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 public. 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 www.tirefailures.com and a copy of our article and other resources at www.tirefailures.com/helpful-resourses.html; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.