Mazer v. Stein
347 U.S. 201 (1954)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201 (1954)

Mazer v. Stein

No. 228

Argued December 3, 1953

Decided March 8, 1954

347 U.S. 201

Syllabus

Respondents are engaged in the manufacture and sale of electric lamps. One of the respondents created original works of sculpture, from the models of which china statuettes were made. The statuettes were used as bases for fully equipped electric lamps, which respondents sold. Respondents submitted the statuettes, without any lamp components added, for registration under the copyright law as "works of art" or reproductions thereof.

Held: the statuettes were copyrightable. Pp. 347 U. S. 202-219.

(a) The successive Copyright Acts, the legislative history of the 1909 Act, and the practice of the Copyright Office show that "works of art" and "reproductions of works of art" were intended by Congress to include the authority to copyright such statuettes. Pp. 347 U. S. 208-214.

(b) That the statuettes, fitted as lamps or unfitted, may be patentable does not bar their copyright as works of art. Pp. 347 U. S. 215-217.

(c) The intended or actual use in industry of an article eligible for copyright does not bar or invalidate its registration. P. 347 U. S. 218.

(d) The subsequent registration of a work of art published as an element in a manufactured article is not a misuse of the copyright. Pp. 347 U. S. 218-219.

204 F.2d 472 affirmed.

Respondents sued petitioners for copyright infringement, and the District Court dismissed the complaint. 111 F.Supp. 359. The Court of Appeals reversed. 204 F.2d 472. This Court granted certiorari. 346 U.S. 811. Affirmed, p. 347 U. S. 219.

Page 347 U. S. 202

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