17 U.S. Code § 602. Infringing importation or exportation of copies or phonorecords
Section 602(a) first states the general rule that unauthorized importation is an infringement merely if the copies or phonorecords “have been acquired outside the United States”, but then enumerates three specific exceptions: (1) importation under the authority or for the use of a governmental body, but not including material for use in schools or copies of an audiovisual work imported for any purpose other than archival use; (2) importation for the private use of the importer of no more than one copy or phonorecord of a work at a time, or of articles in the personal baggage of travelers from abroad; or (3) importation by nonprofit organizations “operated for scholarly, educational, or religious purposes” of “no more than one copy of an audiovisual work solely for archival purposes, and no more than five copies or phonorecords of any other work for its library lending or archival purposes.” The bill specifies that the third exception does not apply if the importation “is part of an activity consisting of systematic reproduction or distribution, engaged in by such organization in violation of the provisions of section 108(g)(2).”
If none of the three exemptions applies, any unauthorized importer of copies or phonorecords acquired abroad could be sued for damages and enjoined from making any use of them, even before any public distribution in this country has taken place.
2010—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 111–295 struck out “unless the provisions of section 601 are applicable” after “prevent their importation” in second sentence.
2008—Pub. L. 110–403, § 105(c)(1)(A), inserted “or exportation” after “importation” in section catchline.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 110–403, § 105(b), inserted heading, designated introductory provisions as par. (1), struck out “This subsection does not apply to—” at end in par. (1), added par. (2) and par. (3) designation, heading, and introductory provisions, redesignated former pars. (1) to (3) as subpars. (A) to (C) of par. (3), respectively, and realigned margins, inserted “or exportation” after “importation” in par. (3)(A), and substituted “importation or exportation, for the private use of the importer or exporter” for “importation, for the private use of the importer” and inserted “or departing from the United States” after “United States” in par. (3)(B).
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 110–403, § 105(c)(1)(B), inserted heading and substituted “United States Customs and Border Protection has” for “the United States Customs Service has” and “United States Customs and Border Protection of” for “the Customs Service of”.