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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Infringement

Volume 4 . Chapter 9 . § 9-05.08
Key point 9-05.08. Copyright infringement occurs when one violates any one or more of the exclusive rights of a copyright owner.

Section 501 of the Copyright Act states that "anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner … is an infringer of the copyright." Of the five exclusive rights, the one causing the most difficulties for churches is the copyright owner's exclusive right to reproduce the work (i.e., make copies). Obviously, an infringement occurs when someone makes a verbatim copy of copyrighted material. But what if someone produces a work that is similar but not identical to another's copyrighted work? Can this constitute infringement on the copyright owner's exclusive right of reproduction?

The courts ...

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