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Literary Works

Literary WorksMention copyrightable works and you probably think of literary works. By far the most frequently protected of the eight categories of “works of authorship” protected by United States copyright law are literary works. Generally, a literary work is what it sounds like: a novel, screenplay, or fictional story. But copyright law also protects computer software, literary characters, and documentaries depicting historical events, subject to some limitations.

Depictions of historical and factual events in literary works are protected under copyright law, but only to the original elements of the work. For…

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  • Copyright
  • Jul 01, 2015

When Can You Copyright a Work?


Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.  

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  • Copyright , Video
  • Jun 24, 2015

What May Be Copyrighted?

What May Be CopyrightedThere are two underlying requirements for a work to be protected by United States copyright law. The work must be (1) Original, and it must be (2) Fixed.

Fixation has its own three requirements. First, the work must be embodied in a copy or phonorecord. An example of this would be a printed photograph or a digital record of a song. Second, a work must be fixed by the authority of the author (e.g., actually snapping the photograph). Finally, the work must be permanently fixed for…

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  • Copyright , Copyright Infringement
  • Jun 17, 2015

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