dissent errs in interpreting § 3 of the 1909 Act—which provides that a copyright protects all copyrightable component parts of a work and "all matter therein in which copyright is already subsisting, but without extending the duration or scope of such copyright"—as indicating, when read with § 7, that the copyright on derivative work extends to both the new material and that "in which the copyright is already subsisting," such that the derivative work proprietor has the right to publish and distribute the entire work absent permission from the owner of the pre-existing work. When § 7 states that derivative works "shall be regarded as new works subject to copyright," it simply confirms that § 3's provision that one can obtain copyright in a work, parts of which were already copyrighted, extends to derivative works. More important, § 7's second clause merely clarifies what might have been otherwise unclear—that the § 3 principle of preservation of the duration or scope of the subsisting copyright applies to derivative works, and that neither the scope of the copyright in the matter employed nor the duration of the copyright in the derivative work is undermined by publication of the derivative work. Pp. 230-236.

      18

      2. Petitioners' unauthorized use of Woolrich's story in their film does not constitute a noninfringing "fair use." The film does not fall into any of the categories of fair use enumerated in 17 U.S.C. § 107 (1988 ed.); e.g., criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. Nor does it meet any of the nonexclusive criteria that § 107 requires a court to consider. First, since petitioners received $12 million from the film's re-release during the renewal term, their use was commercial rather than educational. Second, the nature of the copyrighted work is fictional and creative rather than factual. Third, the story was a substantial portion of the film, which expressly used its unique setting, characters, plot, and sequence of events. Fourth, and most important, the record supports the conclusion that re-release of the film impinged on Abend's ability to market new versions of the story. Pp. 236-238.

      19

      863 F.2d 1465 (CA9 1988), affirmed and remanded.

      20

      [211] O'CONNOR, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. WHITE, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 238. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and SCALIA, J., joined, post, p. 239.

      21

      Louis P. Petrich, Los Angeles, Cal., for petitioners.

      22

      Peter J. Anderson for respondent.

      23

      Justice O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court.

      24

      The author of a pre-existing work may assign to another the right to use it in a derivative work. In this case the author of a pre-existing work agreed to assign the rights in his renewal copyright term to the owner of a derivative work, but died before the commencement of the renewal period. The question presented is whether the owner of the derivative work infringed the rights of the successor owner of the pre-existing work by continued distribution and publication of the derivative work during the renewal term of the pre-existing work.

      25
      I
      26

      Cornell Woolrich authored the story "It Had to Be Murder," which was first published in February 1942 in Dime Detective Magazine. The magazine's publisher, Popular Publications, Inc., obtained the rights to magazine publication of the story and Woolrich retained all other rights. Popular Publications obtained a blanket copyright for the issue of Dime Detective Magazine in which "It Had to Be Murder" was published.

      27

      [212] The Copyright Act of 1909, 35 Stat. 1075, 17 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. (1976 ed.) (1909 Act), provided authors a 28-year initial term of copyright protection plus a 28-year renewal term. See 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1976 ed.). In 1945, Woolrich agreed to assign the rights to make motion picture versions of six of his stories, including "It Had to Be Murder," to B.G. De Sylva Productions for $9,250. He also agreed to renew the copyrights in the stories at the appropriate time and to assign the same motion picture rights to De Sylva Productions for the 28-year renewal term. In 1953, actor Jimmy Stewart and director Alfred Hitchcock formed a production company, Patron, Inc., which obtained the motion picture rights in "It Had to Be Murder" from De Sylva's successors in interest for $10,000.

      28

      In 1954, Patron, Inc., along with Paramount Pictures, produced and distributed "Rear Window," the motion picture version of Woolrich's story "It Had to Be Murder." Woolrich died in 1968 before he could obtain the rights in the renewal term for petitioners as promised and without a surviving spouse or child. He left his property to a trust administered by his executor, Chase Manhattan Bank, for the benefit of Columbia University. On December 29, 1969, Chase Manhattan Bank renewed the copyright in the "It Had to Be Murder" story pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1976 ed.). Chase Manhattan assigned the renewal rights to respondent Abend for $650 plus 10% of all proceeds from exploitation of the story.

      29

      "Rear Window" was broadcast on the ABC television network in 1971. Respondent then notified petitioners Hitchcock (now represented by cotrustees of his will), Stewart, and MCA Inc., the owners of the "Rear Window" motion picture and renewal rights in the motion picture, that he owned the renewal rights in the copyright and that their distribution of the motion picture without his permission infringed his copyright in the story. Hitchcock, Stewart, and MCA nonetheless entered into a second license with ABC to [213] rebroadcast the motion picture. In 1974, respondent filed suit against these same petitioners, and others, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging copyright infringement. Respondent dismissed his complaint in return for $25,000.

      30

      Three years later, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided Rohauer v. Killiam Shows, Inc., 551 F.2d 484, cert. denied, 431 U.S. 949, 97 S.Ct. 2666, 53 L.Ed.2d 266 (1977), in which it held that the owner of the copyright in a derivative work[1] may continue to use the existing derivative work according to the original grant from the author of the pre-existing work even if the grant of rights in the pre-existing work lapsed. 551 F.2d, at 494. Several years later, apparently in reliance on Rohauer, petitioners re-released the motion picture in a variety of media, including new 35 and 16 millimeter prints for theatrical exhibition in the United States, videocassettes, and videodiscs. They also publicly exhibited the motion picture in theaters, over cable television, and through videodisc and videocassette rentals and sales.

      31

      Respondent then brought the instant suit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against Hitchcock, Stewart, MCA, and Universal Film Exchanges, a subsidiary of MCA and the distributor of the motion picture. Respondent's complaint alleges that the re-release of the motion picture infringes his copyright in the story because petitioners' right to use the story during the renewal term lapsed when Woolrich died before he could register for the renewal term and transfer his renewal rights to them. Respondent also contends that petitioners have interfered with his rights in the renewal term of the story in other ways. He alleges that he sought to contract with Home Box [214] Office (HBO) to produce a play and television version of the story, but that petitioners wrote to him and HBO stating that neither he nor HBO could use either the title, "Rear Window" or "It Had to Be Murder." Respondent also alleges that petitioners further interfered with the renewal copyright in the story by attempting to sell the right to make a television sequel and that the re-release of the original motion picture itself interfered with his ability to produce other derivative works.

      32

      Petitioners filed motions for summary judgment, one based on the decision in Rohauer, supra, and the other based on alleged defects in the story's copyright. Respondent moved for summary judgment on the ground that petitioners' use of the motion picture constituted copyright infringement. Petitioners responded with a third motion for summary judgment based on a "fair use" defense. The District Court granted petitioners' motions for summary judgment based on Rohauer and the fair use defense and denied respondent's motion for summary judgment, as well as petitioners' motion for summary judgment alleging defects in the story's copyright. Respondent appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and petitioners cross-appealed.

      33

      The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that respondent's copyright in the renewal term of the story was not defective, Abend v. MCA, Inc., 863 F.2d 1465, 1472 (1988). The issue before the court, therefore, was whether petitioners were entitled to distribute and exhibit the motion picture without respondent's permission despite respondent's valid copyright in the pre-existing story. Relying on the renewal provision of the 1909 Act, 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1976 ed.), respondent argued before the Court of Appeals that because he obtained from Chase Manhattan Bank, the statutory successor, the renewal right free and clear of any purported assignments of any interest in the renewal copyright, petitioners' distribution and publication of "Rear Window" without authorization infringed his renewal copyright. Petitioners responded that [215] they had the right to continue to exploit "Rear Window" during the 28-year renewal period because Woolrich had agreed to assign to petitioners' predecessor in interest the motion picture rights in the story for the renewal period.

      34

      Petitioners also relied, as did the District Court, on the decision in Rohauer v. Killiam Shows, Inc., supra. In Rohauer, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that statutory successors to the renewal copyright in a pre-existing work under § 24 could not "depriv[e] the proprietor of the derivative copyright of a right . . . to use so much of the underlying copyrighted work as already has been embodied in the copyrighted derivative work, as a matter of copyright law." Id., at 492. The Court of Appeals in the instant case rejected this reasoning, concluding that even if the pre-existing work had been incorporated into a derivative work, use of the pre-existing work was infringing unless the owner of the derivative work held a valid grant of rights in the renewal term.

      35

      The court relied on Miller Music Corp. v. Charles N. Daniels, Inc., 362 U.S. 373, 80 S.Ct. 792, 4 L.Ed.2d 804 (1960), in which we held that assignment of renewal rights by an author before the time for renewal arrives cannot defeat the right of the author's statutory successor to the renewal rights if the author dies before the right to renewal accrues. An assignee of the renewal rights takes only an expectancy: "Until [the time for registration of renewal rights] arrives, assignees of renewal rights take the risk that the rights acquired may never vest in their assignors. A purchaser of such an interest is deprived of nothing. Like all purchasers of contingent interests, he takes subject to the possibility that the contingency may not occur." Id., at 378, 80 S.Ct., at 796. The Court of Appeals reasoned that "[i]f Miller Music makes assignment of the full renewal rights in the underlying copyright unenforceable when the author dies before effecting renewal of the copyright, then, a fortiori, an assignment of part of the rights in the underlying work, the right to produce a movie version, must [216] also be unenforceable if the author dies before effecting renewal of the underlying copyright." 863 F.2d, at 1476. Finding further support in the legislative history of the 1909 Act and rejecting the Rohauer court's reliance on the equities and the termination provisions of the 1976 Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 203(b)(1), 304(c)(6)(A) the Court of Appeals concluded that petitioners received from Woolrich only an expectancy in the renewal rights that never matured; upon Woolrich's death, Woolrich's statutory successor, Chase Manhattan Bank, became "entitled to a renewal and extension of the copyright," which Chase Manhattan secured "within one year prior to the expiration of the original term of copyright." 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1976 ed.). Chase Manhattan then assigned the existing rights in the copyright to respondent.

      36

      The Court of Appeals also addressed at length the proper remedy, an issue not relevant to the issue on which we granted certiorari. We granted certiorari to resolve the conflict between the decision in Rohauer, supra, and the decision below. 493 U.S. 807, 110 S.Ct. 47, 107 L.Ed.2d 16 (1989). Petitioners do not challenge the Court of Appeals' determination that respondent's copyright in the renewal term is valid, and we express no opinion regarding the Court of Appeals' decision on this point.

      37
      II
      38
      A.
      39

      Petitioners would have us read into the Copyright Act a limitation on the statutorily created rights of the owner of an underlying work. They argue in essence that the rights of the owner of the copyright in the derivative use of the pre-existing work are extinguished once it is incorporated into the derivative work, assuming the author of the pre-existing work has agreed to assign his renewal rights. Because we find no support for such a curtailment of rights in either the 1909 Act or the 1976 Act, or in the legislative history of either, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

      40

      [217] Petitioners and amicus Register of Copyrights assert, as the Court of Appeals assumed, that § 23 of the 1909 Act, and the case law interpreting that provision, directly control the disposition of this case. Respondent counters that the provisions of the 1976 Act control, but that the 1976 Act reenacted § 24 in § 304 and, therefore, the language and judicial interpretation of § 24 are relevant to our consideration of this case. Under either theory, we must look to the language of and case law interpreting § 24.

      41

      The right of renewal found in § 24 provides authors a second opportunity to obtain remuneration for their works. Section 24 provides:

      42

      "[T]he author of [a copyrighted] work, if still living, or the widow, widower, or children of the author, if the author be not living, or if such author, widow, widower, or children be not living, then the author's executors, or in the absence of a will, his next of kin shall be entitled to a renewal and extension of the copyright in such work for a further term of twenty-eight years when application for such renewal and extension shall have been made to the copyright office and duly registered therein within one year prior to the expiration of the original term of copyright." 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1976 ed.)

      43

      Since the earliest copyright statute in this country, the copyright term of ownership has been split between an original term and a renewal term. Originally, the renewal was intended merely to serve as an extension of the original term; at the end of the original term, the renewal could be effected and claimed by the author, if living, or by the author's executors, administrators, or assigns. See Copyright Act of May 31, 1790, ch. XV, § 1, 1 Stat. 124. In 1831, Congress altered the provision so that the author could assign his contingent interest in the renewal term, but could not, through his assignment, divest the rights of his widow or children in the renewal term. See Copyright Act of February 3, 1831, ch. XVI, 4 Stat. 436; see also G. Curtis, Law of Copyright 235 [218] (1847). The 1831 renewal provisions created "an entirely new policy, completely dissevering the title, breaking up the continuance . . . and vesting an absolutely new title eo nomine in the persons designated." White-Smith Music Publishing Co. v. Goff, 187 F. 247, 250 (CA1 1911). In this way, Congress attempted to give the author a second chance to control and benefit from his work. Congress also intended to secure to the author's family the opportunity to exploit the work if the author died before he could register for the renewal term. See Bricker, Renewal and Extension of Copyright, 29 S.Cal.L.Rev. 23, 27 (1955) ("The renewal term of copyright is the law's second chance to the author and his family to profit from his mental labors"). "The evident purpose of [the renewal provision] is to provide for the family of the author after his death. Since the author cannot assign his family's renewal rights, [it] takes the form of a compulsory bequest of the copyright to the designated persons." De Sylva v. Ballentine, 351 U.S. 570, 582, 76 S.Ct. 974, 981, 100 L.Ed. 1415 (1956). See Fred Fisher Music Co. v. M. Witmark & Sons, 318 U.S. 643, 651, 63 S.Ct. 773, 776, 87 L.Ed. 1055 (1943) (if at the end of the original copyright period, the author is not living, "his family stand[s] in more need of the only means of subsistence ordinarily left to them" (citation omitted)).

      44

      In its debates leading up to the Copyright Act of 1909, Congress elaborated upon the policy underlying a system comprised of an original term and a completely separate renewal term. See G. Ricordi & Co. v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 189 F.2d 469, 471 (CA2) (the renewal right "creates a new estate, and the . . . cases which have dealt with the subject assert that the new estate is clear of all rights, interests or licenses granted under the original copyright"), cert. denied, 342 U.S. 849, 72 S.Ct. 77, 96 L.Ed. 641 (1951). "It not infrequently happens that the author sells his copyright outright to a publisher for a comparatively small sum." H.R.Rep. No. 2222, 60th Cong., 2d Sess., 14 (1909). The renewal term permits the author, originally in a poor bargaining position, to renegoti [219] ate the terms of the grant once the value of the work has been tested. "[U]nlike real property and other forms of personal property, [a copyright] is by its very nature incapable of accurate monetary evaluation prior to its exploitation." 2 M. Nimmer & D. Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 9.02, p. 9-23 (1989) (hereinafter Nimmer). "If the work proves to be a great success and lives beyond the term of twenty-eight years, . . . it should be the exclusive right of the author to take the renewal term, and the law should be framed . . . so that [the author] could not be deprived of that right." H.R.Rep. No. 2222, supra, at 14. With these purposes in mind, Congress enacted the renewal provision of the Copyright Act of 1909, 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1976 ed.). With respect to works in their original or renewal term as of January 1, 1978, Congress retained the two-term system of copyright protection in the 1976 Act. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 304(a) and (b) (1988 ed.) (incorporating language of 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1976 ed.)).

      45

      Applying these principles in Miller Music Corp. v. Charles N. Daniels, Inc., 362 U.S. 373, 80 S.Ct. 792, 4 L.Ed.2d 804 (1960), this Court held that when an author dies before the renewal period arrives, his executor is entitled to the renewal rights, even though the author previously assigned his renewal rights to another party. "An assignment by an author of his renewal rights made before the original copyright expires is valid against the world, if the author is alive at the commencement of the renewal period. [Fred] Fisher Co. v. [M.] Witmark & Sons, 318 U.S. 643 [63 S.Ct. 773], so holds." Id., 362 U.S., at 375, 80 S.Ct., at 794. If the author dies before that time, the "next of kin obtain the renewal copyright free of any claim founded upon an assignment made by the author in his lifetime. These results follow not because the author's assignment is invalid but because he had only an expectancy to assign; and his death, prior to the renewal period, terminates his interest in the renewal which by § 24 vests in the named classes." Ibid. The legislative history of the 1909 Act echoes this view: "The right of renewal is contingent. It does not vest until the end [of the original term].

      46

      [220] If [the author] is alive at the time of renewal, then the original contract may pass it, but his widow or children or other persons entitled would not be bound by that contract." 5 Legislative History of the 1909 Copyright Act, Part K, p. 77 (E. Brylawski & A. Goldman eds. 1976) (statement of Mr. Hale).[2] Thus, the renewal provisions were intended to give the author a second chance to obtain fair remuneration for his creative efforts and to provide the author's family a "new estate" if the author died before the renewal period arrived.

