Publication Date

January 1989


When the Copyright Law of 1976 (Title 17, U.S. Code) was passed, archivists welcomed it as a reform that would remove the distinctions and uncertainties of common law copyright and apply the provisions of the statute equally to manuscripts and published materials. Recent developments in the courts, however, and opinions expressed in two five-year reports of the Copyright Office, have indicated that the end of common law copyright may not have led to an equal treatment of published and unpublished materials in law, even though statutory copyright now applies to both. Recent legal interpretations have maintained old distinctions between published and unpublished materials with regard to "fair use," and to library and archival photocopying of unpublished materials.



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