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Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress

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Citation Edit

Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress Int'l, 241 F.3d 398 (5th Cir. 2001) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

Without the defendant's permission, plaintiff posted defendant's copyrighted model building codes on plaintiff's nonprofit website.

Appellate Court Proceedings Edit

The court held that an unauthorized posting of copyrighted "model codes" for municipalities and localities infringed on the owner's reproduction and publication rights.

Plaintiff asserted that copyright protection was not warranted after some of the towns enacted the model codes into law. The court held that defendant's codes did not enter the public domain merely by being enacted into law, and no due process or policy concerns excused plaintiff's infringement.

Regarding the plaintiff's fair use argument, the court noted that when "use of a copyrighted work is noncommercial, defeating a fair use defense requires 'proof either than the particular use is harmful, or that if it should become widespread, it would adversely affect the potential market for the copyrighted work."[1] The potential harm to the defendant precluded plaintiff's asserted noncommercial fair use of the copyrighted codes, since the "posting of the codes on the Internet could prove harmful by reducing the defendant's market and depriving it of income used in its socially valuable effort of promulgating and revising model codes.[2]

References Edit

  1. 241 F.3d 410, quoting Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 451 (1984)(full-text).
  2. Id.

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