      47

      An author holds a bundle of exclusive rights in the copyrighted work, among them the right to copy and the right to incorporate the work into derivative works.[3] By assigning the renewal copyright in the work without limitation, as in Miller Music, the author assigns all of these rights. After Miller Music, if the author dies before the commencement of the renewal period, the assignee holds nothing. If the assignee of all of the renewal rights holds nothing upon the death of the assignor before arrival of the renewal period, [221] then, a fortiori, the assignee of a portion of the renewal rights, e.g., the right to produce a derivative work, must also hold nothing. See also Brief for Register of Copyrights as Amicus Curiae 22 ("[A]ny assignment of renewal rights made during the original term is void if the author dies before the renewal period"). Therefore, if the author dies before the renewal period, then the assignee may continue to use the original work only if the author's successor transfers the renewal rights to the assignee. This is the rule adopted by the Court of Appeals below and advocated by the Register of Copyrights. See 863 F.2d, at 1478; Brief for Register of Copyrights as Amicus Curiae 22. Application of this rule to this case should end the inquiry. Woolrich died before the commencement of the renewal period in the story, and, therefore, petitioners hold only an unfulfilled expectancy. Petitioners have been "deprived of nothing. Like all purchasers of contingent interests, [they took] subject to the possibility that the contingency may not occur." Miller Music, supra, 362 U.S., at 378, 80 S.Ct., at 796.

      48
      B
      49

      The reason that our inquiry does not end here, and that we granted certiorari, is that the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reached a contrary result in Rohauer v. Killiam Shows, Inc., 551 F.2d 484 (1977). Petitioners' theory is drawn largely from Rohauer. The Court of Appeals in Rohauer attempted to craft a "proper reconciliation" between the owner of the pre-existing work, who held the right to the work pursuant to Miller Music, and the owner of the derivative work, who had a great deal to lose if the work could not be published or distributed. 551 F.2d, at 490. Addressing a case factually similar to this case, the court concluded that even if the death of the author caused the renewal rights in the pre-existing work to revert to the statutory successor, the owner of the derivative work could continue to exploit that work. The court reasoned that the 1976 Act and the relevant precedents did not preclude such a re [222] sult and that it was necessitated by a balancing of the equities:

      50

      "[T]he equities lie preponderantly in favor of the proprietor of the derivative copyright. In contrast to the situation where an assignee or licensee has done nothing more than print, publicize and distribute a copyrighted story or novel, a person who with the consent of the author has created an opera or a motion picture film will often have made contributions literary, musical and economic, as great as or greater than the original author. . . . [T]he purchaser of derivative rights has no truly effective way to protect himself against the eventuality of the author's death before the renewal period since there is no way of telling who will be the surviving widow, children or next of kin or the executor until that date arrives." Id., at 493.

      51

      The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit thereby shifted the focus from the right to use the pre-existing work in a derivative work to a right inhering in the created derivative work itself. By rendering the renewal right to use the original work irrelevant, the court created an exception to our ruling in Miller Music and, as petitioners concede, created an "intrusion" on the statutorily created rights of the owner of the pre-existing work in the renewal term. Brief for Petitioners 33.

      52

      Though petitioners do not, indeed could not, argue that its language expressly supports the theory they draw from Rohauer, they implicitly rely on § 6 of the 1909 Act, 17 U.S.C. § 7 (1976 ed.), which states that "dramatizations . . . of copyrighted works when produced with the consent of the proprietor of the copyright in such works . . . shall be regarded as new works subject to copyright under the provisions of this title." Petitioners maintain that the creation of the "new," i.e., derivative, work extinguishes any right the owner of rights in the pre-existing work might have had to sue for infringement that occurs during the renewal term.

      53

      [223] We think, as stated in Nimmer, that "[t]his conclusion is neither warranted by any express provision of the Copyright Act, nor by the rationale as to the scope of protection achieved in a derivative work. It is moreover contrary to the axiomatic copyright principle that a person may exploit only such copyrighted literary material as he either owns or is licensed to use." 1 Nimmer § 3.07[A], pp. 3-23 to 3-24 (footnotes omitted). The aspects of a derivative work added by the derivative author are that author's property, but the element drawn from the pre-existing work remains on grant from the owner of the pre-existing work. See Russell v. Price, 612 F.2d 1123, 1128 (CA9 1979) (reaffirming "well-established doctrine that a derivative copyright protects only the new material contained in the derivative work, not the matter derived from the underlying work"), cert. denied, 446 U.S. 952, 100 S.Ct. 2919, 64 L.Ed.2d 809 (1980); see also Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539, 547, 105 S.Ct. 2218, 2223, 85 L.Ed.2d 588 (1985) ("The copyright is limited to those aspects of the work termed 'expression'—that display the stamp of the author's originality"). So long as the pre-existing work remains out of the public domain, its use is infringing if one who employs the work does not have a valid license or assignment for use of the pre-existing work. Russell v. Price, supra, at 1128 ("[E]stablished doctrine prevents unauthorized copying or other infringing use of the underlying work or any part of that work contained in the derivative product so long as the underlying work itself remains copyrighted"). It is irrelevant whether the pre-existing work is inseparably intertwined with the derivative work. See Gilliam v. American Broadcasting Cos., 538 F.2d 14, 20 (CA2 1976) ("[C]opyright in the underlying script survives intact despite the incorporation of that work into a derivative work"). Indeed, the plain language of § 7 supports the view that the full force of the copyright in the pre-existing work is preserved despite incorporation into the derivative work. See 17 U.S.C. § 7 (1976 ed.) (publication of the derivative work "shall not affect the force or validity of [224] any subsisting copyright upon the matter employed"); see also 17 U.S.C. § 3 (1976 ed.) (copyright protection of a work extends to "all matter therein in which copyright is already subsisting, but without extending the duration or scope of such copyright"). This well-settled rule also was made explicit in the 1976 Act:

      54

      "The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the pre-existing material." 17 U.S.C. § 103(b).

      55

      See also B. Ringer, Renewal of Copyright (1960), reprinted as Copyright Law Revision Study No. 31, prepared for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 86th Cong., 2d. Sess., 169-170 (1961) ("[O]n the basis of judicial authority, legislative history, and the opinions of the commentators, . . . someone cannot avoid his obligations to the owner of a renewal copyright merely because he created and copyrighted a 'new version' under a license or assignment which terminated at the end of the first term") (footnotes omitted).

      56

      Properly conceding there is no explicit support for their theory in the 1909 Act, its legislative history, or the case law, petitioners contend, as did the court in Rohauer, that the termination provisions of the 1976 Act, while not controlling, support their theory of the case. For works existing in their original or renewal terms as of January 1, 1978, the 1976 Act added 19 years to the 1909 Act's provision of 28 years of initial copyright protection and 28 years of renewal protection. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 304(a) and (b). For those works, the author has the power to terminate the grant of rights at the end of the renewal term and, therefore, to gain the benefit of that additional 19 years of protection. See [225] § 304(c). In effect, the 1976 Act provides a third opportunity for the author to benefit from a work in its original or renewal term as of January 1, 1978. Congress, however, created one exception to the author's right to terminate: The author may not, at the end of the renewal term, terminate the right to use a derivative work for which the owner of the derivative work has held valid rights in the original and renewal terms. See § 304(c)(6)(A). The author, however, may terminate the right to create new derivative works. Ibid. For example, if petitioners held a valid copyright in the story throughout the original and renewal terms, and the renewal term in "Rear Window" were about to expire, petitioners could continue to distribute the motion picture even if respondent terminated the grant of rights, but could not create a new motion picture version of the story. Both the court in Rohauer and petitioners infer from this exception to the right to terminate an intent by Congress to prevent authors of pre-existing works from blocking distribution of derivative works. In other words, because Congress decided not to permit authors to exercise a third opportunity to benefit from a work incorporated into a derivative work, the Act expresses a general policy of undermining the author's second opportunity. We disagree.

      57

      The process of compromise between competing special interests leading to the enactment of the 1976 Act undermines any such attempt to draw an overarching policy out of § 304(c)(6)(A), which only prevents termination with respect to works in their original or renewal copyright terms as of January 1, 1978, and only at the end of the renewal period. See Ringer, First Thoughts on the Copyright Act of 1976, 13 Copyright 187, 188-189 (1977) (each provision of 1976 Act was drafted through series of compromises between interested parties). More specifically, § 304(c)

      58

      "was part of a compromise package involving the controversial and intertwined issues of initial ownership, duration of copyright, and reversion of rights. The Regis [226] ter, convinced that the opposition . . . would scuttle the proposed legislation, drafted a number of alternative proposals. . . .

      "Finally, the Copyright Office succeeded in urging negotiations among representatives of authors, composers, book and music publishers, and motion picture studios that produced a compromise on the substance and language of several provisions.

      . . . . .

      "Because the controversy surrounding the provisions disappeared once the parties reached a compromise, however, Congress gave the provisions little or no detailed consideration. . . . Thus, there is no evidence whatsoever of what members of Congress believed the language to mean." Litman, Copyright, Compromise, and Legislative History, 72 Cornell L. Rev. 857, 865-868 (1987) (footnotes omitted).

      59

      In fact, if the 1976 Act's termination provisions provide any guidance at all in this case, they tilt against petitioners' theory. The plain language of the termination provision itself indicates that Congress assumed that the owner of the pre-existing work possessed the right to sue for infringement even after incorporation of the pre-existing work in the derivative work.

      60

      "A derivative work prepared under authority of the grant before its termination may continue to be utilized under the terms of the grant after its termination, but this privilege does not extend to the preparation after the termination of other derivative works based upon the copyrighted work covered by the terminated grant." § 304(c)(6)(A) (emphasis added).

      61

      Congress would not have stated explicitly in § 304(c)(6)(A) that, at the end of the renewal term, the owner of the rights in the pre-existing work may not terminate use rights in existing derivative works unless Congress had assumed that [227] the owner continued to hold the right to sue for infringement even after incorporation of the pre-existing work into the derivative work. Cf. Mills Music, Inc. v. Snyder, 469 U.S. 153, 164, 105 S.Ct. 638, 645, 83 L.Ed.2d 556 (1985) (§ 304(c)(6)(A) "carves out an exception from the reversion of rights that takes place when an author exercises his right to termination").

      62

      Accordingly, we conclude that neither the 1909 Act nor the 1976 Act provides support for the theory set forth in Rohauer. And even if the theory found some support in the statute or the legislative history, the approach set forth in Rohauer is problematic. Petitioners characterize the result in Rohauer as a bright-line "rule." The Court of Appeals in Rohauer, however, expressly implemented policy considerations as a means of reconciling what it viewed as the competing interests in that case. See 551 F.2d, at 493-494. While the result in Rohauer might make some sense in some contexts, it makes no sense in others. In the case of a condensed book, for example, the contribution by the derivative author may be little, while the contribution by the original author is great. Yet, under the Rohauer "rule," publication of the condensed book would not infringe the pre-existing work even though the derivative author has no license or valid grant of rights in the pre-existing work. See Brief for Committee for Literary Property Studies as Amicus Curiae 29-31; see also Brief for Songwriters Guild of America as Amicus Curiae 11-12 (policy reasons set forth in Rohauer make little sense when applied to musical compositions). Thus, even if the Rohauer "rule" made sense in terms of policy in that case, it makes little sense when it is applied across the derivative works spectrum. Indeed, in the view of the commentators, Rohauer did not announce a "rule," but rather an "interest-balancing approach." See Jaszi, When Works Collide: Derivative Motion Pictures, Underlying Rights, and the Public Interest, 28 UCLA L.Rev. 715, 758-761 (1981); Note, Derivative Copyright and the 1909 [228] Act—New Clarity or Confusion?, 44 Brooklyn L.Rev. 905, 926-927 (1978).

      63

      Finally, petitioners urge us to consider the policies underlying the Copyright Act. They argue that the rule announced by the Court of Appeals will undermine one of the policies of the Act—the dissemination of creative works—by leading to many fewer works reaching the public. Amicus Columbia Pictures asserts that "[s]ome owners of underlying work renewal copyrights may refuse to negotiate, preferring instead to retire their copyrighted works, and all derivative works based thereon, from public use. Others may make demands—like respondent's demand for 50% of petitioners' future gross proceeds in excess of advertising expenses . . . which are so exorbitant that a negotiated economic accommodation will be impossible." Brief for Columbia Pictures et al. as Amici Curiae 21. These arguments are better addressed by Congress than the courts.

      64

      In any event, the complaint that respondent's monetary request in this case is so high as to preclude agreement fails to acknowledge that an initially high asking price does not preclude bargaining. Presumably, respondent is asking for a share in the proceeds because he wants to profit from the distribution of the work, not because he seeks suppression of it.

      65

      Moreover, although dissemination of creative works is a goal of the Copyright Act, the Act creates a balance between the artist's right to control the work during the term of the copyright protection and the public's need for access to creative works. The copyright term is limited so that the public will not be permanently deprived of the fruits of an artist's labors. See Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 429, 104 S.Ct. 774, 782, 78 L.Ed.2d 574 (1984) (the limited monopoly conferred by the Copyright Act "is intended to motivate creative activity of authors and inventors by the provision of a special reward, and to allow the public access to the products of their genius after the limited period of exclusive control has expired"). But nothing in the copyright statutes would [229] prevent an author from hoarding all of his works during the term of the copyright. In fact, this Court has held that a copyright owner has the capacity arbitrarily to refuse to license one who seeks to exploit the work. See Fox Film Corp. v. Doyal, 286 U.S. 123, 127, 52 S.Ct. 546, 547, 76 L.Ed. 1010 (1932).

      66

      The limited monopoly granted to the artist is intended to provide the necessary bargaining capital to garner a fair price for the value of the works passing into public use. See Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S., at 546, 105 S.Ct., at 2223 ("The rights conferred by copyright are designed to assure contributors to the store of knowledge a fair return for their labors"); Register of Copyrights, Copyright Law Revision, 87th Cong., 1st Sess., 6 (Comm.Print 1961) ("While some limitations and conditions on copyright are essential in the public interest, they should not be so burdensome and strict as to deprive authors of their just reward. . . . [T]heir rights should be broad enough to give them a fair share of the revenue to be derived from the market for their works"). When an author produces a work which later commands a higher price in the market than the original bargain provided, the copyright statute is designed to provide the author the power to negotiate for the realized value of the work. That is how the separate renewal term was intended to operate. See Ringer, Renewal of Copyright (1960), reprinted as Copyright Law Revision Study No. 31, prepared for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 86th Cong., 2d. Sess., 125 (1961) ("Congress wanted to give [the author] an opportunity to benefit from the success of his work and to renegotiate disadvantageous bargains . . . made at a time when the value of the work [wa]s unknown or conjectural and the author . . . necessarily in a poor bargaining position"). At heart, petitioners' true complaint is that they will have to pay more for the use of works they have employed in creating their own works. But such a result was contemplated by Congress and is consistent with the goals of the Copyright Act.

      67

      [230] With the Copyright Act of 1790, Congress provided an initial term of protection plus a renewal term that did not survive the author. In the Copyright Act of 1831, Congress devised a completely separate renewal term that survived the death of the author so as to create a "new estate" and to benefit the author's family, and, with the passage of the 1909 Act, his executors. See supra, at 217-219. The 1976 Copyright Act provides a single, fixed term, but provides an inalienable termination right. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 203, 302. This evolution of the duration of copyright protection tellingly illustrates the difficulties Congress faces in attempting to "secur[e] for limited Times to Authors . . . the exclusive Right to their respective Writings." U.S. Const., Art. I, § 8, cl. 8. Absent an explicit statement of congressional intent that the rights in the renewal term of an owner of a pre-existing work are extinguished upon incorporation of his work into another work, it is not our role to alter the delicate balance Congress has labored to achieve.

      68
      C
      69

      In a creative, though ultimately indefensible, exposition of the 1909 Act, the dissent attempts to breathe life into petitioners' suggestion that the derivative work is somehow independent of the pre-existing work. Although no Court of Appeals in the 81 years since enactment of the 1909 Act has held as much, and although the petitioners have not argued the point, the dissent contends that "§ 7 was intended to . . . give the original author the power to sell the right to make a derivative work that upon creation and copyright would be completely independent of the original work." Post, at 244; see also post, at 248. This assertion, far removed from the more modest holding of Rohauer, is derived from three erroneous premises.

      70

      First, we think the dissent misreads § 7, which provides:

      71

      "Compilations or abridgments, adaptations, arrangements, dramatizations, translations, or other versions of [231] works in the public domain or of copyrighted works when produced with the consent of the proprietor of the copyright in such works, or works republished with new matter, shall be regarded as new works subject to copyright under the provisions of this title; but the publication of any such new works shall not affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright upon the matter employed or any part thereof, or be construed to imply an exclusive right to such use of the original works, or to secure or extend copyright in such original works." 17 U.S.C. § 7 (1976 ed.).

      72

      The provision consists of one sentence with two clauses divided by a semicolon. The first clause lists the types of works that may be derivative works, explains that one may incorporate either copyrighted or public domain works into a derivative work, and further explains that the derivative work itself is copyrightable. The clause also expressly limits incorporation of copyrighted works to instances where the owner of the pre-existing work "consents."

