The U.S. Supreme Court did not decide its first copyright case until 1834. In reviewing the copyrightability of what is now the United States Reports, the Court established that Congress had the power to require conditions for copyright and that no one could copyright court opinions.
Maria Pallante was Register of Copyrights from June 1, 2011, through October 29, 2016. She directed the administration of important provisions of Title 17, including the nationʼs copyright registration and recordation systems and certain statutory licenses.
“Five Celebrated Clowns,” a billboard-size poster advertising a circus, was submitted as a copyright deposit in 1856. There was little interest in commercial art at the time, and the poster remained sealed an entire century. Today, it is the earliest surviving poster in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division.