Commons:Copyright rules by territory/American Samoa

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Location of American Samoa

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Samoa.



Under the 1899 Tripartite Convention Germany and the United States partitioned the Samoan Islands. Germany took the larger islands to the west, now Samoa, while the United States took the smaller eastern island group, known as the Tutuila Islands in 1900 and officially Manu'a in 1904. The United States formally annexed the islands in 1902, and in 1911 renamed them American Samoa. American Samoa became self-governing under a constitution effective from 1 July 1967, but is on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.



American Samoa laws are subject to a constitution that became effective 17 October 1960.[1][2] A Constitutional Convention of American Samoa in Fagatogo begun on 26 September 1966 and approved several amendments.[3] These were approved in a referendum in the general elections in 1966, and became effective 1 July 1967.[4]

Of the organized territories, the United States Copyright Office says that: "U.S. federal copyright law applies in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands but not in American Samoa."[5] Title 27 of the American Samoa Consolidated Legislation - Code Annotated (ASCA), related to Commerce and Trade, prohibits import of export of Goods, merchandise or commodities that violate international or U.S. copyright or patent laws, but does not otherwise mention copyright law.[6]

As of 1993, American Samoa itself enacted no copyright laws. However, "because a copyright may be obtained by a person who is not a citizen of the U.S., but who is instead either "a national or domiciliary of the United States" (17 U.S.C. 104(b)(1)), United States copyright protection is available to Samoans in general... That protection, however, would not extend to the Samoan... author "at home" in Samoa... because the Federal law does not extend to... Samoa."[7] In other words, "The Federal copyright laws... do not apply within American Samoa..., but American Samoans can obtain copyright protection elsewhere in the United States".[8]

This means that American Samoans can register for copyright protection from the United States, however works created in American Samoa and that are not registered for United States copyright protection are possibly in the public domain.


{{PD-American Samoa}}



Further information: Commons:Copyright rules by territory/United States#CUR

Freedom of panorama



See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

May be similar to COM:FOP US.

The absence of copyright law applying to the territory means that photos that would be affected by freedom of panorama could be uploaded. However, as the copyright of any American Samoan architect living in the United States would be protected according to US federal law, realistically such photos would be protected similarly to American FOP.



Further information: Commons:Copyright rules by territory/United States#Stamps

See also



  1. Leibowitz, 1980, p. 254
  2. Leibowitz, 1989, p. 420
  3. Leibowitz, 1980, pp. 254-255
  4. Revised Constitution of American Samoa. International Labour Organization (ILO) (1967). Retrieved on 2020-03-23.
  5. Circular 38a: International Copyright Relations of the United States 14. U.S. Copyright Office. Retrieved on 2019-03-14.
  6. American Samoa Consolidated Legislation - Code Annotated (ASCA) : Commerce and Trade [Title 27]. Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute (2020). Retrieved on 2020-03-23.
  7. Extraterritoriality does not apply in copyright law.
  8. The application of Federal laws in ... American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands: by Dept. of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor., Washington, 1993, volume 2, p. 465-470


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