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Gemmill In a major decision, Feist Publications, Inc. v. ,76 the Supreme Court in 1991 explicitly and uncategorically repudiated the ―sweat of the brow‖ theory as inconsistent with fundamental principles of copyright (as manifested both in the Constitution and the statute) and with the specific definition of ―compilation‖ in the 1976 Act. ‖ Although the Court acknowledged that ―the requisite level of creativity is extremely low‖ and that ―even a small amount will suffice,‖ it concluded that white-page telephone directories fail to satisfy this test.

Moreover, Congress in the 1976 Act preserved the renewal format, with some modifications to be explored immediately below, for works first published between 1950 and 1977 (during the life of the 1909 Act) so that they still have fallen within that format as they have reached the twenty-eighth year thereafter (between 1978 and 2005). A discussion of the renewal format is followed by a discussion of the term of copyright under the 1976 Act and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (named for the late popular singer and congressman).

A ―compilation‖ results from a process of selecting, bringing together, organizing, and arranging previously existing material of all kinds, regardless of whether the individual items in the material have been or ever could have been subject to copyright. 73 Because copyright protection turns upon original creation, copyright in a compilation or derivative work attaches—as noted just above—only to those original contributions made by the compiler or by the creator of the derivative work. Section 103(b) of the Copyright Act provides: Copyright Law: Second Edition 21 The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material.

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