Copyright Law Deskbook, Second Edition, With 2017 Supplement

This handbook covers the most timely and significant aspects of copyright law in a concise, convenient format. Every chapter contains excerpts from the Copyright Act, explanations of the text, and analyses of seminal decisions, addressing fair use, work for hire, copyrightability, digital rights and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, international considerations, damages, formalities, preemption, and litigation issues.

Meet The Author


The Copyright Law Deskbook, Second Edition addresses the law and practice of copyright, with an emphasis on case law developments. It explores decisions in which existing copyright content is being aggregated, adapted, and distributed in ways unforeseen by Congress when it passed the Copyright Act in 1976. The book covers significant aspects of the law, including fair use, work for hire, copyrightability, digital rights and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, international considerations, damages, formalities, preemption, and litigation issues. Copyright Law Deskbook comes with an online Annotated Case Digest that covers every significant copyright law decision from 1993 to February 22, 2016.

Highlights covered in the Second Edition include jurisdiction and procedure: U.S. jurisdiction over acts of foreign infringement; personal jurisdiction based on a defendant’s internet activities; copyrightability: new decisions on the copyrightability of derivative works, real estate information, financial data, lighting fixtures, toys, the Visual Artists Rights Act, and cars as copyrightable “characters” in movies; and fair use: newest arguments in transformative technological use, both successful and not, including the digitization of library books; music file-sharing, and online “space shifting” of music files; fair use and Harry Potter reference books; and more.  

Supplement Information

The 2017 Supplement adds the following:

  • The Supreme Court ruled in Star Athletica LLC v.Varsity Brands, Inc. that simple two-dimensional graphic designs that are printed on, or woven into, the fabric of cheerleading uniforms could be copyrightable
  • The Supreme Court ruled in Kirtsaeng II that the federal district court and Second Circuit correctly gave “substantial weight” to objective reasonableness of copyright infringement defendant’s litigation position in determining whether to award attorneys’ fees but district courts must take into account a range of considerations beyond the reasonableness of litigating positions
  • The New York Court of Appeals, responding to a certificate question from the Second Circuit arising from Flo & Eddie v. Sirius XM Radio, held that there is no right of public performance for pre-1972 sound recordings under New York law
  • The Ninth Circuit ruled in Antonick v. Elec. Arts, Inc. that (1) access alone cannot establish infringement; (2) expert testimony alone cannot satisfy the plaintiff’s burden of proof under the “intrinsic test” for infringement; and (3) lay testimony was about how the games appeared, not how they were coded
  • The Fifth Circuit stated in GlobeRanger Corp. v. Software AG U.S.A., Inc. that the same intellectual property may be protectable under copyright and trade secret laws
  • The Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part a decision in Urbont v. Sony Music Entm’t to enforce claimed ownership rights in an “Iron Man” theme song composed in 1966 that turned on whether the song was a work for hire created for, and thus owned by, Marvel Comics
  • The Court of Federal Claims dismissed a copyright infringement suit involving commercial computer software against the U.S. Government for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and further ruled that under 28 U.S.C. §1498(b) infringement claims may only be brought by the copyright owner, in Bruhn Newtech v. United States
  • The N.D. Cal. in Oracle America, Inc. v. Google, Inc. clarified that concern with widespread use under §107(4) is not whether uses distinct from the accused uses might harm the market for copyrighted works, but whether use of the same sort, if multiplied via use by others, would cause market harm; the court upheld a jury verdict finding fair use


Bloomberg BNA authors and editors are practicing professionals with insider perspectives and real-life experience. Learn more about this book’s authors and editors.
Robert W. Clarida is a partner at Reitler, Kailas & Rosenblatt, LLC in New York, N.Y., and a noted author and speaker on copyright. He is a past trustee of the Copyright Society of the USA and a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Intellectual Property Law Association.


View full tables of contents and read the book’s preface or introduction.