      73

      The second clause explains what publication of the new work does not portend: Publication of the derivative work does not "affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright upon the matter employed " (emphasis added); publication of the derivative work does not mean that use of the original work in other works is precluded; and publication does not mean that a copyright in the original work shall be secured, e.g., if the work was in the public domain, or extended, as where the original work was copyrighted before the date that the derivative work is copyrighted. The plain meaning of the italicized sentence is that the copyright in the "matter employed"—the pre-existing work when it is incorporated into the derivative work—is not abrogated by publication of the new work. The succeeding phrases preserve the copyright status of the original work: Publication does not operate to prohibit other uses of the original work or to [232] "secure or extend copyright in such original works." Cf. post, at 249.

      74

      The dissent fails to heed § 7's preservation of copyright in both the "matter employed" and the "original work." Under its theory, only the latter is preserved. See post, at 253 ("author's right to sell his derivative rights is exercised when consent is conveyed and completed when the derivative work is copyrighted"); post, at 250 (underlying work "owner . . . retains full dominion and control over all other means of exploiting" underlying work). In light of § 7's explicit preservation of the "force and validity" of the copyright in the "matter employed," the dissent is clearly wrong when it asserts that § 7 was intended to create a work that is "completely independent" of the pre-existing work. Post, at 245. The dissent further errs when it unjustifiably presumes that § 7 "limit[s] the enforceability of the derivative copyright." Post, at 249.

      75

      According to the dissent, § 7 requires the derivative work author to obtain "consent of the proprietor of the copyright" in the pre-existing work, because "§ 7 . . . derogate[s] in some manner from the underlying author's copyright rights." Post, at 241. The more natural inference to be drawn from the requirement of consent is that Congress simply intended that a derivative work author may not employ a copyrighted work without the author's permission, although of course he can obtain copyright protection for his own original additions.

      76

      The text of § 7 reveals that it is not "surplusage." Post, at 244. It does not merely stand for the proposition that authors receive copyright protection for their original additions. It also limits the effect of the publication of the derivative work on the underlying work. See supra, at 231 and this page. Nowhere else in the Act does Congress address the treatment to be afforded derivative works. The principle that additions and improvements to existing works of art receive copyright protection was settled at the time the 1909 Act was enacted, a principle that Congress simply codified in § 7.

      77

      [233] Second, the dissent attempts to undercut the plain meaning of § 7 by looking to its legislative history and the substitution of the term "publication" for "copyright" in the force or validity clause. According to the dissent, that particular alteration in the proposed bill "made clear that it was the publication of the derivative work, not the copyright itself, that was not to 'affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright.' " Post, at 249. Under the 1909 Act, it was necessary to publish the work with proper notice to obtain copyright. Publication of a work without proper notice automatically sent a work into the public domain. See generally 2 Nimmer § 7.02[C][1]; 17 U.S.C. § 10 (1976 ed.). The language change was suggested only to ensure that the publication of a "new compiled work" without proper notice, including smaller portions that had not been previously published and separately copyrighted, would not result in those sections moving into the public domain. See Note, 44 Brooklyn L.Rev., at 919-920. Had the bill retained the term "copyright," publication alone could have affected the force or validity of the copyright in the pre-existing work. Thus, far from telling us anything about the copyright in the derivative work, as the dissent apparently believes it does, the language change merely reflects the practical operation of the Act.

      78

      Third, we think the dissent errs in its reading of § 3. Section 3 provides:

      79

      "The copyright provided by this title shall protect all the copyrightable component parts of the work copyrighted, and all matter therein in which copyright is already subsisting, but without extending the duration or scope of such copyright." 17 U.S.C. § 3 (1976 ed.).

      80

      The dissent reasons that § 7, "read together with § 3, plainly indicates that the copyright on a derivative work extends to both the new material and that 'in which copyright is already subsisting.' The author or proprietor of the derivative work therefore has the statutory right to publish and distribute the entire work." Post, at 241. Section 3, however, [234] undermines, rather than supports, the dissent's ultimate conclusion that the derivative work is "completely independent" of the pre-existing work. Post, at 245. Section 3 makes three distinct points: (1) copyright protects the copyrightable parts of the work; (2) copyright extends to parts of the work in which copyright was already obtained, and (3) the duration or scope of the copyright already obtained will not be extended. Important for this case is that § 3 provides that one can obtain copyright in a work where parts of the work are already copyrighted. For example, one could obtain a copyright in an opera even though three of the songs to be used were already copyrighted. This, and only this, is what is meant in § 7 when it states that "[c]ompilations or abridgments, adaptations, arrangements, dramatizations, translations or other versions of works . . . or works republished with new matter shall be regarded as new works subject to copyright under the provisions of this title."

      81

      More important, however, is that under the express language of § 3, one obtains a copyright on the entire work, but the parts previously copyrighted get copyright protection only according to the "duration or scope" of the already existing copyright. Thus, if an author attempts to obtain copyright in a book derived from a short story, he can obtain copyright on the book for the full copyright term, but will receive protection of the story parts only for the duration and scope of the rights previously obtained. Correlatively, if an author attempts to copyright a novel, e.g., about Cinderella, and the story elements are already in the public domain, the author holds a copyright in the novel, but may receive protection only for his original additions to the Cinderella story. See McCaleb v. Fox Film Corp., 299 F. 48 (CA5 1924); American Code Co. v. Bensinger, 282 F. 829 (CA2 1922).

      82

      The plain language of the first clause of § 7 ensures that this scheme is carried out with respect to "[c]ompilations or abridgments, adaptations, arrangements, dramatizations, translations, or other versions of works in the public domain [235] or of copyrighted works . . . or works republished with new matter," i.e., derivative works. The second clause of § 7 clarifies what might have been otherwise unclear—that the principle in § 3 of preservation of the duration or scope of the subsisting copyright applies to derivative works, and that neither the scope of the copyright in the matter employed nor the duration of the copyright in the original work is undermined by publication of the derivative work. See Adventures in Good Eating v. Best Places to Eat, 131 F.2d 809, 813, n. 3 (CA7 1942); G. Ricordi & Co. v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 189 F.2d 469 (CA2), cert. denied, 342 U.S. 849, 72 S.Ct. 77, 96 L.Ed. 641 (1951); Russell v. Price, 612 F.2d, at 1128; see also 1 Nimmer § 3.07.

      83

      If one reads the plain language of § 7 and § 3 together, one must conclude that they were enacted in no small part to ensure that the copyright in the pre-existing work would not be abrogated by the derivative work. Section 7 requires consent by the author of the pre-existing work before the derivative work may be produced, and both provisions explicitly require that the copyright in the "subsisting work" will not be abrogated by incorporation of the work into another work.

      84

      If the dissent's theory were correct, § 3 need only say that "copyright provided by this title shall protect all the copyrightable component parts of the work copyrighted, and all matter therein in which copyright is already subsisting." Instead, § 3 goes on to say that the latter coverage exists "without extending the duration or scope of such copyright." Clearly, the 1909 Act's plain language requires that the underlying work's copyright term exists independently of the derivative work's term, even when incorporated and even though the derivative work holder owns copyright in the whole "work." If the terms must exist separately, each copyright term must be examined for the validity and scope of its grant of rights.

      85

      In this case, the grant of rights in the pre-existing work lapsed and, therefore, the derivative work owners' rights to [236] use those portions of the pre-existing work incorporated into the derivative work expired. Thus, continued use would be infringing; whether the derivative work may continue to be published is a matter of remedy, an issue which is not before us. To say otherwise is to say that the derivative work nullifies the "force" of the copyright in the "matter employed." Whether or not we believe that this is good policy, this is the system Congress has provided, as evidenced by the language of the 1909 Act and the cases decided under the 1909 Act. Although the dissent's theory may have been a plausible option for a legislature to have chosen, Congress did not so provide.

      86
      III
      87

      Petitioners assert that even if their use of "It Had to Be Murder" is unauthorized, it is a fair use and, therefore, not infringing. At common law, "the property of the author . . . in his intellectual creation [was] absolute until he voluntarily part[ed] with the same." American Tobacco Co. v. Werckmeister, 207 U.S. 284, 299, 28 S.Ct. 72, 77, 52 L.Ed. 208 (1907). The fair use doctrine, which is incorporated into the 1976 Act, evolved in response to this absolute rule. See Harper & Row, 471 U.S., at 549-551, 105 S.Ct., at 2224-2226. The doctrine is an " 'equitable rule of reason,' " Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S., at 448, 104 S.Ct., at 792, which "permits courts to avoid rigid application of the copyright statute when, on occasion, it would stifle the very creativity which that law is designed to foster." Iowa State University Research Foundation, Inc. v. American Broadcasting Cos., 621 F.2d 57, 60 (CA2 1980). Petitioners contend that the fair use doctrine should be employed in this case to "avoid [a] rigid applicatio[n] of the Copyright Act." Brief for Petitioners 42.

      88

      In 17 U.S.C. § 107, Congress provided examples of fair use, e.g., copying "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research," and listed four [237] nonexclusive factors that a court must consider in determining whether an unauthorized use is not infringing:

      89

      "(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

      "(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

      "(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

      "(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."

      90

      The Court of Appeals determined that the use of Woolrich's story in petitioners' motion picture was not fair use. We agree. The motion picture neither falls into any of the categories enumerated in § 107 nor meets the four criteria set forth in § 107. "[E]very [unauthorized] commercial use of copyrighted material is presumptively an unfair exploitation of the monopoly privilege that belongs to the owner of the copyright." Sony Corp. of America v. Universal Studios, Inc., supra, 464 U.S., at 451, 104 S.Ct., at 793. Petitioners received $12 million from the re-release of the motion picture during the renewal term. 863 F.2d, at 1468. Petitioners asserted before the Court of Appeals that their use was educational rather than commercial. The Court of Appeals found nothing in the record to support this assertion, nor do we.

      91

      Applying the second factor, the Court of Appeals pointed out that "[a] use is less likely to be deemed fair when the copyrighted work is a creative product." 863 F.2d, at 1481 (citing Brewer v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 749 F.2d 527, 529 (CA9 1984)). In general, fair use is more likely to be found in factual works than in fictional works. See 3 Nimmer § 13.05[A], pp. 13-77 to 13-78 ("[A]pplication of the fair use defense [is] greater . . . in the case of factual works than in the case of works of fiction or fantasy"); cf. Harper & Row, 471 U.S., at 563, 105 S.Ct., at 2232 ("The law generally recognizes a greater need to disseminate factual works than works of fiction or fan tasy").

      92

      [238] A motion picture based on a fictional short story obviously falls into the latter category.

      93

      Examining the third factor, the Court of Appeals determined that the story was a substantial portion of the motion picture. See 471 U.S., at 564-565, 105 S.Ct., at 2232-2233 (finding unfair use where quotation from book " 'took what was essentially the heart of the book' "). The motion picture expressly uses the story's unique setting, characters, plot, and sequence of events. Petitioners argue that the story constituted only 20% of the motion picture's story line, Brief for Petitioners 40, n. 69, but that does not mean that a substantial portion of the story was not used in the motion picture. "[A] taking may not be excused merely because it is insubstantial with respect to the infringing work." Harper & Row, supra, at 565, 105 S.Ct., at 2233.

      94

      The fourth factor is the "most important, and indeed, central fair use factor." 3 Nimmer § 13.05[A], p. 13-81. The record supports the Court of Appeals' conclusion that re-release of the film impinged on the ability to market new versions of the story. Common sense would yield the same conclusion. Thus, all four factors point to unfair use. "This case presents a classic example of an unfair use: a commercial use of a fictional story that adversely affects the story owner's adaptation rights." 863 F.2d, at 1482.

      95

      For the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

      96

      It is so ordered.

      97

      Justice WHITE, concurring in the judgment.

      98

      Although I am not convinced, as the Court seems to be, that the decision in Miller Music Corp. v. Charles N. Daniels, Inc., 362 U.S. 373, 80 S.Ct. 792, 4 L.Ed.2d 804 (1960), was required by the Copyright Act, neither am I convinced that it was an impermissible construction of the statute. And because Miller Music, in my view, requires the result reached by the Court in this case, I concur in the judgment of affirmance.

      99

      [239] Justice STEVENS, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE and Justice SCALIA join, dissenting.

      100

      The Constitution authorizes the Congress:

      101

      "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. . . ." U.S. Const. Art. I, § 8, Cl. 8.

      102

      Section 6 of the Copyright Act of 1909, 35 Stat. 1077, 17 U.S.C. § 7 (1970 ed.) (hereinafter § 7), furthers that purpose; § 24 of that Act, 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1970 ed.) (hereinafter § 24), as construed by the Court in this case, does not. It is therefore appropriate to begin with § 7.[1]

      103
      I
      104

      In a copyright case, as in any other case, the language of the statute provides the starting point. Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730, 739, 109 S.Ct. 2166, 2172, 104 L.Ed.2d 811 (1989); Mills Music, Inc. v. Snyder, 469 U.S. 153, 164, 105 S.Ct. 638, 645, 83 L.Ed.2d 556 (1985).

      105

      Section 7 provides in pertinent part:

      106

      "Compilations or abridgments, adaptations, arrangements, dramatizations, translations, or other versions of [240] works in the public domain or of copyrighted works when produced with the consent of the proprietor of the copyright in such works . . . shall be regarded as new works subject to copyright under the provisions of this title; but the publication of any such new works shall not affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright upon the matter employed or any part thereof, or be construed to imply an exclusive right to such use of the original works, or to secure or extend copyright in such original works."

      107

      This statutory provision deals with derivative works—works that include both old material and new material. The plain language of § 7 confers on the entire derivative work—not just the new material contained therein—the status of all other works of authorship, that of "new works subject to copyright under the provisions of this title." Among those rights is that specified in § 3 of the 1909 Act, 17 U.S.C. § 3 (1976 ed.), which applies both to composite and derivative works and states that "the copyright provided by this Act shall protect all the copyrightable component parts of the work copyrighted, and all matter therein in which copyright is already subsisting, but without extending the duration or scope of such copyright." In turn, under § 1, U.S.C. § 1 (1976 ed.), the author or proprietor of the copyright has the right to distribute and publicly perform the copyrighted derivative work. §§ 1(a), 1(d).[2] The statute does not say [241] anything about the duration of the copyright being limited to the underlying work's original term; rather, derivative works made with the consent of the author and derivative works based on matter in the public domain are treated identically. They are both given independent copyright protection. Section 7, read together with § 3, plainly indicates that the copyright on a derivative work extends to both the new material and that "in which copyright is already subsisting." § 3. The author or proprietor of the derivative work therefore has the statutory right to publish and distribute the entire work.[3]

      108

      The structure of § 7 confirms this reading. The statute does not merely provide the derivative author with a right to copyright but goes on to set limitations and conditions on that copyright. The statute makes "the consent of the proprietor of the [underlying] copyright" a precondition for copyright of the derivative work, a provision that would make little sense if the copyright provided by § 7 did not derogate in some manner from the underlying author's copyright rights.[4] The [242] statute also directs that the right granted the derivative work proprietor should not "be construed to imply an exclusive right to such use of the original works," suggesting, by negative implication, that it should be read to include a non-exclusive right to use of the original works. The provision that publication "shall not affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright" also suggests that publication would otherwise have the capacity to affect the force or validity of the original copyright: By publishing the derivative work [243] without satisfying the notice requirements of the Act, the derivative author would dedicate to the public not only his own original contribution, but also that of the original author. Conversely, the limitation that publication does not "secure or extend copyright in such original works" would be unnecessary if the copyrighted derivative work did not include within it some of the material covered by the earlier copyright, or if the term of the derivative copyright did not extend beyond the life of the original copyright.[5] Although the derivative copyright protects only the new material contained within the new work, that limitation is not the product of the limited extent of the copyright—which encompasses both new and old material—but rather of the specific statutory language restricting its effect against third parties.[6]

      109

      [244] Any other interpretation would render the provision largely surplusage. The Copyright Act of 1909 elsewhere accords protection to "all the writings of an author," § 4, including dramatic composition, § 5, and long before the Act of 1909, it was recognized that the additions and improvements to existing works of art were subject to copyright as original works of authorship.[7] Congress would hardly have needed to provide for the copyright of derivative works, including the detailed provisions on the limit of that copyright, if it intended only to accord protection to the improvements to an original work of authorship. In my opinion, § 7 was intended to do something more: to give the original author the power [245] to sell the right to make a derivative work that upon creation and copyright would be completely independent of the original work.

