Spoken Words and Copyright Subsistence in Anglo-American Law
40 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2001
This article considers the necessity and desirability of reduction to material form (ie. fixation) as a requirement for subsistence of copyright in spoken words. It examines how this aspect of copyright law has evolved in the United Kingdom from before the Statue of Anne until the present day, and compares this with the law which applies in the United States. It argues that there is nothing inherent in the underlying objectives of copyright law which makes a material form requirement a necessary precondition for copyright subsistence. Indeed, the material form requirement, at least as it applies in relation to spoken words, may lead to outcomes inconsistent with copyright law's objectives. It is concluded that the law ought recognise the potential for copyright to subsist in any perceptible expression emanating from the intellect of a person and intended to appeal to the aesthetic sense or intellect of others, regardless of the expression's materiality.
Keywords: copyright, law, spoken word
JEL Classification: K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation