Copyright Law of the United States

This publication contains the text of Title 17 of the United States Code, including all amendments enacted by Congress through March 27, 2020. It includes the Copyright Act of 1976 and all subsequent amendments to copyright law; the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984, as amended; and the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, as amended. The Copyright Office is responsible for registering intellectual property claims under all three.

The United States copyright law is contained in chapters 1 through 8 and 10 through 12 of Title 17 of the United States Code. The Copyright Act of 1976, which provides the basic framework for the current copyright law, was enacted on October 19, 1976, as Pub. L. No. 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541. The 1976 Act was a comprehensive revision of the copyright law in Title 17. Listed below in chronological order of their enactment are the Copyright Act of 1976 and subsequent amendments to Title 17.

Significant copyright legislation enacted since the last printed edition of this circular in December 2016 includes the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act and the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act, both signed into law in October 2018; the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, the Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019, and the Library of Congress Technical Corrections Act of 2019, all signed into law in December 2019; and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, signed into law in March 2020.