Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (09/09/1974)


Design Protection Act - =Title I: General Revision of Copyright Law= - Revises in its entirety, Title 17 of the United States Code, entitled "Copyrights." Defines the terms used in such title, including "anonymous work," "copies," "derivative work," and "publication." Details the subject matter of copyright: (1) in general; (2) of compilations and derivative works; (3) of works with regard to national origin; and (4) of United States Government works.

Enumerates the exclusive rights enjoyed by the owner of a copyright under this title, and the limitations on such exclusive rights, including: (1) fair use; (2) reproduction by libraries and archives; (3) transfer of a particular copy or phonorecord by an owner; (4) specified performances and displays by learning institutions, governmental bodies and churches; (5) secondary transmissions of a primary transmission (including transmission to a controlled group, transmission by cable systems, compulsory licensing for secondary transmission by cable systems, and preemption of other laws and regulations); and (6) ephemeral recordings.

States that when a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work in which copyright subsists under this title is utilized in an original ornamental design of a useful article, by the copyright proprietor or under an express license from him, the design shall be eligible for protection under title III of this Act.

Sets forth the scope of exclusive rights in sound recordings. Enumerates the extend of exclusive rights in nondramatic musical works, requiring compulsory licensing for making and distributing phonorecords. Provides for the recordation of coin-operated phonorecord players, the affixation of a certificate, and prescribes the royalty payable under the compulsory license.

Provides that this title does not afford to the owner of copyright in a work any lesser or greater rights with respect to the use of the work in conjunction with computers and similar information systems than those afforded to works under the law.

States that copyright in work protected under this title vests initially in the author or authors of the work. Provides that ownership of a copyright is distinct from ownership of any material object in which the work is embodied. Prescribes the conditions for termination of transfers and licenses granted by the author and the effect of such termination. States that a transfer of copyright ownership is not valid unless an instrument of conveyance, or a memorandum of the transfer, is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or his duly authorized agent. Provides for the recordation of transfers and other documents with the Copyright Office.

Directs that on and after January 1, 1975, all rights in the nature of copyright shall be governed exclusively by this title. Retains specified common law rights in enumerated instances. Sets forth the periods for duration of copyrights for: (1) works created on or after January 1, 1975; (2) works created by not published or copyrighted before January 1, 1975; and (3) subsisting copyrights.

Directs that whenever a protected work is published in the United States or elsewhere by authority of the copyright owner, a notice of copyright shall be placed on all publicly distributed copies from which the work can be visually perceived. Sets forth the form of such notice. Prescribes the rules governing notice of copyright for phonorecords of sound recordings, publications incorporating United States government works, and contributions to collective works. Details the effect of omission of such notices. Requires the deposit of copyrighted works at the Copyright Office for use of the Library of Congress. Outlines the procedures for registration of copyright claims, stating that registration is a prerequisite to specified remedies for infringement.

Provides that anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner or who imports copies or phonorecords into the United States in violation of this Act is an infringer of the copyright. Enumerates the remedies for infringement, including: (1) injunctions; (2) impounding and disposition of infringing articles; (3) damages and profits; and (4) costs and attorney's fees. Imposes criminal penalties for violations of this Act.

Provides that, with specified exceptions, the importation into or public distribution in the United States of copies of work consisting preponderantly of nondramatic literary material that is in the English language and is protected under this title is prohibited unless the portions consisting of such material have been manufactured in the United States on copies or phonorecords acquired abroad.

Enumerates the general responsibilities and organization of the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress, including: (1) retention and distribution of articles; (2) preparation, maintenance, public inspection, and searching; and (3) forms publications and fees of the Copyright Office.

Creates in the Library of Congress a Copyright Royalty Tribunal to: (1) make determinations concerning the adjustment of the copyright royalty rates to assure that such rates continue to be reasonable; and (2) determine in specified circumstances the distribution of the royalty fees deposited with the Register of Copyrights. Prescribes the procedures, duties, and operations of the Tribunal.

Provides that the Public Printer shall sell, under regulations of the Joint Committee on Printing, to persons who may apply, plates from which a Government publication is printed, at a price not to exceed the cost of composition, the metal, and making to the Government, plus 10 percent.

States that when letters and other intellectual productions (exclusive of patented material, published works under copyright protection, and unpublished works for which copyright registration has been made) come into the custody or possession of the Administrator of General Services, the United States or its agents are not liable for infringement of copyright or analogous rights arising out of the use of the materials for display, inspection, research, reproduction, or other purposes.

=Title II: National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works= - Creates in the Library of Congress a National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works to study, compile and make recommendations on data on: (1) the reproduction and use of copyrighted works of authorship in conjunction with automatic data systems and by various forms of machine reproduction; and (2) the creation of new works by the application or intervention of such automatic systems or machine reproduction.

=Title III: Protection of Ornamental Designs of Useful Articles= - Design Protection Act - Defines the terms used in this title, including "useful article" as an article which in normal use has an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information.

Provides that protection under this title shall not be available for a design that is: (1) not original; (2) staple or commonplace (or an insignificant modification thereof), such as a standard geometric figure, familiar symbol, emblem, or motif, or other shape, pattern, or configuration which has become common, prevalent, or ordinary; (3) dictated solely by a utilitarian function of the article that embodies it; or (4) composed of three-dimensional features of shape and surface with respect to men's, women's, and children's apparel.

States that the term of protection for such a design shall be five years, with renewal options. Prescribes the requirements of design notice whenever protection for a design is sought under this title. Imposes infringement penalties for making, importing, selling, or distributing of a design protected under this title without consent of the proprietor of the design. Imposes penalties for false marking and false representation under this title.

Provides that protection under this title shall not be available for any design that has been made public prior to the effective date of this title (one year after its date of enactment).