      110
      II
      111

      The statutory background supports the conclusion that Congress intended the original author to be able to sell the right to make a derivative work that could be distributed for the full term of the derivative work's copyright protection. At the time of the enactment of § 7, copyright in the right to dramatize a nondramatic work was a relatively recent innovation with equivocal support. Until 1870, an author had only the right to prevent the copying or vending of his work in the identical medium.[8] The Act of 1870, which gave the author the "sole liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing, completing, copying, executing, finishing, and vending," made a limited start toward further protection, providing that "authors may reserve the right to dramatize or to translate their own works." Ch. 230, § 86, 16 Stat. 212. The identical language was carried over when the statute was revised in 1873. Rev.Stat. § 4952. The Act of 1891 was a landmark. It gave the same rights to the "author" as had the previous statutes, but provided further that "authors or their assigns shall have exclusive right to dramatize and translate any of their works for which copyright shall have been obtained under the laws of the United States." Ch. 565, § 4952, 26 Stat. 1107. The case law was in accord. Although courts were occasionally willing to enjoin abridgments as infringing, in 1853 Justice Grier wrote that a dramatization of the novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" would not infringe [246] the author's rights in the book, see Stowe v. Thomas, 23 F.Cas. 201, 208 (No. 13,514) (CC ED Pa.1853),[9] and it was not until after the passage of the 1909 Act that this Court first held that a copy of a literary work in another form than the original could infringe the author's copyright. See Kalem Co. v. Harper Brothers, 222 U.S. 55, 32 S.Ct. 20, 56 L.Ed. 92 (1911).[10]

      112

      [247] The drafts of the copyright bill, considered by the Conferences held by the Register of Copyrights and the Librarian of Congress in 1905 and 1906,[11] had three distinctive features with respect to derivative works: They provided a limited period of protection from the creation of derivative works during which a derivative work could only be created with "the consent of the author or his assigns," Brylawski & Goldman D LXV; [12] they distinguished between the copyright term for original works of authorship and for derivative works, according the latter a shorter period of protection; [13] and, finally, they provided that derivative works produced with the consent of the original author would be considered new works entitled to copyright. Together these provisions reveal a more complicated set of theoretical premises than is commonly acknowledged. Although originality of authorship was an essential precondition of copy- [248] right, the duration of the copyright term and the extent of copyright protection rested upon the nature of the work as a whole rather than the original expression contributed by the copyright author. Moreover, the consent of the underlying author to the production of a derivative work was to be encouraged and, once given, entitled the derivative work to independence from the work upon which it was based.

      113

      The first two provisions were not included in the Copyright Act, which gave authors the right, during the full term of copyright, to create or consent to the creation of derivative works which would then enjoy their own copyright protection. But the third provision which set the conditions upon which an original author would consent and the second author would create a derivative work entitled to protection under the Copyright Act carried forward the view that the derivative copyright extended beyond the original contribution of the derivative author. Throughout the debates on the provision, the drafters of the Copyright Act evinced their understanding that the derivative copyright itself encompassed the whole derivative work. The first draft of § 7, considered by the second Conference in 1905, would have provided copyright as a new work for a derivative work "produced with the consent and authorization of the author of the original," without any restrictions on the effect of that copyright on the copyright in the original work. 2 Brylawski & Goldman, Part D, p. XXXII. By the time of the third Conference in 1906, the Register of Copyrights expressed his concern that that provision would be read too broadly, adding the proviso: "That the copyright thus secured shall not be construed to grant any exclusive right to such use of the original works, except as that may be obtained by agreement with the author or proprietor thereof." 3 id., Part E, p. LI. The implication was that, in the absence of an agreement, the author of the derivative work would have, as a matter of copyright law, a nonexclusive right "to such use of the original works."

      114

      [249] The final draft presented to Congress at the end of 1906 addressed a parallel problem that the license to use the underlying material might also detract from the rights of the underlying copyright if the derivative author did not adequately protect the material on which the copyright was subsisting. To allay this concern, the Register added the language "no such copyright shall affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright upon the matter employed or any part thereof." 1 id., Part B, p. 15.

      115

      Two significant changes were made during the congressional hearings from 1907 through 1909, but with those exceptions the provision survived intact. First, in response to the objection that the language of § 6, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 7 (1976 ed.), in conjunction with that of § 3, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 3 (1976 ed.), would be read to give the derivative work proprietor "a new term of copyright running on this old matter of his" and, in that way, provide for perpetual copyright, 4 Brylawski & Goldman, Part J, pp. 132-138 (statement of Mr. Porterfeld); see also id., at 428, Congress limited the enforceability of the derivative copyright, adding language that publication of the dramatization would not "secure or extend copyright in such original works." § 6, 35 Stat. 1077. Second, in response to the objection that the Register's draft provision did not address with sufficient precision the possibility that failure of the derivative copyright would allow the underlying work to enter the public domain, Congress substituted the word "publication" for "copyright" in the "force or validity" clause. Congress thus made clear that it was the publication of the derivative work, not the copyright itself, that was not to "affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright." Ibid.[14]

      116

      [250] The legislative history confirms that the copyright in derivative works not only gives the second creative product the monopoly privileges of excluding others from the unconsented use of the new work, but also allows the creator to publish his or her own work product. The authority to produce the derivative work, which includes creative contributions by both the original author and the second artist, is dependent upon the consent of the proprietor of the underlying copyright. But once that consent has been obtained, and a derivative work has been created and copyrighted in accord with that consent, "a right of property spr[ings] into existence," Edmonds v. Stern, 248 F. 897, 898 (CA2 1918), that Congress intended to protect. Publication of the derivative work does not "affect the force or validity" of the underlying copyright except to the extent that it gives effect to the consent of the original proprietor. That owner—and in this case, the owner of a renewal of the original copyright—retains full dominion and control over all other means of exploiting that work of art, including the right to authorize other derivative works. The original copyright may have relatively little value because the creative contribution of the second artist is far more significant than the original con-[251] tribution, but that just means that the rewards for creativity are being fairly allocated between the two artists whose combined efforts produced the derivative work.

      117
      III
      118

      Nothing in § 24 requires a different result. The portion of that section dealing with copyright renewals provides:

      119

      "[T]he author of such work, if still living, or the widow, widower, or children of the author, if the author be not living, . . . shall be entitled to a renewal and extension of the copyright in such work for a further term of twenty-eight years when application for such renewal and extension shall have been made to the copyright office and duly registered therein within one year prior to the expiration of the original term of copyright." 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1976 ed.).

      120

      That statute limits the renewal rights in a copyright to the specified statutory beneficiaries, "completely dissevering the title, breaking up the continuance . . . and vesting an absolutely new title eo nomine in the persons designated." White-Smith Music Publishing Co. v. Goff, 187 F. 247, 250 (CA1 1911). Since copyright is a creature of statute and since the statute gives the author only a contingent estate, with "the widow, widower, or children" as remaindermen, the author "ha[s] only an expectancy to assign" for the second term. Miller Music Corp. v. Charles N. Daniels, Inc., 362 U.S. 373, 375, 80 S.Ct. 792, 794, 4 L.Ed.2d 804 (1960). The original author may not sell more than he owns. He may not convey the second-term rights to print or copy the underlying work or to create additional derivative works from it. See Gilliam v. American Broadcasting Cos., 538 F.2d 14, 21 (CA2 1976); G. Ricordi & Co. v. Paramount Pictures Inc., 189 F.2d 469 (CA2), cert. denied, 342 U.S. 849, 72 S.Ct. 77, 96 L.Ed. 641 (1951).[15] Nor may the derivative author dedi-[252] cate the underlying art to the public by failing to renew his copyright. See Filmvideo Releasing Corp. v. Hastings, 668 F.2d 91, 93 (CA2 1981); Russell v. Price, 612 F.2d 1123, 1128 (CA9 1979).[16] Even if the alienation of second-term rights would be in the author's best interest, providing funds when he is most in need, the restriction on sale of the corpus is a necessary consequence of Congress' decision to provide two terms of copyright.

      121

      Neither § 24 nor any other provision of the Act, however, expressly or by implication, prevents the author from exercising any of his other statutory rights during the original term of the copyright. The author of the underlying work may contract to sell his work at a bargain price during the original term of the copyright. That agreement would be enforceable even if performance of the contract diminished the value of the copyright to the owner of the renewal interest. Similarly, the original author may create and copyright his own derivative work; the right of an assignee or legatee to receive that work by assignment or bequest should not be limited by the interests of the owners of the renewal copyright in the underlying work. Section 1 of the Act, 17 U.S.C. § 1 (1976 ed.), gives the author the right to dramatize his own work without any apparent restriction. Such use might appear, at the time or in retrospect, to be improvident and a waste of the asset. Whatever harm the proprietor of the renewal copyright might suffer, however, is a consequence of the enjoyment by the author of the rights granted him by Congress.

      122

      The result should be no different when the author exercises his right to consent to creation of a derivative work by another. By designating derivative works as "new works" [253] that are subject to copyright and accorded the two terms applicable to original works, Congress evinced its intention that the derivative copyright not lapse upon termination of the original author's interest in the underlying copyright. The continued publication of the derivative work, after the expiration of the original term of the prior work, does not infringe any of the statutory successor's rights in the renewal copyright of the original work. The author's right to sell his derivative rights is exercised when consent is conveyed and completed when the derivative work is copyrighted. At that point, prior to the end of the first term, the right to prevent publication of the derivative work is no longer one of the bundle of rights attaching to the copyright. The further agreement to permit use of the underlying material during the renewal term does not violate § 24 because at the moment consent is given and the derivative work is created and copyrighted, a new right of property comes into existence independent of the original author's copyright estate.

      123

      As an ex post matter, it might appear that the original author could have negotiated a better contract for his consent to creation of a derivative work, but Congress in § 24 was not concerned with giving an author a second chance to renegotiate his consent to the production of a derivative work.[17] It provided explicitly that, once consent was given, the derivative work was entitled as a matter of copyright law to treatment as a "new wor[k]." § 7. Ironically, by restricting the [254] author's ability to consent to creation of a derivative work with independent existence, the Court may make it practically impossible for the original author to sell his derivative rights late in the original term and to reap the financial and artistic advantage that comes with the creation of a derivative work.[18] Unless § 24 is to overwhelm § 7, the consent of the original author must be given effect whether or not it intrudes into the renewal term of the original copyright.

      124

      A putative author may sell his work to a motion picture company who will have greater use for it, by becoming an employee and making the work "for hire." The 1909 Act gave the employer the right to renew the copyright in such circumstances.[19] In addition, when an author intends that his work be used as part of a joint work, the copyright law gives the joint author common authority to exploit the underlying work and renew the copyright.[20] The Court today [255] holds, however, that the independent entrepreneur, who does not go into the company's employ and who intends to make independent use of his work, does not also have the same right to sell his consent to produce a derivative work that can be distributed and publicly performed during the full term of its copyright protection. That result is perverse and cannot have been what Congress intended.[21]

      125

      The critical flaw in the Court's analysis is its implicit endorsement of the Court of Appeals reasoning that:

      126

      " 'If Miller Music makes assignment of the full renewal rights in the underlying copyright unenforceable when the author dies before effecting renewal of the copyright, then a fortiori, an assignment of part of the rights in the underlying work, the right to produce a movie version, must also be unenforceable if the author dies before effecting renewal of the underlying copyright.' " Ante, at 215-216.

      127

      That reasoning would be valid if the sole basis for the protection of the derivative work were the contractual assignment of copyright, but Woolrich did not just assign the rights to produce a movie version the way an author would assign the publisher rights to copy and vend his work. Rather, he expressed his consent to production of a derivative work under § 7. The possession of a copyright on a properly created derivative work gives the proprietor rights superior to those of [256] a mere licensee. As Judge Friendly concluded, this position is entirely consistent with relevant policy considerations.[22]

      128

      In my opinion, a fair analysis of the entire 1909 Act, with special attention to § 7, indicates that the statute embodied the same policy choice that continues to be reflected in the 1976 Act. Section 101 of the Act provides:

      129

      "A derivative work prepared under authority of the grant before its termination may continue to be utilized under the terms of the grant after its termination, but this privilege does not extend to the preparation after the termination of other derivative works based upon the copyrighted work covered by the terminated grant." 17 U.S.C.App. § 304(c)(6)(A).

      130

      I respectfully dissent.

      131

      __________

      132

      [1] The Copyright Act of 1976 (1976 Act), 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. (1988 ed.), codified the definition of a " 'derivative work,' " as "a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version . . . or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted." § 101.

      133

      [2] Neither Miller Music nor Fred Fisher decided the question of when the renewal rights vest, i.e., whether the renewal rights vest upon commencement of the registration period, registration, or the date on which the original term expires and the renewal term begins. We have no occasion to address the issue here.

      134

      [3] Title 17 U.S.C. § 106 (1988 ed.) codifies the various rights a copyright holder possesses: "[T]he owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

      135

      "(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

      "(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

      "(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

      "(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly; and

      "(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly."

      __________

      136

      [1] Although the Court of Appeals determined the rights of the parties by looking to the 1909 Act, respondent now argues that the 1976 Act is applicable. At the time petitioners secured their copyright in the film in 1954, and respondent renewed his copyright in the short story in 1969, the Copyright Act of 1909 was in effect. There is no evidence that Congress in the Copyright Act of 1976 intended to abrogate rights created under the previous Act. I therefore take it as evident that while the cause of action under which respondent sues may have been created by the 1976 Act, the respective property rights of the parties are determined by the statutory grant under the 1909 Act. See Roth v. Pritikin, 710 F.2d 934, 938 (CA2), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 961, 104 S.Ct. 394, 78 L.Ed.2d 337 (1983); International Film Exchange, Ltd. v. Corinth Films, Inc., 621 F.Supp. 631 (SDNY 1985); Jaszi, When Works Collide: Derivative Motion Pictures, Underlying Rights, and the Public Interest, 28 UCLA L.Rev. 715, 746-747 (1981) (hereinafter Jaszi). Cf. 1 M. Nimmer & D. Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 1.11, p. 1-96 (1989) (hereinafter Nimmer) (no explicit statement of a legislative intent to apply the current Act retroactively).

      137

      [2] Section 1 of the 1909 Act, 35 Stat. 1075, provides in pertinent part:

      138

      "That any person entitled thereto, upon complying with the provisions of this Act, shall have the exclusive right:

      "(a) To print, reprint, publish, copy, and vend the copyrighted work;

      . . . . .

      "(d) To perform or represent the copyrighted work publicly if it be a drama . . .; and to exhibit, perform, represent, produce, or reproduce it in any manner or by any method whatsoever."

      139

      In its response to this dissent, the Court completely ignores the plain language of § 1.

      140

      [3] The Court states that this reading of § 7 is "creative," has not been adopted by any Court of Appeals in the history of the 1909 Act, and has not been argued by petitioners. Ante, at 230. Although I am flattered by this comment, I must acknowledge that the credit belongs elsewhere. In their briefs to this Court, petitioners and their amici argue that § 7 created an independent but limited copyright in the entire derivative work entitled to equal treatment with original works under the renewal and duration provisions of § 24. Brief for Petitioners 14-15, 17, 21, 29-30; Brief for Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., et al., as Amici Curiae 11, 13, 15. That was also the central argument of Judge Friendly in his opinion for the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, see Rohauer v. Killiam Shows, Inc., 551 F.2d 484, 487-488, 489-490, 493-494, cert. denied, 431 U.S. 949, 97 S.Ct. 2666, 53 L.Ed.2d 266 (1977), and Judge Thompson dissenting from the panel decision below, see Abend v. MCA, Inc., 863 F.2d 1465, 1484-1487 (CA9 1988). Indeed, Judge Friendly only addressed the equities with great reservation, 551 F.2d, at 493, after "a close reading of the language of what is now § 7." Id., at 489.

      141

      [4] The drafters of the 1909 Act were well aware of the difficulty of contacting distant authors who no longer wished to enforce their copyright rights. In § 24,

      142

      for example, Congress provided that a proprietor could secure and renew copyright on a composite work when the individual contributions were not separately registered. The provision was apparently addressed to the difficulties such proprietors had previously faced in locating and obtaining the consent of authors at the time of renewal. See H.R.Rep. No. 2222, 60th Cong., 2d Sess., 15 (1909); 1 Legislative History of the 1909 Copyright Act, Part C, p. 56 (E. Brylawski & A. Goldman eds. 1976) (statement of Mr. Elder) (hereinafter Brylawski & Goldman); 5 id., Part K pp. 18-19 (statement of Mr. Putnam); id., at K77 (statement of Mr. Hale). See also Elder, Duration of Copyright, 14 Yale L.J. 417, 418 (1905). The effect of the § 7 consent requirement under the Court's reading should not only be to forbid the author of the derivative work to "employ a copyrighted work without the author's permission," ante, at 232, but also to penalize him by depriving him both of the right to use his own new material and, in theory, of the right to protect that new material against use by the public. It is most unlikely that a Congress which intended to promote the creation of literary works would have conditioned the protection of new material in an otherwise original work on "consent" of an original author who did not express the desire to protect his own work.

      143

      The Court of Appeals thought that the failure of Congress to grant an "exemption" to derivative works similar to that it granted composite works demonstrated its intention that derivative works lapse upon termination of the underlying author's copyright interest. 863 F.2d, at 1476. Section 24, however, does not exempt composite works from the renewal provision, but merely provides for their renewal by the proprietor alone when the individual contributions are not separately copyrighted. See 2 Nimmer § 9.03[B], p. 9-36. Moreover, the "author," entitled to renewal under § 24, refers back to the author of the original work and the derivative work. Congress did not need to make special provision for the derivative work in § 24 because it already did so in § 7, making it a new work "subject to copyright under the provisions of this title." 17 U.S.C. § 7 (1976 ed.).

