Chapter 2

What Is Copyright?


The Constitution of the United States gives Congress power to pass laws in order to encourage authors to create works. The encouragement comes in the form of exclusive rights to their writings for a limited time. Those rights are defined in the Copyright Act. There are only two key requirements to qualify as writings covered by copyright law: fixation and original and creative expression.


The work must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Expressions come in different forms. They can be words contained in an article or a book; images preserved in photographs or film; sounds secured on sheet music, audiotapes, or CDs; or code stored on computer disks or hard drives. Rules defining how a work is fixed ...

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