Hank is a motivational speaker. When he makes his presentations, Hank speaks impromptu, without notes or any other advance preparation. He recently accepted an invitation by Acme Community College to speak at two functions there.
At one of his appearances, Hank's speech is preserved in an audio recording. At the other appearance, his speech is not recorded in any way.
Is either of Hank's speeches a copyrightable work?
Yes. The sound recording of Hank's speech is an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression . . . namely, the audio preservation. Since the other appearance was not recorded in any way, and therefore not fixed in any sort of tangible medium of expression, it is not a copyrightable work.
The copyright in a sound recording includes the exclusive right to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission, such as the transmission of a song over the Internet. Keep in mind also that copyright covers works in both traditional and new media, including digital media.
Federal law prohibits the circumvention of copyright protection systems. Circumvention of a copyright protection system means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure without the authority of the copyright owner.
Moreover, digitizing a work may be an infringement. A user should not digitize a copyrighted work unless the user has specific permission to do so or the user believes digitization fits within fair use (which will be discussed later in this tutorial). Permission to use or copy the work may not include the right to digitize the work. It is advisable, then, to see if a digital copy of a particular work is available for a reasonable fee. If so, the user should purchase or license the digital copy rather than digitizing the analog or paper version.
Page Updated 11/18/04