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The Copyright Act grants to authors the exclusive right to distribute copies of their work, 17 U.S.C. §106(3), but limits that right by distinguishing between:

  • ownership of a copyright (the bundle of exclusive rights granted to an author) and
  • ownership of a copy (the tangible material in which a work is fixed), 17 U.S.C. §202.

The Copyright Act extinguishes the copyright owner’s distribution right upon the first sale of each copy, (17 U.S.C. §109).

No copyright exists in government works, nor in facts or data.

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