At CopyNight we're trying to hack this section to address its increasing irrelevance. Here are the problems we'd like to address as we continue to work on this:
- Addressing the resale of digital works, including but not limited to digital music, eBooks, video games, film downloads
- Curtailing the prevalence of licensing with respect to software and other digital works
- Removing the lobby-centric pieces of this section
17 USC 109
TITLE 17 - COPYRIGHTS
CHAPTER 1 - SUBJECT MATTER AND SCOPE OF COPYRIGHT
§ 109. Limitations on exclusive rights: Effect of transfer of particular copy or
For the purpose of this section, a copy or phonorecord includes a copy or phonorecord of any work in any format whatsoever that is protected under this Title, including, but not limited to digital formats.
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 (3), the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord
of a protected work under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority
of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.
Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, copies or phonorecords of works subject to restored copyright
under section 104A that are manufactured before the date of restoration of copyright or, with respect to
reliance parties, before publication or service of notice under section 104A (e), may be sold or otherwise
disposed of without the authorization of the owner of the restored copyright for purposes of direct or
indirect commercial advantage only during the 12-month period beginning on—
(1) the date of the publication in the Federal Register of the notice of intent filed with the Copyright Office undersection104A (d)(2)(A), or
(2) the date of the receipt of actual notice served under section 104A (d)(2)(B), whichever occurs first.
(b) For purposes of the previous paragraph, the transferor of a particular copy or phonorecord may make a single copy of such copy or phonorecord if necessary to transfer ownership, title, or license to that particular copy or phonorecord, so long as transferor deletes or otherwise destroys that particular copy or phonorecord.
(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), unless authorized by the owners of
copyright in the sound recording or the owner of copyright in a computer program (including
any tape, disk, or other medium embodying such program), and in the case of a sound recording
in the musical works embodied therein, neither the owner of a particular phonorecord
nor any person in possession of a particular copy of a computer program (including any
tape, disk, or other medium embodying such program), may, for the purposes of direct or
indirect commercial advantage, dispose of, or authorize the disposal of, the possession of that
phonorecord or computer program (including any tape, disk, or other medium embodying
such program) by rental, lease, or lending, or by any other act or practice in the nature of
rental, lease, or lending. Nothing in the preceding sentence shall apply to the rental, lease, or
lending of a phonorecord for nonprofit purposes by a nonprofit library or nonprofit educational
institution. The transfer of possession of a lawfully made copy of a computer program by
a nonprofit educational institution to another nonprofit educational institution or to faculty,
staff, and students does not constitute rental, lease, or lending for direct or indirect commercial
purposes under this subsection.
(B) This subsection does not apply to—
(i) a computer program which is embodied in a machine or product and which cannot be copied duringthe ordinary operation or use of the machine or product; or
(ii) a computer program embodied in or used in conjunction with a limited purpose
computer that is designed for playing video games and may be designed for other
(C) Nothing in this subsection affects any provision of chapter 9 of this title.
(A) Nothing in this subsection shall apply to the lending of a computer program for nonprofit
purposes by a nonprofit library, if each copy of a computer program which is lent by
such library has affixed to the packaging containing the program a warning of copyright in
accordance with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation.
(B) Not later than three years after the date of the enactment of the Computer Software Rental
Amendments Act of 1990, and at such times thereafter as the Register of Copyrights considers
appropriate, the Register of Copyrights, after consultation with representatives of copyright
owners and librarians, shall submit to the Congress a report stating whether this paragraph
has achieved its intended purpose of maintaining the integrity of the copyright system while providingnonprofit libraries the capability to fulfill their function. Such report shall advise the Congress as to anyinformation or recommendations that the Register of Copyrights considers necessary to carry out thepurposes of this subsection.
(3) Nothing in this subsection shall affect any provision of the antitrust laws. For purposes of
the preceding sentence, “antitrust laws” has the meaning given that term in the first section of the
Clayton Act and includes section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act to the extent that section
relates to unfair methods of competition.
(4) Any person who distributes a phonorecord or a copy of a computer program (including any
tape, disk, or other medium embodying such program) in violation of paragraph (1) is an infringer
of copyright under section 501 of this title and is subject to the remedies set forth in sections 502,
503, 504, and 505. Such violation shall not be a criminal offense under section 506 or cause such
person to be subject to the criminal penalties set forth in section 2319 of title 18.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 (5), the owner of a particular copy lawfully made
under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the
copyright owner, to display that copy publicly, either directly or by the projection of no more than one
image at a time, to viewers present at the place where the copy is located.
(e) The privileges prescribed by subsections (a) and (c) do not, unless authorized by the copyright
owner, extend to any person who has acquired possession of the copy or phonorecord from the copyright
owner, by rental, lease, loan, or otherwise, without acquiring ownership of it, unless any rental, lease, loan, or other agreement says otherwise.
(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 (4) and 106 (5), in the case of an electronic
audiovisual game intended for use in coin-operated equipment, the owner of a particular copy of such
a game lawfully made under this title, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner of the
game, to publicly perform or display that game in coin-operated equipment, except that this subsection
shall not apply to any work of authorship embodied in the audiovisual game if the copyright owner of
the electronic audiovisual game is not also the copyright owner of the work of authorship.