      144

      [5] It is instructive to compare the language of § 7 to that used by Congress in 1976 to indicate that copyright in a derivative work under the new Act attached only to the new material:

      145

      "The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material." 17 U.S.C. § 103(b) (1988 ed.).

      146

      [6] I thus agree with the Court that publication of a derivative work cannot extend the scope or duration of the copyright in the original work, ante, at 234-235, and that the underlying work's copyright term exists independently of the derivative work's term. Ante, at 231-232, 235. As much is clear from the language of § 7, which extends the copyright to the entire work, but then limits the effect of that copyright. I further agree that the original author's right to "consent" to the copyright of a derivative work terminates when the statutory term of the copyright in the underlying work expires. Ante, at 235. As I explain, infra at 251-253, that result follows from the language of § 24. I do not agree, however, that the statutory right to distribute and publicly perform a derivative work that has been copyrighted with the original author's consent during the original term of the underlying work is limited by the validity and scope of the original copyright. Ante, at 235. Section 7, in conjunction with § 24, gives the derivative author two full terms of copyright in the entire derivative work both when the original work is used with the consent of the original author and when the original work is in the public domain. My conclusion thus rests upon the language of the statute. The Court's contrary assertion, that if the right to publish the derivative work extended beyond the original term of the underlying work it would "nulli[fy] the 'force' of the copyright in the 'matter employed,' " ante, at 236, simply begs the question of the extent of the original author's statutory rights. Even after the derivative work has been copyrighted, the original author retains all of his statutory rights, including the right to consent to the creation of additional derivative works during both the original and renewal terms. Moreover, even if the derivative work did derogate from the force of the original work, the provision to which the Court apparently refers states only that "publication " of a derivative work—and not consent to its creation—shall not affect the force of the copyright in the matter employed. The Court can avoid making § 7 complete surplus (and allow it to limit the rights of both the original and the derivative author) only by distorting the plain language of that provision.

      147

      [7] See, e.g., Gray v. Russell, 10 F.Cas. 1035, 1037-1038 (No. 5,728) (CC Mass.1839); Emerson v. Davies, 8 F.Cas. 615, 618-619 (No. 4,436) (CC Mass.1845); Shook v. Rankin, 21 F.Cas. 1335, 1336 (No. 12,804) (CC N.D.Ill.1875). The Court's difficulty in explaining away the language of § 7 is not surprising. The authority upon whom it almost exclusively relies, see ante, at 223, had the same difficulty, stating at one point that "[t]he statutory text was somewhat ambiguous," 1 Nimmer, p. 3-22.2, and admitting at another that under his reading of the Copyright Act the provision was largely irrelevant. See id., at 3-29, n. 17 ("[I]t is consent referred to in Sec. 7, but which would have efficacy as a matter of contract law even without Sec. 7"). At least in the Copyright Act of 1909, however, Congress knew exactly what it was doing.

      148

      [8] The Act of 1790, passed by the First Congress, provided "the sole right and liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing and vending" the copyrighted work. § 1, 1 Stat. 124. Its successor, the Act of 1831, repeated the language that the author of a copyrighted work "shall have the sole right and liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing, and vending" the work. Ch. 16, § 1, 4 Stat. 436. Benjamin Kaplan has written that the Act of 1870 constituted an "enlargement of the monopoly to cover the conversion of a work from one to another artistic medium." An Unhurried View of Copyright 32 (1967) (hereinafter Kaplan).

      149

      [9]

      150

      "By the publication of Mrs. Stowe's book, the creations of the genius and imagination of the author have become as much public property as those of Homer or Cervantes. . . . All her conceptions and inventions may be used and abused by imitators, play-rights and poetasters [They are no longer her own—those who have purchased her book, may clothe them in English doggerel, in German or Chinese prose. Her absolute dominion and property in the creations of her genius and imagination have been voluntarily relinquished.] All that now remains is the copyright of her book; the exclusive right to print, reprint and vend it, and those only can be called infringers of her rights, or pirates of her property, who are guilty of printing, publishing, importing or vending without her license, 'copies of her book.' " Stowe v. Thomas, 23 F.Cas., at 208 (footnote omitted).

      151

      It appears that at least as late as 1902, English copyright law also did not recognize that a dramatization could infringe an author's rights in a book. See E. MacGillivray, A Treatise Upon The Law of Copyright 114 (1902); see also Reade v. Conquist, 9 C.B.N.S. 755, 142 Eng.Rep. 297 (C.P.1861); Coleman v. Wathen, 5 T.R. 245, 101 Eng.Rep. 137 (K.B.1793). Even after the passage of the Act of 1870, one American commentator flatly declared: "Even if the public recitation of a book, in which copyright exists, is not made from memory, but takes the form of a public reading, from the work itself, of the whole or portions of it, this would not amount to an infringement of the author's copyright." 2 J. Morgan, Law of Literature 700-701 (1875).

      152

      [10]

      153

      "The American cases reflect no recognition that unauthorized dramatization could infringe rights in a nondramatic work until the 1870 copyright revision provided authors with the same option to reserve dramatization rights that they were afforded with respect to translation. By then, dramatizations like other derivative works—already had enjoyed almost a century of substantial independence. During this period, courts construing federal copyright statutes were willing to extend protection to them, but were reluctant to interfere with their unauthorized production." Jaszi 783.

      154

      See also Goldstein, Derivative Rights and Derivative Works in Copyright, 30 J. Copyright Society 209, 211-215 (1983).

      155

      [11] The history of the Copyright Act of 1909 is recounted in Justice Frankfurter's opinion for the Court in Fred Fisher Music Co. v. M. Witmark & Sons, 318 U.S. 643, 652, 63 S.Ct. 773, 777, 87 L.Ed. 1055 (1943).

      156

      [12] The first draft of the copyright bill considered in 1905 provided that if the author or his assigns did not make or authorize to be made a dramatization within 10 years of the date of registration, the work could be used for dramatization by other authors. 2 Brylawski & Goldman, Part D, p. LXV. A similar provision appeared in the third draft of the bill considered by the Conference the following year, 3 id., Part E, p. XL, and in the bill submitted by the Register of Copyrights to Congress. 1 id., Part B, pp. 37-38. The provision was eventually dropped during hearings in Congress and was never adopted into law.

      157

      [13] The first draft provided identical terms for both original works of authorship and derivative works, 2 id., Part D, pp. XXXVII-XXXVIII. Successive drafts gave the copyright in the original work to the author for his life plus 50 years, but limited the copyright in a derivative work to 50 years. 3 id., Part E, pp. LIII-LIV; 1 id., Part B, pp. 34-35. The single term was rejected at a late date by Congress and the final Act eventually provided the same two-term copyright for original and derivative works. See generally B. Ringer, Renewal of Copyright (1960), reprinted as Copyright Law Revision Study No. 31, prepared for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 86th Cong., 2d Sess., 115-121 (1961).

      158

      [14] The amendment apparently emerged from dialogue between Mr. W.B. Hale, representative of the American Law Book Company, and Senator Smoot:

      159

      "Mr. Hale: 'There is another verbal criticism I should like to make in section 6 of the Kittredge bill, which also relates to compilations, abridgments, etc.'

      "The Chairman [Senator Smoot]. 'I think it is the same in the other bills.'

      "Mr. Hale. 'Yes; it is the same in all the bills. I heartily agree with and am in favor of that section; but in line 12, in lieu of the words "but no such copyright shall effect the force or validity," etc., I would prefer to substitute these words: "and the publication of any such new work shall not affect the copyright," etc. . . . Under the act, as it stands now, it says the copyright shall not affect it. I would like to meet the case of a new compiled work, within the meaning of this clause, that is not copyrighted, or where, by reason of some accident the copyright fails. That should not affect the original copyrights in the works that have entered into and formed a part of this new compiled work. It does not change the intent of this section in any way.' " 5, Brylawski & Goldman, Part K, p. 78.

      160

      [15] In Ricordi, the author of the derivative work not only produced a new derivative work, but also breached his covenant not to distribute the work, after the first term of the underlying copyright. As Justice WHITE has explained, "Ricordi merely held that the licensee of a copyright holder may not prepare a new derivative work based upon the copyrighted work after termination of the grant." Mills Music, Inc. v. Snyder, 469 U.S. 153, 183, n. 7, 105 S.Ct. 638, 655, n. 7, 83 L.Ed.2d 556 (1985) (dissenting opinion).

      161

      [16] The result follows as well from the "force and validity" clause of § 7.

      162

      [17] Congress was primarily concerned with the ability of the author to exploit his own work of authorship:

      163

      "Your committee, after full consideration, decided that it was distinctly to the advantage of the author to preserve the renewal period. It not infrequently happens that the author sells his copyright outright to a publisher for a comparatively small sum. If the work proves to be a great success and lives beyond the term of twenty-eight years, your committee felt that it should be the exclusive right of the author to take the renewal term, and the law should be framed as is the existing law, so that he could not be deprived of that right." H.R.Rep. No. 2222, 60th Cong., 2d Sess., at 14.

      164

      [18] The creation of a derivative work often is in the best interests of both the original author and his statutory successors. As one commentator has noted:

      165

      "The movie Rear Window became a selling point for anthologies containing the Woolrich story. The musical play Cats no doubt sent many people who dimly remembered the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock as the chief, if not the only oeuvre of T.S. Eliot to the bookstore for Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats."

      166

      Weinreb, Fair's Fair: A Comment on the Fair Use Doctrine, 103 Harv.L.Rev. 1137, 1147 (1990).

      167

      [19] See 17 U.S.C. § 24 (1976 ed.) ("[I]n the case of . . . any work copyrighted by . . . an employer for whom such work is made for hire, the proprietor of such copyright shall be entitled to a renewal and extension of the copyright in such work for the further term of twenty-eight years"). See also Ellingson, Copyright Exception for Derivative Works and the Scope of Utilization, 56 Ind.L.J. 1, 11 (1980-1981).

      168

      [20] See Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. v. Jerry Vogel Music Co., 161 F.2d 406 (CA2 1946); Edward B. Marks Music Corp. v. Jerry Vogel Music Co., 140 F.2d 266 (CA2 1944). In the "12th Street Rag" case, Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. v. Jerry Vogel Music Co., 221 F.2d 569 (CA2 1955), the Court of Appeals held that a work of music, intended originally to stand on its own as an instrumental, could become a joint work when it was later sold to a publisher who commissioned lyrics to be written for it. The decision, which would give the creator of the derivative work and the underlying author a joint interest in the derivative work, accomplishes the same result that I believe § 7 does expressly.

      169

      [21]

      170

      "The effect of the Fred Fisher [, 318 U.S. 643, 63 S.Ct. 773, 87 L.Ed. 1055 (1943),] case and other authorities is that if the author is dead when the twenty-eighth year comes round, the renewal reverts, free and clear, to his widow, children, and so forth in a fixed order of precedency; but if the author is alive in that year, the original sale holds and there is no reversion. The distinction is hard to defend and may operate in a peculiarly perverse way where on the faith of a transfer from the now-deceased author, the transferee has created a 'derivative work,' say a movie based on the original novel." Kaplan 112.

      171

      [22]

      172

      "To such extent as it may be permissible to consider policy considerations, the equities lie preponderantly in favor of the proprietor of the derivative copyright. In contrast to the situation where an assignee or licensee has done nothing more than print, publicize and distribute a copyrighted story or novel, a person who with the consent of the author has created an opera or a motion picture film will often have made contributions literary, musical and economic, as great as or greater than the original author. As pointed out in the Bricker article [Bricker, Renewal and Extension of Copyright, 29 S.Cal.L.Rev. 23, 33 (1955) ], the purchaser of derivative rights has no truly effective way to protect himself against the eventuality of the author's death before the renewal period since there is no way of telling who will be the surviving widow, children or next of kin or the executor until that date arrives. To be sure, this problem exists in equal degree with respect to assignments or licenses of underlying copyright, but in such cases there is not the countervailing consideration that large and independently copyrightable contributions will have been made by the transferee." Rohauer v. Killiam Shows, Inc., 551 F.2d 484, 493 (CA2), cert. denied, 431 U.S. 949, 97 S.Ct. 2666, 53 L.Ed.2d 266 (1977).

  • 7 Week 7

    • 7.1 Mannion v. Coors Brewing Co. (2005)

      1
      377 F.Supp.2d 444
      2
      Jonathan MANNION, Plaintiff,
      v.
      COORS BREWING COMPANY and Carol H. Williams Advertising, Defendants.
      3
      No. 04 Civ. 1187(LAK).
      4
      United States District Court, S.D. New York.
      5
      July 21, 2005.
      6

      [446] Mary D. Dorman, for Plaintiff.

      7

      S. Raye Mitchell, The Mitchell Law Group, PC, for Defendants.

      8
      MEMORANDUM OPINION
      9

      KAPLAN, District Judge.

      10

      The parties dispute whether a photograph used in billboard advertisements for [447] Coors Light beer infringes the plaintiff's copyright in a photograph of a basketball star. The defendants almost certainly imitated the plaintiff's photograph. The major question is whether and to what extent what was copied is protected. The case requires the Court to consider the nature of copyright protection in photographs. The matter is before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment.

      11
      Facts
      12

      Jonathan Mannion is a freelance photographer who specializes in portraits of celebrity athletes and musicians in the rap and rhythm-and-blues worlds.[1] In 1999 he was hired by SLAM, a basketball magazine, to photograph basketball star Kevin Garnett in connection with an article that the magazine planned to publish about him.[2] The article, entitled "Above the Clouds," appeared as the cover story of the December 1999 issue of the magazine.[3] It was accompanied by a number of Mannion's photographs of Garnett, including the one at issue here (the "Garnett Photograph"), which was printed on a two-page spread introducing the article.[4]

      13

      The Garnett Photograph, which is reproduced below,[5] is a three-quarter-length portrait of Garnett against a backdrop of clouds with some blue sky shining through. The view is up and across the right side of Garnett's torso, so that he appears to be towering above earth. He wears a white T-shirt, white athletic pants, a black close-fitting cap, and a large amount of platinum, gold, and diamond jewelry ("bling bling" in the vernacular), including several necklaces, a Rolex watch and bracelet on his left wrist, bracelets on his right wrist, rings on one finger of each hand, and earrings. His head is cocked, his eyes are closed, and his heavily-veined hands, nearly all of which are visible, rest over his lower abdomen, with the thumbs hooked on the waistband of the trousers. The light is from the viewer's left, so that Garnett's right shoulder is the brightest area of the photograph and his hands cast slight shadows on his trousers. As reproduced in the magazine, the photograph cuts off much of Garnett's left arm.[6]

      14

      In early 2001, defendant Carol H. Williams Advertising ("CHWA") began developing ideas for outdoor billboards that would advertise Coors Light beer to young black men in urban areas.[7] One of CHWA's "comp boards" — a "comp board" is an image created by an advertising company to convey a proposed design[8] — used a manipulated version of the Garnett Photograph and superimposed on it the words "Iced Out" ("ice" being slang for diamonds[9]) and a picture of a can of Coors Light beer (the "Iced Out Comp Board").[10] [448] CHWA obtained authorization from Mannion's representative to use the Garnett Photograph for this purpose.[11]

      15

      The Iced Out Comp Board, reproduced below, used a black-and-white, mirror image of the Garnett Photograph, but with the head cropped out on top and part of the fingers cropped out below.[12] CHWA forwarded its comp boards to, and solicited bids for the photograph for the Coors advertising from, various photographers including Mannion, who submitted a bid but did not receive the assignment.[13]

      16

      Coors and CHWA selected for a Coors billboard a photograph (the "Coors Billboard"), reproduced below, that resembles the Iced Out Comp Board.[14] The Coors Billboard depicts, in black-and-white, the torso of a muscular black man, albeit a model other than Garnett,[15] shot against a cloudy backdrop. The pose is similar to that in the Garnett Photograph, and the view also is up and across the left side of the torso. The model in the billboard photograph also wears a white T-shirt and white athletic pants. The model's jewelry is prominently depicted; it includes a necklace of platinum or gold and diamonds, a watch and two bracelets on the right wrist, and more bracelets on the left wrist. The light comes from the viewer's right, so that the left shoulder is the brightest part of the photograph, and the right arm and hand cast slight shadows on the trousers.[16]

      17

      Mannion subsequently noticed the Coors Billboard at two locations in the Los Angeles area.[17] He applied for registration of his copyright of the Garnett Photograph in 2003[18] and brought this action for infringement in February of 2004. The registration was completed in May 2004.[19] The parties each move for summary judgment.

