Sadie Zurfluh


One of the problems courts are faced with today is determining what happens with unpublished works registered under the 1909 Act: can only the sheet music filed with the deposit copy come into evidence when comparing two works as substantially similar? In 2015, the district court in Williams v. Gaye addressed the issue; however, the Ninth Circuit declined to decide the issue on appeal.8 Later in 2018, in Skidmore v. Zeppelin (“Skidmore”), the Ninth Circuit concluded that when dealing with unpublished works under the 1909 Act, the deposit copy defines the scope of the copyright. Part I of this comment is an overview of the deposit copy requirement under the 1909 Act. Part II will address what constitutes a deposit copy. Part III will address the repercussions of Skidmore and how the Ninth Circuit was incorrect in holding that the scope of a copyright comes simply from the deposit copy rather than the entire musical work.