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- 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

- Background

- Computer Programs

   - Recommendations for Statutory Change

   - Recommendation for Regulations

   - Case for Copyright Protection for Programs

   - Copyright and Other Methods Compared

   - Scope of Copyright in Programs

   - Economic Effects of Program Copyright

   - Cultural Effects of Program Copyright

   - Concurring Opinion of Commissioner Nimmer

   - Dissent of Commissioner Hersey

   - Dissent of Commissioner Karpatkin

- Computer Data Bases

- New Works

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


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Picture of commissioners and staff

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


Chapter 3 Computers and Copyright

Recommendation for Regulations

Regulations for notice, deposit, and registration of programs should be promulgated by the Register of Copyrights. Copyright notice in the form prescribed in the 1976 Act should be required on all formats in which a program is marketed.55 On copies of programs in a medium capable of being read by the unaided eye, the notice should physically appear before the list of instructions that comprises the program. Those programs that may be read only with the aid of a machine or device should contain notice in the medium of fixation so that the contents of the program cannot be listed without reproducing the notice in the position just described. Further, containers in which copies of such machine-readable programs are sold, leased, or transported should bear notice as should such devices as (1) reels upon which magnetic tape is wound, or (2) semiconductor chips in which programs are stored.

Regulations relating to deposit and registration requirements should promote public access to computer programs while being flexible enough to accommodate future changes in computer technology. In any case, programs are frequently modified and updated to reflect improvements or changes. The repeated deposit of each version of a program would be burdensome to both the program proprietor and the Copyright Office. Several options appear available. A system of temporary deposit, similar to the practice followed with respect to motion pictures, might be appropriate.56 In the alternative, permanent deposit of complete copies of original versions of programs could be required, with descriptions rather than complete copies of amended versions being filed thereafter. In any event, such requirements can be established best by the Copyright Office.57


Next section: Case for Copyright Protection for Programs


55 Such notice must consist of the word Copyright,the abbreviation Copr. or the symbol , together with the year of first publication and the name of the copyright owner. 17 U.S.C.  401(b).

56 The Copyright Office has a long-established practice of returning deposit copies of motion pictures to the depositor after registration. The copies are returned subject to recall by the Library of Congress for addition to its film collection.

57 The Copyright Office has adopted regulations which generally comport with these suggestions, the text of which is found in Appendix J for notice, 37 C.F.R.  201, and for deposit, 37 C.F.R.  202.