      18
      Discussion
      19
      A. Summary Judgment Standard
      20

      Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[20] The moving party has the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact,[21] and the Court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.[22] "Where cross-motions for summary judgment are filed, a court `must evaluate each party's motion on its own merits, taking care in each instance to draw all reasonable inferences against the party whose motion is under consideration.'"[23]  [449]

      21
      B. The Elements of Copyright Infringement
      22

      "To prove infringement, a plaintiff with a valid copyright must demonstrate that: (1) the defendant has actually copied the plaintiff's work; and (2) the copying is illegal because a substantial similarity exists between the defendant's work and the protectible elements of plaintiff's."[24] "Actual copying" — which is used as a term of art to mean that "the defendant, in creating its work, used the plaintiff's material as a model, template, or even inspiration"[25] — may be shown by direct evidence, which rarely is available, or by proof of access and probative similarities (as distinguished from "substantial similarity") between the two works.[26]

      23

      Mannion concededly owns a valid copyright in the Garnett photograph.[27] Access is undisputed. There is ample evidence from which a trier of fact could find that CHWA actually copied the Garnett Photograph for the Coors Billboard. Thus, the major questions presented by these motions are whether a trier of fact could or must find substantial similarity between protected elements of the Garnett Photograph and the Coors Billboard.[28] If no reasonable trier could find such similarity, [450] the defendants' motion must be granted and the plaintiff's denied. If any reasonable trier would be obliged to find such similarity (along with actual copying), the plaintiff's motion must be granted and the defendants' denied. If a reasonable trier could, but would not be required to, find substantial similarity (and actual copying), both motions must be denied.

      24
      C. Determining the Protectible Elements of the Garnett Photograph
      25

      The first question must be: in what respects is the Garnett Photograph protectible?

      26
      1. Protectible Elements of Photographs
      27

      It is well-established that "[t]he sine qua non of copyright is originality"[29] and, accordingly, that "copyright protection may extend only to those components of a work that are original to the author."[30] "Original" in the copyright context "means only that the work was independently created by the author (as opposed to copied from other works), and that it possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity."[31]

      28

      It sometimes is said that "copyright in the photograph conveys no rights over the subject matter conveyed in the photograph."[32] But this is not always true. It of course is correct that the photographer of a building or tree or other pre-existing object has no right to prevent others from photographing the same thing.[33] That is because originality depends upon independent creation, and the photographer did not create that object. By contrast, if a photographer arranges or otherwise creates the subject that his camera captures, he may have the right to prevent others from producing works that depict that subject.[34]

      29

      Almost any photograph "may claim the necessary originality to support a copyright."[35] Indeed, ever since the Supreme Court considered an 1882 portrait by the celebrity photographer Napoleon Sarony of the 27-year-old Oscar Wilde,[36] courts have articulated lists of potential components of a photograph's originality.[37] [451] These lists, however, are somewhat unsatisfactory.

      30

      First, they do not deal with the issue, alluded to above, that the nature and extent of a photograph's protection differs depending on what makes that photograph original.

      31

      Second, courts have not always distinguished between decisions that a photographer makes in creating a photograph and the originality of the final product. Several cases, for example, have included in lists of the potential components of photographic originality "selection of film and camera,"[38] "lens and filter selection,"[39] and "the kind of camera, the kind of film, [and] the kind of lens."[40] Having considered the matter fully, however, I think this is not sufficiently precise. Decisions about film, camera, and lens, for example, often bear on whether an image is original. But the fact that a photographer made such choices does not alone make the image original. "Sweat of the brow" is not the touchstone of copyright.[41] Protection derives from the features of the work itself, not the effort that goes into it.

      32

      This point is illustrated by Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd. v. Corel Corp.,[42] in which this Court held that there was no copyright in photographic transparencies that sought to reproduce precisely paintings in the public domain. To be sure, a great deal of effort and expertise may have been poured into the production of the plaintiff's images, including decisions about camera, lens, and film. But the works were "slavish copies." They did not exhibit the originality necessary for copyright.[43]

      33

      The Court therefore will examine more closely the nature of originality in a photograph. In so doing, it draws on the helpful discussion in a leading treatise on United Kingdom copyright law,[44] which is [452] similar to our own with respect to the requirement of originality.[45]

      34

      A photograph may be original in three respects.[46] They are not mutually exclusive.

      35
      a. Rendition
      36

      First, "there may be originality which does not depend on creation of the scene or object to be photographed ... and which resides [instead] in such specialties as angle of shot, light and shade, exposure, effects achieved by means of filters, developing techniques etc."[47] I will refer to this type of originality as originality in the rendition because, to the extent a photograph is original in this way, copyright protects not what is depicted, but rather how it is depicted.[48]

      37

      It was originality in the rendition that was at issue in SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc.[49] That case concerned photographs of the defendants' mirrored picture frames that the defendants commissioned from the plaintiff. The photographs were to be used by the defendants' sales force for in-person pitches. When the defendants reproduced the photographs in their catalogues and brochures, the court found infringement: "Plaintiff cannot prevent others from photographing the same frames, or using the same lighting techniques and blue sky reflection in the mirrors. What makes plaintiff's photographs original is the totality of the precise lighting selection, angle of the camera, lens and filter selection."[50] Again, what made the photographs original was not the lens and filter selection themselves. It was the effect produced by the lens and filters selected, among other things. In any case, those effects were the basis of the originality of the works at issue in SHL Imaging.

      38

      By contrast, in Bridgeman Art Library, the goal was to reproduce exactly other works. The photographs were entirely unoriginal in the rendition, an extremely unusual circumstance. Unless a photograph replicates another work with total or near-total fidelity, it will be at least somewhat original in the rendition.

      39
      b. Timing
      40

      A photograph may be original in a second respect. "[A] person may create a worthwhile photograph by being at the right place at the right time."[51] I will [453] refer to this type of originality as originality in timing.

      41

      One case that concerned originality in timing, among other things, was Pagano v. Chas. Beseler Co.,[52] which addressed the copyrightability of a photograph of a scene in front of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and Forty-Second Street:

      42

      The question is not, as defendant suggests, whether the photograph of a public building may properly be copyrighted. Any one may take a photograph of a public building and of the surrounding scene. It undoubtedly requires originality to determine just when to take the photograph, so as to bring out the proper setting for both animate and inanimate objects.... The photographer caught the men and women in not merely lifelike, but artistic, positions, and this is especially true of the traffic policeman.... There are other features, which need not be discussed in detail, such as the motor cars waiting for the signal to proceed.[53]

      43

      A modern work strikingly original in timing might be Catch of the Day, by noted wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen, which depicts a salmon that appears to be jumping into the gaping mouth of a brown bear at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, Alaska.[54] An older example is Alfred Eisenstaedt's photograph of a sailor kissing a young woman on VJ Day in Times Square,[55] the memorability of which is attributable in significant part to the timing of its creation.

      44

      Copyright based on originality in timing is limited by the principle that copyright in a photograph ordinarily confers no rights over the subject matter. Thus, the copyright in Catch of the Day does not protect against subsequent photographs of bears feasting on salmon in the same location. Furthermore, if another photographer were sufficiently skilled and fortunate to capture a salmon at the precise moment that it appeared to enter a hungry bear's mouth — and others have tried, with varying degrees of success[56] — that photographer, even if inspired by Mangelsen, would not necessarily have infringed his work because Mangelsen's copyright does not extend to the natural world he captured.

      45

      In practice, originality in timing gives rise to the same type of protection as originality in the rendition. In each case, the image that exhibits the originality, but not the underlying subject, qualifies for copyright protection.

      46
      c. Creation of the Subject
      47

      The principle that copyright confers no right over the subject matter has an important limitation. A photograph may be original to the extent that the photographer created "the scene or subject to be photographed."[57] This type of originality, which I will refer to as originality in the creation of the subject, played an essential role in Rogers v. Koons[58] and Gross v. Seligman.[59]

      48

      [454] In Rogers, the court held that the copyright in the plaintiff's photograph Puppies, which depicted a contrived scene of the photographer's acquaintance, Jim Scanlon, and his wife on a park bench with eight puppies on their laps, protected against the defendants' attempt to replicate precisely, albeit in a three dimensional sculpture, the content of the photograph.[60] Although the Circuit noted that Puppies was original because the artist "made creative judgments concerning technical matters with his camera and the use of natural light"[61] — in other words, because it was original in the rendition — its originality in the creation of the subject was more salient.[62] The same is true of the works at issue in Gross v. Seligman, in which the Circuit held that the copyright in a photograph named Grace of Youth was infringed when the same artist created a photograph named Cherry Ripe[63] using "the same model in the identical pose, with the single exception that the young woman now wears a smile and holds a cherry stem between her teeth."[64]

      49

      * * * * * *

      50

      To conclude, the nature and extent of protection conferred by the copyright in a photograph will vary depending on the nature of its originality. Insofar as a photograph is original in the rendition or timing, copyright protects the image but does not prevent others from photographing the same object or scene. Thus, the copyright at issue in SHL Imaging does not protect against subsequent photographs of the picture frames because the originality of the plaintiffs' photographs was almost purely in the rendition of those frames, not in their creation or the timing of the scene captured. In Pagano, the timing of the capture of the scene in front of the New York Public Library and its rendition were original, but the copyright in the Pagano photograph does not protect against future attempts to capture a scene in front of the same building, just as a copyright in Catch of the Day would not protect against other photographers capturing images of salmon-eating bears.

      51

      By contrast, to the extent that a photograph is original in the creation of the subject, copyright extends also to that subject. Thus, an artist who arranges and then photographs a scene often will have the right to prevent others from duplicating that scene in a photograph or other medium.[65]

      52
      2. Originality of the Garnett Photograph
      53

      There can be no serious dispute that the Garnett Photograph is an original [455] work. The photograph does not result from slavishly copying another work and therefore is original in the rendition. Mannion's relatively unusual angle and distinctive lighting strengthen that aspect of the photograph's originality. His composition — posing man against sky — evidences originality in the creation of the subject. Furthermore, Mannion instructed Garnett to wear simple and plain clothing and as much jewelry as possible, and "to look 'chilled out.'"[66] His orchestration of the scene contributes additional originality in the creation of the subject.

      54

      Of course, there are limits to the photograph's originality and therefore to the protection conferred by the copyright in the Garnett Photograph. For example, Kevin Garnett's face, torso, and hands are not original with Mannion, and Mannion therefore may not prevent others from creating photographic portraits of Garnett. Equally obviously, the existence of a cloudy sky is not original, and Mannion therefore may not prevent others from using a cloudy sky as a backdrop.

      55

      The defendants, however, take this line of reasoning too far. They argue that it was Garnett, not Mannion, who selected the specific clothing, jewelry, and pose. In consequence, they maintain, the Garnett Photograph is not original to the extent of Garnett's clothing, jewelry, and pose.[67] They appear to be referring to originality in the creation of the subject.

      56

      There are two problems with the defendants' argument. The first is that Mannion indisputably orchestrated the scene, even if he did not plan every detail before he met Garnett, and then made the decision to capture it. The second difficulty is that the originality of the photograph extends beyond the individual clothing, jewelry, and pose viewed in isolation. It is the entire image — depicting man, sky, clothing, and jewelry in a particular arrangement — that is at issue here, not its individual components. The Second Circuit has rejected the proposition that:

      57

      in comparing designs for copyright infringement, we are required to dissect them into their separate components, and compare only those elements which are in themselves copyrightable.... [I]f we took this argument to its logical conclusion, we might have to decide that `there can be no originality in a painting because all colors of paint have been used somewhere in the past.[68]

      58
      3. The Idea / Expression Difficulty
      59

      Notwithstanding the originality of the Garnett Photograph, the defendants argue that the Coors Billboard does not infringe because the two, insofar as they are similar, share only "the generalized idea and concept of a young African American man wearing a white T-shirt and a large amount of jewelry."[69]

      60

      It is true that an axiom of copyright law is that copyright does not protect "ideas," only their expression.[70] Furthermore, when "a given idea is inseparably tied to a particular expression" so that "there is a `merger' of idea and expression," [456] courts may deny protection to the expression in order to avoid conferring a monopoly on the idea to which it inseparably is tied.[71] But the defendants' reliance on these principles is misplaced.

      61

      The "idea" (if one wants to call it that) postulated by the defendants does not even come close to accounting for all the similarities between the two works, which extend at least to angle, pose, background, composition, and lighting. It is possible to imagine any number of depictions of a black man wearing a white T-shirt and "bling bling" that look nothing like either of the photographs at issue here.

      62

      This alone is sufficient to dispose of the defendants' contention that Mannion's claims must be rejected because he seeks to protect an idea rather than its expression. But the argument reveals an analytical difficulty in the case law about which more ought to be said. One of the main cases upon which the defendants rely is Kaplan v. Stock Market Photo Agency, Inc.,[72] in which two remarkably similar photographs of a businessman's shoes and lower legs, taken from the top of a tall building looking down on a street below (the plaintiff's and defendants' photographs are reproduced below), were held to be not substantially similar as a matter of law because all of the similarities flowed only from an unprotected idea rather than from the expression of that idea.

      63

      But what is the "idea" of Kaplan's photograph? Is it (1) a businessman contemplating suicide by jumping from a building, (2) a businessman contemplating suicide by jumping from a building, seen from the vantage point of the businessman, with his shoes set against the street far below, or perhaps something more general, such as (3) a sense of desperation produced by urban professional life?

      64

      If the "idea" is (1) or, for that matter, (3), then the similarities between the two photographs flow from something much more than that idea, for it have would been possible to convey (1) (and (3)) in any number of ways that bear no obvious similarities to Kaplan's photograph. (Examples are a businessman atop a building seen from below, or the entire figure of the businessman, rather than just his shoes or pants, seen from above.) If, on the other hand, the "idea" is (2), then the two works could be said to owe much of their similarity to a shared idea.[73]

      65

      [457] To be sure, the difficulty of distinguishing between idea and expression long has been recognized. Judge Learned Hand famously observed in 1930:

      66

      Upon any work, and especially upon a play, a great number of patterns of increasing generality will fit equally well, as more and more of the incident is left out. The last may perhaps be no more than the most general statement of what the play is about, and at times might consist only of its title; but there is a point in this series of abstractions where they are no longer protected, since otherwise the playwright could prevent the use of his `ideas,' to which, apart from their expression, his property is never extended. Nobody has ever been able to fix that boundary, and nobody ever can.[74]

      67

      Three decades later, Judge Hand's views were essentially the same: "The test for infringement of a copyright is of necessity vague.... Obviously, no principle can be stated as to when an imitator has gone beyond copying the `idea,' and has borrowed its `expression.' Decisions must therefore inevitably be ad hoc."[75] Since then, the Second Circuit and other authorities repeatedly have echoed these sentiments.[76]

      68

      But there is a difference between the sort of difficulty Judge Hand identified in Nichols and Peter Pan Fabrics and the one presented by the Kaplan rationale and the defendants' argument about ideas in this case. The former difficulty is essentially one of line-drawing, and, as Judge Hand taught, is common to most cases in most areas of the law.[77] The latter difficulty, [458] however, is not simply that it is not always clear where to draw the line; it is that the line itself is meaningless because the conceptual categories it purports to delineate are ill-suited to the subject matter.

      69

      The idea/expression distinction arose in the context of literary copyright.[78] For the most part, the Supreme Court has not applied it outside that context.[79] The classic Hand formulations reviewed above also were articulated in the context of literary works. And it makes sense to speak of the idea conveyed by a literary work and to distinguish it from its expression. To take a clear example, two different authors each can describe, with very different words, the theory of special relativity. The words will be protected as expression. The theory is a set of unprotected ideas.

      70

      In the visual arts, the distinction breaks down. For one thing, it is impossible in most cases to speak of the particular "idea" captured, embodied, or conveyed by a work of art because every observer will have a different interpretation.[80] Furthermore, it is not clear that there is any real distinction between the idea in a work of art and its expression. An artist's idea, among other things, is to depict a particular subject in a particular way. As a demonstration, a number of cases from this Circuit have observed that a photographer's "conception" of his subject is copyrightable.[81] By "conception," the courts must mean originality in the rendition, timing, and creation of the subject — for that is what copyright protects in photography. But the word "conception" is a cousin of "concept," and both are akin to "idea." In other words, those elements of a photograph, or indeed, any work of visual art protected by copyright, could just as [459] easily be labeled "idea" as "expression."[82]

      71

      This Court is not the first to question the usefulness of the idea/expression terminology in the context of non-verbal media. Judge Hand pointed out in Peter Pan Fabrics that whereas "[i]n the case of verbal `works', it is well settled that ... there can be no copyright in the `ideas' disclosed but only in their `expression[,]'" "[i]n the case of designs, which are addressed to the aesthetic sensibilities of the observer, the test is, if possible, even more intangible."[83] Moreover, Judge Newman has written:

      72

      I do not deny that all of these subject matters [computer programs, wooden dolls, advertisements in a telephone directory] required courts to determine whether the first work was copyrightable and whether the second infringed protectable elements. What I question is whether courts should be making those determinations with the same modes of analysis and even the same vocabulary that was appropriate for writings.... [I]t is not just a matter of vocabulary. Words convey concepts, and if we use identical phrases from one context to resolve issues in another, we risk failing to notice that the relevant concepts are and ought to be somewhat different.[84]

      73

      He then referred to dicta from his own decision in Warner Bros. v. American Broadcasting Companies,[85] explaining: "I was saying ... [that] one cannot divide a visual work into neat layers of abstraction in precisely the same manner one could with a text."[86] The Third Circuit has made a similar point:

      74

      Troublesome, too, is the fact that the same general principles are applied in claims involving plays, novels, sculpture, maps, directories of information, musical compositions, as well as artistic paintings. Isolating the idea from the expression and determining the extent of copying required for unlawful appropriation necessarily depend to some degree on whether the subject matter is words or symbols written on paper, or paint brushed onto canvas.[87]

      75

      For all of these reasons, I think little is gained by attempting to distinguish an unprotectible "idea" from its protectible "expression" in a photograph or other work of visual art. It remains, then, to consider just what courts have been referring to [460] when they have spoken of the "idea" in a photograph.

