Today in Copyright History: 8/31

On August 31, 1876, French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was issued U.S. Copyright Registration No. 9939-G for the “Statue of American Independence” (later known as “Liberty Enlightening the World,” or the “Statue of Liberty”), depositing a photo model and artistic rendering of how the statue was to appear against the New York skyline.  Bartholdi also secured concurrent protection for the statue’s design under U.S. Design Patent No. D11023, issued February 18, 1879.  From the History of Copyright Timeline at the U.S. Copyright Office.

By Giorgio Martini (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via  Wikimedia Commons .

By Giorgio Martini (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Today in Copyright History: 8/24

On August 24, 1912, U.S. copyright protection was extended to motion pictures.  Prior to this, motion pictures could only be registered as a series of still photographs.  “Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze” (also known as “Fred Ott’s Sneeze”), a short, sternutational film of one of Thomas Edison’s assistants registered in 1894, is the oldest surviving motion picture deposited as still photographs.  From the History of Copyright Timeline at the U.S. Copyright Office.

By W.K.-L. Dickson (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.13462/) [Public domain], via  Wikimedia Commons .

By W.K.-L. Dickson (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.13462/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Today in Copyright History: 8/18

On August 18, 1787, founding father and future president James Madison submitted a provision to the framers of the U.S. Constitution to “secure to literary authors their copyrights for a limited time.”  Adopted in amended form as Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, this language became known as the Copyright Clause, and provides the constitutional basis of U.S. copyright law.

69 years later, on August 18, 1856, copyright protection was extended to dramatic compositions, including, for the first time, the right of public performance.  From the History of Copyright Timeline at the U.S. Copyright Office.

By John Vanderlyn (1775–1852) [Public domain], via  Wikimedia Commons .

By John Vanderlyn (1775–1852) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Today in Copyright History: 8/7

On August 7, 1994, Marybeth Peters was appointed the eleventh Register of Copyrights.  She joined the U.S. Copyright Office staff in 1966 as a music examiner, and advanced to positions at all levels of the Office, including acting general counsel, policy planning advisor, chief of the Examining Division, chief of the Information and Reference Division, and attorney-advisor.  Peters was instrumental in the consideration and enactment of most of the 40 amendments to Title 17 that were enacted during her time as Register, and her 16-year tenure as Register was exceeded in length only by the 33-year stint of the first Register, Thorvald Solberg.  From the History of Copyright Timeline at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Public domain, via the U.S. Copyright Office.

Public domain, via the U.S. Copyright Office.

The Donald’s TRUMP CARD®?

As The Wall Street Journal Law Blog observed yesterday, “[i]f presidential candidates were judged by the number of trademark applications they file, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would be the hands-down winner.”  In addition to the large number of trademarks owned by his various corporate interests, Trump has filed more than three hundred trademark applications in the United States under his own name as an individual, most of which unsurprisingly either contain or consist solely of the word TRUMP.  Like his self-effacing public persona, Trump’s trademark portfolio practically gleams with humility and understatement, with marks such as THE DONALD, DONALD TRUMP, TRUMPED, TRUMP D’ELEGANCE, TOUR DE TRUMP, OYSTERS TRUMP, TRUMPTINI, PURELY TRUMP, TRUMP CARD, TRUMP POWER, TRUMP MONEY, TRUMP CLASS, TRUMP STYLE, TRUMP TOUCH, TRUMP WORLD, and, of course, YOU’RE FIRED, to name but a few.  Trump’s campaign slogan, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN®, is also a registered trademark, and with Trump being the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, the possibility of a direct correlation between trademarks and poll numbers cannot be ruled out.  Only time will tell whether any of the other sixteen Republican candidates will surpass THE DONALD in either category.  From The Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

Today in Copyright History: 8/1

On August 1, 1936, Clement Lincoln Bouvé was appointed the third Register of Copyrights.  Bouvé, who served from 1936 to 1943, was the first lawyer to serve as Register.  Among the many notable accomplishments of his tenure was the creation of the copyright card catalog, 1938-1945, the first U.S. Copyright Office catalog to combine into one alphabet all of the entries representing all authors, claimants, and titles for all classes of registered works.  From the History of Copyright Timeline at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Public domain, via the U.S. Copyright Office.

Public domain, via the U.S. Copyright Office.