Podcast – Formalities in U.S. Copyright with Steven Tepp

In this post, I wrote about some of the difficulties that U.S. formalities present to many independent creators, difficulties highlighted in the case Unicolors v. H&M. I cited a paper written by Steven Tepp for the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and mentioned that I would follow up with a podcast to delve a little deeper into the subject of formalities–those pesky, administrative details that sometimes confound independent authors trying to protect their works under copyright.

Steven Tepp is the president and founder of the IP consulting firm Sentinel Worldwide. In his career, he has  served as Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and as senior counsel for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Copyright Office.  See Steven’s website here.

Episode Contents

  • 46:06 – Steven Tepp’s background
  • 01:42 – What are  formalities in U.S. copyright?
  • 06:06 – The relationship between formalities and the Library of Congress.
  • 08:05 – Consolidation of deposit copies at the Library of Congress.
  • 11:15 – U.S. partial breaks with formalities.
  • 19:28 – A copyright notice is not required, but…
  • 21:25 – The basics of complying with existing formalities.
  • 33:58 – AWF v. Goldsmith and registration of an unpublished work.
  • 37:22 – Unicolors v. H&M and mixing published and unpublished works.
  • 40:41 – The meaning of “published” as a question of law.
  • 45:45 – The difficulty of “publication” after preemption of common law copyright.
  • 50:29 – The well-intended doctrine of “limited publication.”
  • 53:46 – Unicolors’s challenge as a result of the “limited publication” doctrine.
  • 57:34 – One solution to the “publication” problem.
  • 01:06:00 – Formalities and the small-claim provision created by the CASE Act.

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