Tenth Circuit: Digital model of car not separately copyrightable because no originality

In a decision this week, the Tenth Circuit affirmed a district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants in a copyright case, finding a digital work lacking sufficient originality to warrant copyright protection.  The works at issue were three-dimensional computer models of cars for use in advertisements.

The court agreed that the plaintiff "made many judgments that required both skill and technical know-how.  Those judgments may have even involved 'creativity,' as that word is commonly used."  However, the end result was simply a copy of the car in a different medium.  In fact, the plaintiff's intent was to reproduce the underlying work with absolute fidelity.  Thus, the work lacked any original addition to the underlying work and was not eligible for copyright protection.

More on Meshwerks, Inc. v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. after the jump.


Fourth Circuit affirms refusal of copyright registration: insufficient creativity

The Fourth Circuit yesterday affirmed the denial of copyright registration to an individual who had adapted United States Census maps for use on his website.  The only changes to the maps were the addition of colors, changing the typeface of the state abbreviations, and a change in layout for some of the state indications.  The court affirmed the Copyright Office's determination that the adapted maps were not copyrightable.  They were derivative works of the U.S. Census maps, and therefore only the added or changed portions were subject to copyright protection.  However, the modifications were entirely "uncopyrightable elements such as a change of layout, format, size, spacing, or coloring," and so the refusal to register was affirmed.

More details of Darden v. Peters after the jump.


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