Home page for digital-law-online.info

- Table of Contents -

Introduction to the online version

Chapter 1 – The Commission and Its Recommendations

Chapter 2 – The Establishment, Mandate, and Activities of the Commission

Chapter 3 – Computers and Copyright

Chapter 4 – Machine Reproduction – Photocopying

Chapter 5 – Summary

Appendix A – Summary of the Legislative History of Computer-Related Issues and the Photocopy Issue

Appendix B – Public Law 93-573 and Public Law 95-146

Appendix C – Commissioners

Appendix D – Staff

Appendix E – Lists of Witnesses

Appendix F – Alphabetical Listing of Persons Appearing before the Commission

Appendix G – Transcripts of Commission Meetings

Appendix H – Summaries of Commission-Sponsored Studies

Appendix I – Bibliography

Appendix J – Selected Provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 and Copyright Office Regulations

Full table of contents

PDF version of the report

Picture of commissioners and staff

Final Report of the National Commission on New Technology Uses of Copyrighted Works

Introduction to the Online Version

The Final Report of the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) has been cited in most of the court decisions and law review articles on the copyrightability of computer programs. And yet it is likely that most of the people reading those decisions and articles have never read the CONTU Final Report, since it is not readily available. I am unaware of any online copy of the CONTU Report until now, on the Internet or through Westlaw or Lexis.

The CONTU Final Report provided not only the justification for Congress’s amending of Sections 101 and 117 of the Copyright Act of 1976 to address computer software, but also discussed the protection of databases and other collections of information and the use of technology such as photocopiers.


I’ve provided the CONTU Final Report in two different forms – the web pages that you are currently reading, and PDF images of the actual report. The web pages allow you to cut-and-paste material from the report and make it easier to find a particular section. You can navigate through them using the abbreviated table of contents to the left, or use the complete table of contents. The PDF images have bookmarks to help you find a particular section within a chapter.


There are a number of people who helped me make this available. Bill Patry contributed an extra copy of the report, so that it could be cut apart for scanning. My research assistants, Michelle Smith and Peter Donaldson, did the initial editing and corrections after I had run the images through a character recognition program. My son, Mark, cleaned up the page images. And Art Levine, who was the executive director of CONTU, encouraged this effort and provided a picture of the commissioners and staff taken at the last meeting.


I hope that you will find this online version interesting and useful.


                                                               Lee A. Hollaar

                                                               September 28, 2003