      76

      A good example is Rogers v. Koons, in which the court observed that "[i]t is not ... the idea of a couple with eight small puppies seated on a bench that is protected, but rather Rogers' expression of this idea — as caught in the placement, in the particular light, and in the expressions of the subjects...."[88] But "a couple with eight small puppies seated on a bench" is not necessarily the idea of Puppies, which just as easily could be "people with dogs on their laps," "the bliss of owning puppies," or even a sheepishly ironic thought such as "Ha ha! This might look cute now, but boy are these puppies going to be a lot of work!"

      77

      Rather, "a couple with eight small puppies seated on a bench" is nothing more or less than what "a young African American man wearing a white T-shirt and a large amount of jewelry"[89] is: a description of the subject at a level of generality sufficient to avoid implicating copyright protection for an original photograph. Other copyright cases that have referred to the "idea" of a photograph also used "idea" to mean a general description of the subject or subject matter.[90] The Kaplan decision even used these terms interchangeably: "The subject matter of both photographs is a businessperson contemplating a leap from a tall building onto the city street below. As the photograph's central idea, rather than Kaplan's expression of the idea, this subject matter is unprotectable in and of itself."[91] Thus another photographer [461] may pose a couple with eight puppies on a bench, depict a businessman contemplating a leap from an office building onto a street, or take a picture of a black man in white athletic wear and showy jewelry. In each case, however, there would be infringement (assuming actual copying and ownership of a valid copyright) if the subject and rendition were sufficiently like those in the copyrighted work.

      78

      This discussion of course prompts the question: at what point do the similarities between two photographs become sufficiently general that there will be no infringement even though actual copying has occurred? But this question is precisely the same, although phrased in the opposite way, as one that must be addressed in all infringement cases, namely whether two works are substantially similar with respect to their protected elements. It is nonsensical to speak of one photograph being substantially similar to another in the rendition and creation of the subject but somehow not infringing because of a shared idea. Conversely, if the two photographs are not substantially similar in the rendition and creation of the subject, the distinction between idea and expression will be irrelevant because there can be no infringement. The idea/expression distinction in photography, and probably the other visual arts, thus achieves nothing beyond what other, clearer copyright principles already accomplish.

      79

      I recognize that those principles sometimes may pose a problem like that Judge Hand identified with distinguishing idea from expression in the literary context. As Judge Hand observed, however, such line-drawing difficulties appear in all areas of the law. The important thing is that the categories at issue be useful and relevant, even if their precise boundaries are sometimes difficult to delineate. In the context of photography, the idea/expression distinction is not useful or relevant.

      80
      D. Comparison of the Coors Billboard and the Garnett Photograph
      81

      The next step is to determine whether a trier of fact could or must find the Coors Billboard substantially similar to the Garnett Photograph with respect to their protected elements.

      82

      Substantial similarity ultimately is a question of fact. "The standard test for substantial similarity between two items is whether an `ordinary observer, unless he set out to detect the disparities, would be disposed to overlook them, and regard [the] aesthetic appeal as the same.'"[92] The Second Circuit sometimes has applied a "more discerning observer" test when a work contains both protectible and unprotectible elements. The test "requires the court to eliminate the unprotectible elements from its consideration and to ask whether the protectible elements, standing alone, are substantially similar."[93] The Circuit, however, is ambivalent about this test. In several cases dealing with fabric and garment designs, the Circuit has cautioned that:

      83

      [462] a court is not to dissect the works at issue into separate components and compare only the copyrightable elements.... To do so would be to take the `more discerning' test to an extreme, which would result in almost nothing being copyrightable because original works broken down into their composite parts would usually be little more than basic unprotectible elements like letters, colors and symbols.[94]

      84

      Dissecting the works into separate components and comparing only the copyrightable elements, however, appears to be exactly what the "more discerning observer" test calls for.

      85

      The Circuit indirectly spoke to this tension in the recent case of Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures, Inc. v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc.[95] There the trial court purported to use the more discerning observer test but nonetheless compared the "total-concept-and-feel" of carpet designs.[96] The Circuit observed that the more discerning observer test is "intended to emphasize that substantial similarity must exist between the defendant's allegedly infringing design and the protectible elements in the plaintiff's design."[97] In making its own comparison, the Circuit did not mention the "more discerning observer" test at all, but it did note that:

      86

      "the total-concept-and-feel locution functions as a reminder that, while the infringement analysis must begin by dissecting the copyrighted work into its component parts in order to clarify precisely what is not original, infringement analysis is not simply a matter of ascertaining similarity between components viewed in isolation.... The court, confronted with an allegedly infringing work, must analyze the two works closely to figure out in what respects, if any, they are similar, and then determine whether these similarities are due to protected aesthetic expressions original to the allegedly infringed work, or whether the similarity is to something in the original that is free for the taking."[98]

      87

      In light of these precedents, the Court concludes that it is immaterial whether the ordinary or more discerning observer test is used here because the inquiries would be identical. The cases agree that the relevant comparison is between the protectible elements in the Garnett Photograph and the Coors Billboard, but that those elements are not to be viewed in isolation.

      88

      The Garnett Photograph is protectible to the extent of its originality in the rendition and creation of the subject. Key elements of the Garnett Photograph that are in the public domain — such as Kevin Garnett's likeness — are not replicated in the Coors Billboard. Other elements arguably in the public domain — such as the existence of a cloudy sky, Garnett's pose, his white T-shirt, and his specific jewelry — may not be copyrightable in and of themselves, but their existence and arrangement in this photograph indisputably contribute to its originality. Thus the fact that the Garnett Photograph includes certain elements that would not be copyrightable in isolation does not affect the nature of the comparison. The question is whether the aesthetic appeal of the two images is the same.

      89

      The two photographs share a similar composition and angle. The lighting is similar, and both use a cloudy sky as backdrop. [463] The subjects are wearing similar clothing and similar jewelry arranged in a similar way. The defendants, in other words, appear to have recreated much of the subject that Mannion had created and then, through imitation of angle and lighting, rendered it in a similar way. The similarities here thus relate to the Garnett Photograph's originality in the rendition and the creation of the subject and therefore to its protected elements.

      90

      There of course are differences between the two works. The similarity analysis may take into account some, but not all, of these. It long has been the law that "no plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate."[99] Thus the addition of the words "Iced Out" and a can of Coors Light beer may not enter into the similarity analysis.

      91

      Other differences, however, are in the nature of changes rather than additions. One image is black and white and dark, the other is in color and bright. One is the mirror image of the other. One depicts only an unidentified man's torso, the other the top three-fourths of Kevin Garnett's body. The jewelry is not identical. One T-shirt appears to fit more tightly than the other. These changes may enter the analysis because "[i]f the points of dissimilarity not only exceed the points of similarity, but indicate that the remaining points of similarity are, within the context of plaintiff's work, of minimal importance... then no infringement results."[100]

      92

      The parties have catalogued at length and in depth the similarities and differences between these works. In the last analysis, a reasonable jury could find substantial similarity either present or absent. As in Kisch v. Ammirati & Puris Inc.,[101] which presents facts as close to this case as can be imagined, the images are such that infringement cannot be ruled out — or in — as a matter of law.

      93
      Conclusion
      94

      The defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint (docket item 18) is granted to the extent that the complaint seeks relief for violation of the plaintiff's exclusive right to prepare derivative works and otherwise denied. The plaintiff's cross motion for summary judgment is denied.

      95

      SO ORDERED.

      96

      ---------------

      97

      Notes:

      98

      [1] Mannion Decl. ¶ 1.

      99

      [2] Id. ¶ 3.

      100

      [3] See Pl.Ex. A.

      101

      [4] See id.; Def. Ex. A; Am. Cpt. Ex. B.

      102

      [5] Published opinions in copyright cases concerning graphical works do not often include reproductions of those works. Two exceptions are Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd., 71 F.3d 996, 1014-17 (2d Cir.1995) and Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures, Inc. v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc., 237 F.Supp.2d 376, 390-93 (S.D.N.Y.2002). Such reproductions are helpful in understanding the opinions, even if the images are not ideal because the West reporters print in black and white.

      103

      [6] Def. Ex. A; Pl.Ex. A; Am. Cpt. Ex. B; Mannion Decl. ¶¶ 4-5, 7-8.

      104

      [7] Cook Decl. ¶ 2.

      105

      [8] See Mannion Decl. ¶ 12; Cook Decl. ¶ 4; Fournier v. Erickson, 202 F.Supp.2d 290, 292 (S.D.N.Y.2002).

      106

      [9] See, e.g., AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY 868 (4th ed.2000).

      107

      [10] See Cook Decl. ¶¶ 3, 5; Pl.Ex. B.

      108

      [11] See Cook Decl. ¶ 5; Def. Ex. B.

      109

      The authorization was for "[u]sage in internal corporate merchandising catalog," Def. Ex. B, which Mannion concedes extended to the Iced Out Comp Board. See Pl. Opening Mem. 2; Pl. Reply Mem. 2.

      110

      [12] See Pl.Ex. B.

      111

      [13] Cook Decl. ¶ 6; Mannion Decl. ¶¶ 12, 17-19.

      112

      [14] See Def. Ex. C; Am. Cpt. Ex. C.

      113

      [15] Cook Decl. ¶ 7.

      114

      [16] See Def. Ex. C; Am. Cpt. Ex. C.

      115

      [17] Mannion Decl. ¶ 20.

      116

      [18] Am. Cpt. Ex. A.

      117

      [19] Id.

      118

      [20] FED.R.CIV.P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); White v. ABCO Eng'g Corp., 221 F.3d 293, 300 (2d Cir.2000).

      119

      [21] Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970).

      120

      [22] United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962); Hetchkop v. Woodlawn at Grassmere, Inc., 116 F.3d 28, 33 (2d Cir.1997).

      121

      [23] Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Union, Local 100 v. City of New York Dep't of Parks & Recreation, 311 F.3d 534, 543 (2d Cir.2002) (quoting Heublein, Inc. v. United States, 996 F.2d 1455, 1461 (2d Cir.1993) (internal quotation marks omitted)); accord Make the Road by Walking, Inc. v. Turner, 378 F.3d 133, 142 (2d Cir.2004).

      122

      [24] Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd., 71 F.3d 996, 1002 (2d Cir.1995) (second emphasis added) (quoting Fisher-Price, Inc. v. Well-Made Toy Mfg. Corp., 25 F.3d 119, 122-23 (2d Cir.1994)); accord Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures, Inc. v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc., 338 F.3d 127, 131 (2d Cir.2003) (citing Castle Rock Entm't, Inc. v. Carol Publ'g Group, Inc., 150 F.3d 132, 137-38 (2d Cir.1998)); Boisson v. Banian, Ltd., 273 F.3d 262, 267-68 (2d Cir.2001) (citing Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 361, 111 S.Ct. 1282, 113 L.Ed.2d 358 (1991) and Streetwise Maps, Inc. v. VanDam, Inc., 159 F.3d 739, 747 (2d Cir.1998)); Fournier v. Erickson, 202 F.Supp.2d 290, 294 (S.D.N.Y.2002).

      123

      [25] 4 NIMMER ON COPYRIGHT § 13.01[B], at 13-8 ("NIMMER").

      124

      [26] E.g., Jorgensen v. Epic/Sony Records, 351 F.3d 46, 51 (2d Cir.2003); Boisson, 273 F.3d at 267-68 (citing Laureyssens v. Idea Group, Inc., 964 F.2d 131, 140 (2d Cir.1992)).

      125

      [27] See Def. Opening Mem. 7; Def. Supp. Mem. 5.

      126

      [28] Contrary to the implication in some of the plaintiff's papers, see Am. Cpt. ¶¶ 27-29; Pl. Opening Mem. 6; Pl. Supp. Mem. 6-10; see also Tr. (1/27/05) 8-11, 14-19, 25, 30-32, 34-36 ("Tr."), this case does not require a determination whether the defendants have violated the plaintiff's exclusive right under 17 U.S.C. § 106(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the Garnett Photograph. The image used on the Iced Out Comp Board may have been a derivative work based upon the Garnett Photograph, see 17 U.S.C. § 101 (2005), but CHWA obtained the right to use the Garnett Photograph in connection with the Iced Out Comp Board.

      127

      The question whether the Coors Billboard is a derivative work based upon the Garnett Photograph is immaterial. "[A] work will be considered a derivative work only if it would be considered an infringing work" absent consent. 1 NIMMER § 3.01, at 3-4. That is, the infringement inquiry logically precedes or at least controls the derivative work inquiry.

      128

      Finally — again contrary to the plaintiff's suggestion, see Pl. Opening Mem. 9; Pl. Reply Mem. 2-4; Tr. 21-24 — also immaterial is the question whether the Coors Billboard may infringe Mannion's copyright if the Coors Billboard is not substantially similar to the Garnett Photograph but is substantially similar to the Garnett Photograph's hypothesized derivative on the Iced Out Comp Board. Mannion has no registered copyright in the image on the Iced Out Comp Board, which precludes a suit for infringement based upon that image. Well-Made Toy Mfg. Corp. v. Goffa Int'l Corp., 354 F.3d 112, 115-117 (2d Cir.2003); 17 U.S.C. § 411(a) (2005).

      129

      The only question in this case is whether the Coors Billboard infringes the copyright in the Garnett Photograph. The only material comparison therefore is between those two images. Accordingly, the complaint is dismissed to the extent that it asserts a violation of Mannion's exclusive right to prepare derivative works.

      130

      [29] Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 345, 111 S.Ct. 1282, 113 L.Ed.2d 358 (1991).

      131

      [30] Id. at 348, 111 S.Ct. 1282.

      132

      [31] Id. at 345, 111 S.Ct. 1282 (citing 1 NIMMER §§ 2.01[A], [B] (1990)).

      133

      [32] 1 NIMMER § 2.08[E][1], at 2-130.

      134

      [33] E.g., Caratzas v. Time Life, Inc., No. 92 Civ. 6346(PKL), 1992 WL 322033, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Oct.23, 1992) (observing, in the context of photographs of historic sites, that "Justice Holmes made it clear almost ninety years ago that actionable copying does not occur where a photographer takes a picture of the subject matter depicted in a copyrighted photograph, so long as the second photographer does not copy original aspects of the copyrighted work, such as lighting or placement of the subject.").

      135

      [34] See Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301 (2d Cir.1992); Gross v. Seligman, 212 F. 930 (2d Cir.1914).

      136

      [35] 1 NIMMER § 2.08[E][1], at 2-129; see also Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd. v. Corel Corp., 36 F.Supp.2d 191, 196 (S.D.N.Y.1999).

      137

      [36] See Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 4 S.Ct. 279, 28 L.Ed. 349 (1884); SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc., 117 F.Supp.2d 301, 307-08 (S.D.N.Y.2000) (recounting the history of Burrow-Giles with reference to THE WAKING DREAM: PHOTOGRAPHY'S FIRST CENTURY 339-40 (Met. Museum of Art 1993)).

      138

      The photograph at issue in Burrow-Giles is reproduced in MELVILLE B. NIMMER ET AL., CASES AND MATERIALS ON COPYRIGHT 11 (6th ed. 2000) ("CASES AND MATERIALS ON COPYRIGHT").

      139

      [37] See Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co., 111 U.S. at 60, 4 S.Ct. 279 (originality of Wilde portrait founded upon overall composition, including pose, clothing, background, light, and shade, "suggesting and evoking the desired expression"); Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 137 F.3d 109, 116 (2d Cir.1998) ("Leibovitz is entitled to protection for such artistic elements as the particular lighting, the resulting skin tone of the subject, and the camera angle that she selected."); Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301, 307 (2d Cir.1992) ("Elements of originality in a photograph may include posing the subjects, lighting, angle, selection of film and camera, evoking the desired expression, and almost any other variant involved."); Gross v. Seligman, 212 F. 930, 931 (2d Cir.1914) ("exercise of artistic talent" reflected in "pose, light, and shade, etc."); SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc., 117 F.Supp.2d 301, 311 (S.D.N.Y.2000) ("What makes plaintiff's photographs original is the totality of the precise lighting selection, angle of the camera, lens and filter selection."); E. Am. Trio Prods., Inc. v. Tang Elec. Corp., 97 F.Supp.2d 395, 417 (S.D.N.Y.2000) ("The necessary originality for a photograph may be founded upon, among other things, the photographer's choice of subject matter, angle of photograph, lighting, determination of the precise time when the photograph is to be taken, the kind of camera, the kind of film, the kind of lens, and the area in which the pictures are taken."); Kisch v. Ammirati & Puris Inc., 657 F.Supp. 380, 382 (S.D.N.Y.1987) (copyrightable elements of a photograph "include such features as the photographer's selection of lighting, shading, positioning and timing.").

