Computer Software Rental Amendments Act of 1990 Law and Legal Definition

Computer Software Rental Amendments Act of 1990 is a U.S. federal statute signed into law by President Bush on December 1, 1990. The statute prohibits computer-program purchasers from leasing, renting, or lending the software for commercial gain. The Act grants the copyright owners of computer programs a newly created "rental right," thereby creating an exception to the "first sale doctrine." The first sale doctrine, codified in section 109 of the 1976 Copyright Act, limits the copyright owner's exclusive right of distribution by allowing the owner of a particular lawfully made copy of a work, or any person authorized by that owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of possession of that copy without authority of the copyright owner. The Act also includes a special provision permitting nonprofit libraries to lend computer programs for nonprofit purposes, if the packaging contains a prescribed warning of copyright. Further, it requires the Register of Copyrights to make a three-year study and prepare a report on the extent to which the exemption for nonprofit libraries "has achieved its intended purpose of maintaining the integrity of the copyright system while providing nonprofit libraries the capability to fulfill their function," including any information or recommendations the Register considers necessary to carry out the purposes.