Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
Cite as 17 U.S.C. § 106 Source: Pub. L. 94-553, title I, §101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2546; Pub. L. , 101-318 § 3 (d), July 3, , 104 Stat. 288; 1990 Pub. L. , 101-650 title VII, § 704 (b)(2), Dec. 1, , 104 Stat. 5134; 1990 Pub. L. , 104-39 § 2 , Nov. 1, , 109 Stat. 336; 1995 Pub. L. , 106-44 § 1 (g)(2), Aug. 5, , 113 Stat. 222; 1999 Pub. L. , 107-273 div. C, title III, § 13210 (4)(A), Nov. 2, , 116 Stat. 1909. 2002 Notes from the Office of Law Revision Counsel current through 7/14/2020 HISTORICAL AND REVISION NOTES HOUSE REPORT NO. 94-1476 General Scope of Copyright. The five fundamental rights that the bill gives to copyright owners-the exclusive rights of reproduction, adaptation, publication, performance, and display-are stated generally in section 106. These exclusive rights, which comprise the so-called "bundle of rights" that is a copyright, are cumulative and may overlap in some cases. Each of the five enumerated rights may be subdivided indefinitely and, as discussed below in connection with section 201, each subdivision of an exclusive right may be owned and enforced separately.
The approach of the bill is to set forth the copyright owner's exclusive rights in broad terms in section 106, and then to provide various limitations, qualifications, or exemptions in the 12 sections that follow. Thus, everything in section 106 is made "subject to sections 107 through 118", and must be read in conjunction with those provisions.
The exclusive rights accorded to a copyright owner under section 106 are "to do and to authorize" any of the activities specified in the five numbered clauses. Use of the phrase "to authorize" is intended to avoid any questions as to the liability of contributory infringers. For example, a person who lawfully acquires an authorized copy of a motion picture would be an infringer if he or she engages in the business of renting it to others for purposes of unauthorized public performance.
Rights of Reproduction, Adaptation, and Publication. The first three clauses of section 106, which cover all rights under a copyright except those of performance and display, extend to every kind of copyrighted work. The exclusive rights encompassed by these clauses, though closely related, are independent; they can generally be characterized as rights of copying, recording, adaptation, and publishing. A single act of infringement may violate all of these rights at once, as where a publisher reproduces, adapts, and sells copies of a person's copyrighted work as part of a publishing venture. Infringement takes place when any one of the rights is violated: where, for example, a printer reproduces copies without selling them or a retailer sells copies without having anything to do with their reproduction. The references to "copies or phonorecords," although in the plural, are intended here and throughout the bill to include the singular ( 1 U.S.C. § ). 1
Reproduction.-Read together with the relevant definitions in section 101, the right "to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords" means the right to produce a material object in which the work is duplicated, transcribed, imitated, or simulated in a fixed form from which it can be "perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." As under the present law, a copyrighted work would be infringed by reproducing it in whole or in any substantial part, and by duplicating it exactly or by imitation or simulation. Wide departures or variations from the copyrighted work would still be an infringement as long as the author's "expression" rather than merely the author's "ideas" are taken. An exception to this general principle, applicable to the reproduction of copyrighted sound recordings, is specified in section 114.