      140

      Even these lists are not complete. They omit such features as the amount of the image in focus, its graininess, and the level of contrast.

      141

      [38] Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301, 307 (2d Cir.1992).

      142

      [39] SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc., 117 F.Supp.2d 301, 311 (S.D.N.Y.2000).

      143

      [40] E. Am. Trio Prods., Inc. v. Tang Elec. Corp., 97 F.Supp.2d 395, 417 (S.D.N.Y.2000) (Kaplan, J.)

      144

      [41] Feist, 499 U.S. at 359-60, 111 S.Ct. 1282.

      145

      [42] 36 F.Supp.2d 191 (S.D.N.Y.1999).

      146

      [43] Id. at 197; Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd. v. Corel Corp., 25 F.Supp.2d 421, 427 & nn. 41, 47 (S.D.N.Y.1998).

      147

      [44] HON. SIR HUGH LADDIE ET AL., THE MODERN LAW OF COPYRIGHT AND DESIGNS (3d ed. Butterworths 2000) ("LADDIE").

      148

      [45] See Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, c. 48, § 1(1)(a); 1 LADDIE § 1.8.

      149

      [46] See 1 LADDIE § 4.57, at 229.

      150

      [47] Id.

      151

      [48] See Caratzas v. Time Life, Inc., No. 92 Civ. 6346(PKL), 1992 WL 322033, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Oct.23, 1992); Leigh v. Warner Bros., 212 F.3d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir.2000); see also Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., 188 U.S. 239, 249, 23 S.Ct. 298, 47 L.Ed. 460 (1903) ("It is obvious also that the plaintiff's case is not affected by the fact, if it be one, that the pictures represent actual groups — visible things. They seem from the testimony to have been composed from hints or description, not from sight.... But even if they had been drawn from the life, that fact would not deprive them of protection. The opposite proposition would mean that a portrait by Velasquez or Whistler was common property because others might try their hand on the same face. Others are free to copy the original. They are not free to copy the copy."); Franklin Mint Corp. v. Nat'l Wildlife Art Exchange, Inc., 575 F.2d 62, 65 (3d Cir.1978) (same); F.W. Woolworth Co. v. Contemporary Arts, 193 F.2d 162, 164 (1st Cir.1951) ("It is the well established rule that a copyright on a work of art does not protect a subject, but only the treatment of a subject."); BENJAMIN KAPLAN, AN UNHURRIED VIEW OF COPYRIGHT 56 (1967) (observing that, with respect to "works of `fine art,'" "the manner of execution is usually of more interest than the subject pictured.").

      152

      [49] 117 F.Supp.2d 301 (S.D.N.Y.2000).

      153

      [50] Id. at 311.

      154

      [51] 1 LADDIE § 4.57, at 229.

      155

      [52] 234 F. 963 (S.D.N.Y.1916).

      156

      [53] Id. at 964.

      157

      [54] A digital image of the photograph may be found at http://www.fulcrumgallery.com/print — 38089.aspx (last visited July 20, 2005).

      158

      [55] A digital image appears at http://www.gallerym.com/work.cfm? ID=69 (last visited July 20, 2005).

      159

      [56] See, e.g., http://www.raydoan.com/6140.asp (last visited July 20, 2005); http://www .shusterimages.net/BearsätBrooksFalls.htm (last visited July 20, 2005).

      160

      [57] 1 LADDIE § 4.57, at 229.

      161

      [58] 960 F.2d 301 (2d Cir.1992).

      162

      [59] 212 F. 930 (2d Cir.1914).

      163

      [60] For a reproduction of the works at issue in Rogers v. Koons, see ROBERT C. OSTERBERG & ERIC C. OSTERBERG, SUBSTANTIAL SIMILARITY IN COPYRIGHT LAW A-24, A-25 (Practising Law Institute 2003).

      164

      [61] 960 F.2d at 304.

      165

      [62] See id. ("When Rogers went to [Jim Scanlon's] home... he decided that taking a picture of the puppies alone [as Scanlon originally had requested] would not work successfully, and chose instead to include [the Scanlons] holding them.... [Rogers] selected the light, the location, the bench on which the Scanlons are seated and the arrangement of the small dogs.").

      166

      [63] The two photographs are reproduced in CASES AND MATERIALS ON COPYRIGHT 211.

      167

      [64] 212 F. at 930-31.

      168

      Also part of the court's analysis was the observation that there were "many close identities of ... light[] and shade." Id.

      169

      [65] I recognize that the preceding analysis focuses on a medium — traditional print photography — that is being supplanted in significant degree by digital technology. These advancements may or may not demand a different analytical framework.

      170

      [66] Mannion Decl. ¶¶ 4-7, 9.

      171

      [67] Def. Reply Mem. 10-11.

      172

      The defendants complain as well that Mannion's declaration does not mention, among other things, the type of film, camera, and filters that he used to produce the Garnett Photograph. Id. at 11. These omissions are irrelevant. As discussed above, originality in the rendition is assessed with respect to the work, not the artist's specific decisions in producing it.

      173

      [68] Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd., 71 F.3d 996, 1003 (2d Cir.1995) (citation omitted).

      174

      [69] Def. Br. 6.

      175

      [70] See 4 NIMMER § 13.03[B][2][a]; 17 U.S.C. § 102(b).

      176

      [71] 4 NIMMER § 13.03[B][3].

      177

      [72] 133 F.Supp.2d 317 (S.D.N.Y.2001).

      178

      [73] The Kaplan decision itself characterized the "idea" as "a businessperson contemplating a leap from a tall building onto the city street below," see id. at 323, but this characterization does not fully account for the disposition of the case. The court agreed with the defendants that:

      179

      "in order to most accurately express th[is] idea ..., the photograph must be taken from the `jumper's' own viewpoint, which would (i) naturally include the sheer side of the building and the traffic below, and (ii) logically restrict the visible area of the businessperson's body to his shoes and a certain portion of his pants legs.... Thus, the angle and viewpoint used in both photographs are essential to, commonly associated with, and naturally flow from the photograph's unprotectable subject matter.... [T]he most common, and most effective, viewpoint from which the convey the idea of the `jumper' ... remains that of the `jumper' himself." Id. at 326.

      180

      The Kaplan court's observations about the angle and viewpoint "essential to" and "commonly associated with," that "naturally flow from," "most accurately express," and "most effective[ly]" convey the "idea of a businessperson's contemplation of a leap" are unpersuasive. Thus, the opinion is best read to hold that the "idea" expressed was that of a businessperson contemplating suicide as seen from his own vantage point because only this reading explains the outcome.

      181

      [74] Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119, 121 (2d Cir.1930) (citation omitted).

      182

      This passage is often referred to as the abstractions test, but it is no such thing. Judge Newman has lamented this parlance and the underlying difficulty it elides: "Judge Hand manifestly did not think of his observations as the enunciation of anything that might be called a `test.' His disclaimer (for himself and everyone else) of the ability to `fix the boundary' should have been sufficient caution that no `test' capable of yielding a result was intended." Hon. Jon O. Newman, New Lyrics for an Old Melody: The Idea/Expression Dichotomy in the Computer Age, 17 CARDOZO ARTS & ENT. L.J. 691, 694 (1999).

      183

      [75] Peter Pan Fabrics, Inc. v. Martin Weiner Corp., 274 F.2d 487, 489 (2d Cir.1960).

      184

      [76] See, e.g., Attia v. Soc'y of the N.Y. Hosp., 201 F.3d 50, 54 (2d Cir.1999) (quoting Peter Pan Fabrics0; Williams v. Crichton, 84 F.3d 581, 587-588 (2d Cir.1996) ("The distinction between an idea and its expression is an elusive one."); Durham Indus., Inc. v. Tomy Corp., 630 F.2d 905, 912 (2d Cir.1980) (quoting Peter Pan Fabrics and characterizing "the idea/expression distinction" as "an imprecise tool"); Reyher v. Children's Television Workshop, 533 F.2d 87, 91 (2d Cir.1976) (acknowledging that "the demarcation between idea and expression may not be susceptible to overly helpful generalization"); Herbert Rosenthal Jewelry Corp. v. Kalpakian, 446 F.2d 738, 742 (9th Cir.1971) ("At least in close cases, one may suspect, the classification the court selects may simply state the result reached rather than the reason for it."); Fournier v. Erickson, 202 F.Supp.2d 290, 295 (S.D.N.Y.2002) ("the distinction between the concept and the expression of a concept is a difficult one"); see also BENJAMIN KAPLAN, AN UNHURRIED VIEW OF COPYRIGHT 48 (1967) ("We are in a viscid quandary once we admit that `expression' can consist of anything not close aboard the particular collocation in its sequential order. The job of comparison is not much eased by speaking of patterns, nor is the task of deciding when the monopoly would be too broad for the public convenience made much neater by speaking of ideas and expression. The polarity proposed by Hand is indeed related geneologically to the ancient opposition of idea to form, but the ancestor is not readily recognized in the ambiguous and elusive descendant.").

      185

      [77] "[W]hile we are as aware as any one that the line, whereever it is drawn, will seem arbitrary, that is no excuse for not drawing it; it is a question such as courts must answer in nearly all cases." Nichols, 45 F.2d at 122.

      186

      [78] There appears to be no Supreme Court case explicitly making the distinction any earlier than Holmes v. Hurst, 174 U.S. 82, 19 S.Ct. 606, 43 L.Ed. 904 (1899), in which the Court observed that the Copyright Act protects "that arrangement of words which the author has selected to express his ideas." Id. at 86, 19 S.Ct. 606.

      187

      [79] One non-literary case in which the Supreme Court referred to the idea/expression distinction was Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 217-18, 74 S.Ct. 460, 98 L.Ed. 630 (1954), which is described below in footnote 80.

      188

      [80] In cases dealing with toys or products that have both functional and design aspects, courts sometimes use "idea" to refer to a gimmick embodied in the product. See, e.g., Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 217-18, 74 S.Ct. 460, 98 L.Ed. 630 (1954) (court, after introducing idea/expression dichotomy, stated that plaintiffs, who had copyrights in statuettes of human figures used as table lamps, "may not exclude others from using statuettes of human figures in table lamps; they may only prevent use of copies of their statuettes as such or as incorporated in some other article."); Herbert Rosenthal Jewelry Corp. v. Kalpakian, 446 F.2d 738, 742 (9th Cir.1971) (bejeweled gold pin in the shape of a bee was an unprotected "idea"); Herbert Rosenthal Jewelry Corp. v. Honora Jewelry Co., 509 F.2d 64, 65-66 (2d Cir.1974) (same for turtle pins); Great Importations, Inc. v. Caffco Int'l, Inc., No. 95 Civ. 0514, 1997 WL 414111, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. July 24, 1997) (M.J.) ("To the degree the similarities between the two sculptures herein are simply because they are both three-piece sets of candleholders in the shape of the letters J, O and Y with baby angels and holly, those similarities are non-copyrightable ideas....").

      189

      This case does not concern any kind of gimmick, and the Court ventures no opinion about the applicability of the idea/expression dichotomy to any product that embodies a gimmick, including toys or other objects that combine function and design.

      190

      [81] See Gross v. Seligman, 212 F. 930, 931 (2d Cir.1914); Kaplan v. Stock Market Photo Agency, Inc., 133 F.Supp.2d 317, 323 (S.D.N.Y.2001); Andersson v. Sony Corp. of Am., No. 96 Civ. 7975(RO), 1997 WL 226310, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. May 2, 1997); Kisch v. Ammirati & Puris Inc., 657 F.Supp. 380, 382 (S.D.N.Y.1987); Pagano v. Chas. Beseler Co., 234 F. 963, 964 (S.D.N.Y.1916).

      191

      [82] The terminology can be still more confused. Consider this sentence, in a section of an opinion analyzing what was original, and hence protectible, in a photograph created by a freelancer in accordance with instructions from a defendant: "[D]efendants conclude that Fournier cannot assert copyright protection, to the extent that he does, over the expression of businessmen in traditional dress on their way to work, an idea which originated with McCann in any event." Fournier v. Erickson, 202 F.Supp.2d 290, 295 (S.D.N.Y.2002) (emphases added).

      192

      [83] 274 F.2d at 489.

      193

      [84] Newman, New Lyrics for an Old Melody, supra, at 697.

      194

      [85] 720 F.2d 231 (2d Cir.1983).

      195

      In that case, which considered the question whether the protagonist of the television series The Greatest American Hero infringed the copyright in the Superman character, Judge Newman observed that a tension between two different propositions dealing with the significance of differences between an allegedly infringing work and a copyrighted work "perhaps results from [those propositions'] formulation in the context of literary works and their subsequent application to graphic and three-dimensional works." Id. at 241.

      196

      [86] Newman, New Lyrics for an Old Melody, supra, at 698.

      197

      [87] Franklin Mint Corp. v. Nat'l Wildlife Art Exchange, Inc., 575 F.2d 62, 65 (3d Cir.1978); accord Kisch v. Ammirati & Puris Inc., 657 F.Supp. 380, 383 (S.D.N.Y.1987).

      198

      [88] 960 F.2d at 308 (first emphasis added).

      199

      [89] Def. Br. 6. See supra.

      200

      [90] See SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc., 117 F.Supp.2d 301, 314 (S.D.N.Y.2000) ("defendants' instructions were so general as to fall within the realm of unprotectible ideas. Thus, they cannot substantiate a work-for-hire authorship defense." (emphasis added)); Andersson v. Sony Corp., No. 96 Civ. 7975(RO), 1997 WL 226310, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. May 2, 1997) ("What these two photos may arguably share, the idea of a woman in futuristic garb becoming fascinated with an object held in her hand, is simply not protectible." (emphasis added)); Gentieu v. Tony Stone Images/Chicago, Inc., 255 F.Supp.2d 838, 849 (N.D.Ill.2003) ("Gentieu cannot claim a copyright in the idea of photographing naked or diapered babies or in any elements of expression that are intrinsic to that unprotected idea. Clearly the `poses' at issue in Gentieu's images capture the natural movements and facial expressions of infants.... Such poses are implicit in the very idea of a baby photograph and are not proper material for protection under Gentieu's copyrights." (emphases added)).

      201

      It is interesting to note that United Kingdom law faces a similar terminological problem and that the solution of Laddie and supporting authorities is to conclude that the generality of an "idea" is what determines its protectability:

      202

      "Confusion is caused in the law of copyright because of the use of the catchphrase `There is no copyright in ideas but only in the form of their expression'. Unless one understands what this means its utility is non-existent, or it is positively misleading. An artistic work of the imagination presupposes two kinds of ingredients: the conception of one or more ideas, and artistic dexterity and skill in their representation in the chosen medium. It is not the law that copyright protects the second kind of ingredient only. If that were so a debased copy which failed to capture the artist's dexterity and skill would not infringe, which plainly is not the case. Unless an artist is content merely to represent a pre-existent object (eg a building) or scene, it is part of his task as artist to exercise his imagination and in so doing he may create a pattern of ideas for incorporation in his finished work. This idea-pattern may be as much part of his work, and deserving of copyright protection, as the brushstrokes, pencil-lines, etc. The true proposition is that there is no copyright in a general idea, but that an original combination of ideas may [be protected]." 1 LADDIE § 4.43, at 212 (footnote omitted).

      203

      [91] 133 F.Supp.2d at 323 (emphases added).

      204

      [92] Yurman Design, Inc. v. PAJ, Inc., 262 F.3d 101, 111 (2d Cir.2001) (quoting Hamil America, Inc. v. GFI, 193 F.3d 92, 100 (2d Cir.1999) (quoting Peter Pan Fabrics, Inc. v. Martin Weiner Corp., 274 F.2d 487, 489 (2d Cir.1960)) (internal quotation marks omitted)); accord Boisson v. Banian, Ltd., 273 F.3d 262, 272 (2d Cir.2001) (quoting Folio Impressions, Inc. v. Byer California, 937 F.2d 759, 765 (2d Cir.1991)).

      205

      [93] Hamil America, Inc., 193 F.3d at 101; accord Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd., 71 F.3d 996, 1002 (2d Cir.1995); Folio Impressions, 937 F.2d at 765-66; see also Boisson, 273 F.3d at 272.

      206

      [94] Boisson, 273 F.3d at 272 (citing Knitwaves, 71 F.3d at 1003); accord Hamil America, 193 F.3d at 101.

      207

      [95] 338 F.3d 127 (2d Cir.2003).

      208

      [96] See 237 F.Supp.2d 376, 386-88 (S.D.N.Y.2002).

      209

      [97] 338 F.3d at 130 (emphasis in original).

      210

      [98] Id. at 134-35 (emphasis in original).

      211

      [99] Id. at 132-33 (quoting Sheldon v. Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corp., 81 F.2d 49, 56 (2d Cir.1936)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

      212

      [100] 4 NIMMER § 13.03[B][1][a], at 13-63.

      213

      [101] 657 F.Supp. 380, 384 (S.D.N.Y.1987).