Skip to main content
CRM 1500-1999

1855. Protection Of Copyright Notices -- 17 U.S.C. § 506(c) And 506(d)

Although it is not a formal prerequisite to receiving protection under the law of copyright, many copyrighted works (particularly commercially marketable works likely to require the protection of the criminal statutes) bear a prescribed form of notice. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 401, 402. Title 17 contains several specialized criminal statutes designed to protect the integrity of these copyright notices. 17 U.S.C. §§ 506(c), (d).

Section 506(c) of Title 17 prohibits three distinct acts: (1) placing a false notice of copyright on an article; (2) publicly distributing articles which bear a false copyright notice; and (3) importing for public distribution articles which bear a false copyright notice. Any of these acts, if committed "with fraudulent intent," violate 17 U.S.C. § 506(c). Section 506(d) of Title 17 prohibits the removal or alteration of a notice of copyright from a copy of a copyrighted work, again, if performed "with fraudulent intent." Violations of §§ 506(c) and 506(d) are each punishable by a fine of up to $2,500. No private right of action exists under either of these provisions.

[cited in JM 9-71.001]