Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Evan Brown


To qualify for copyright protection under the current Copyright Act, a work must, inter alia, be fixed in a tangible medium of expression. This requirement is easily met when a work is embodied in a historical medium of mass expression like a printed book, photograph, or audio recording. However, when an author departs from such established media of fixation, the requirement can create a more significant barrier to copyrightability. Three decades ago, digital media provided one such challenge. Today, authors and lawyers alike are pushing the conceptual boundaries of communicative media, and this has led to some controversial recent judicial decisions on fixation. This Article contextualizes and explores the implications of those decisions. It also points out some of the practical and conceptual pitfalls that lawyers and courts may encounter in similar cases as the limits of fixation are further tested.

First Page