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Archived updates for Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Copyright Seperability in the 7th Circuit

In concluding that a mannequin head is subject to copyright protection, the 7th Circuit noted in Pivot Point Int'l v. Charlene Prods (June 2004) that conceptual separability exists when the artistic aspects of an article can be “conceptualized as existing independently of their utilitarian function.� This independence is necessarily informed by “whether the design elements can be identified as reflecting the designer’s artistic judgment exercised independently of functional influences.� If the elements do reflect the independent, artistic judgment of the designer, conceptual separability exists. Conversely, when the design of a useful article is “as much the result of utilitarian pressures as aesthetic choices,� the useful and aesthetic elements are not conceptually separable.
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