The Trade Secrets of Intellectual Property: Don't Copy This*: The Copyright De Minimus Defense P 1

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Copyright De Minimis Defense

Part 1

The topic of “de minimis" copying is particularly interesting and somewhat ironic, as seen in the following threshold question:

When is copying someone’s work not actually “copying"?

What is de minimis use?


The law is fond of Latin phrases, and de minimis is no exception.

De minimis is a shortened version of the phrase “de minimis non curat lex" which translated means “the law does not concern itself with trifles."

When applied to copyright law, de minimis basically means that courts are not going to concern themselves with trivial copying. Let’s look at some real-life examples

Additional Resources

The Trade Secrets of Intellectual Property: Don't Copy This*

Copyright Enforcement Program

McCormack Legal by Attorney Timothy B. McCormack

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