Copyright ≠ Confidential: Key to Tire Litigation & Wrongful Death Claims Reply

Copyrighted works that have been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office are not vested with the same confidential treatment as trade secrets because they are available to the tirepublic.  Each time a person or entity registers an original work with the U.S. Copyright Office, a copy of the work that the applicant wishes to register is submitted along with their application.  This submitted copy of a published, literary work (which is called a deposit copy) is often made available to the public via the Library of Congress and a national network of libraries.

The fact that copyrighted materials are public records and not confidential is a basic principle of U.S. Copyright Law.  This basic principle of copyright law may create big changes to tire litigation and the evaluation of wrongful death claims related to faulty tires.  To date courts have routinely held copyrighted reports containing data on tire safety is inadmissible in tire litigation because, the reports contain trade secrets and are thereby confidential.  However, it seems that the copyright notice on the reports and their availability (upon request) to the public in the stacks at the Library of Congress and other libraries has been routinely overlooked.

Proper application of copyright law in tire litigation could alter the evaluation, treatment and admissibility of copyrighted reports containing data on tire safety.  As a result, copyright law has the potential to impact public safety.

For more information on this topic, See the article titled “The Tire Industry’s Abuse of Copyright Claims and the Corresponding Defenses of Copyright Misuse and Fair Use of Smithers Documents” co-authored by me and my uncle, Bruce Kaster Esq.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

See also: a full bio of Mr. Bruce Kaster who has extensive litigation experience against major tire manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers, including Bridgestone, Firestone, Goodyear, Continental General, Cooper Tire, Ford Motor Company and others at and a copy of our article and other resources at; @iplegalfreebies and



Cooking up Copyright – (cookbooks and recipes) 3

FACT: A recipe is not copyrightable

FACT: A cookbook is copyrightable

What does this mean?  It means that while a recipe itself (ie the mere listing of ingredients) is not protectable by copyright, other original elements embodied in a cookbook can be protected by copyright registration.  For example: the selection of recipes, layout, descriptions, illustrations, cover artwork, explanations and accompanying text are all elements of a cookbook that can be protected by copyright registration.

Most cookbooks contain a substantial amount of content that can be protected by copyright, even though the actual listing of ingredients is not copyrightable.

IN SUMMARY: register cookbooks for copyright protection… and keep secret ingredients…secret.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

for more from the US Copyright Office on recipes and cookbooks –>  and for more on how to register your cookbook for copyright registration for $35 –> and

If your work is a SECRET, Copyright Registration may not be the best option for you. Reply

There are lots of benefits to Copyright Registration with the US Copyright Office; however, keeping your work a secret is generally not one of them.  Part of the process for registering a work for copyright protection is submitting a deposit copy of the work (newsletter, photo, document, manuscript) to the US Copyright Office.  These deposit copies are generally available to the public at the Library of Congress and can be copied with the assistance of staff members.

What does this mean?  If your work product contains secret information that you do not want to disclose, then do not register the work for copyright protection until you are ready to disclose it.  (An exception is made for computer programs… see below)  However, even if you do not register a work for copyright registration to protect secret information contained in the work… using a copyright registration notice on any copies of your work product that you distribute is smart.  [Remember that a copyright notice can be used even if you do not register your work with the US Copyright Office… and using a copyright notice gives you extra rights in your work if it is misappropriated.]  A sample copyright notice is: © 2011 Your Name.  All rights reserved.

One important exception to this deposit copy rule is made for computer programs.   When a computer program is registered for copyright protection only a small portion of the source code is submitted as a deposit copy and any trade secret material can be blocked out.

For more info on:


BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.