Law 633


Statutory Drafting Exercise #1

Due Thursday, January 25 at 5:00 pm

This assignment is mandatory but ungraded

(We will discuss the assignment in class on Monday, January 29)


       In Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands (supplement pp. 4-15), the Supreme Court construed the definitions of "pictorial, graphic and sculptural works" and "useful article" in 17 USC § 101 and the provisions of 17 USC §§ 102(a) and 113, to permit copyright protection for an artistic feature of the design of a useful article "if the feature (1) can be perceived as a two- or three-dimensional work of art separate from the useful article and (2) would qualify as a protectable pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work either on its own or in some other medium if imagined separately from the useful article." Critics have complained that, because it is possible to imagine any design feature separately from the article in which it is embodied, the test fails to draw a workable line between unprotectable, functional, industrial design and protectable works of art.

       Draft new and improved definitions of "pictorial, graphic and scultpural works" and "useful article" that will better enable courts to distinguish between copyrightable and uncopyrightable design elements. You should assume that the current text of sections 102(a) and 113 will remain unchanged. You may work alone or in teams of two, three, or four.

        Your amendment must reflect actual statutory language. Do not explain what it is you are trying to do -- the effect and intent of your amendment should be clear from the statutory language that you propose. You should anticipate that the language of your amendment may be both publicly performed and publicly displayed in class, and that one or more of your classmates will be asked to explain what your amendment will accomplish, and then criticize its weaknesses and praise its strengths.

        Do not include your name(s) anywhere on the assignment. Make up an arbitrary five-digit number for your amendment. Type the number at the top of the page. Save your assignment as a pdf file under a filename of your-five-digit-number.pdf. (If you have named your assignment 12345, your should save it as a pdf file under the name 12345.pdf.) Upload a copy of your pdf file as your answer to the Qualtrics survey question posted at Your upload will be anonymous. Print out a copy of your assignment and bring it with you to class on Monday, January 29. If you are working in a team, make sure that every member of the team brings a copy to Monday's class. You should each save another copy for your own reference.