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Linda E. Plowman, Tell Me Something Interesting About Copyright Law.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | January 26, 2010

Posted by Cliff Tuttle (c) 2010

Linda E. Plowman is a Pittsburgh lawyer with a background in entertainment law, intellectual property law and advertising.  Here’s what she had to say about copyright law.

PLBT: Linda E. Plowman, tell me something interesting about copyright law.

LEP:  Most people don’t realize that once they create an original work of authorship and it is “fixed” (written down, recorded, on a computer for more than a “transitory duration”, etc.), it is immediately protected by copyright law.

PLBT:  Really, don’t you have to publish it in some way?

LEP:  Not anymore. There is no longer a publication requirement. The story doesn’t end there, but essentially this is a major development in what is required for copyright protection, first enacted in the Copyright Act of 1976, effective 1/1/78.

PLBT: Copyright law in America has existed a lot longer than that, hasn’t it?

LEP:  Oh yes, it originated – thanks to our forefathers’ foresight – in the U.S. Constitution, Article 1 Section 8 Clause 8.

PLBT:  What then, are the basic requirements for the Federal Copyright Law to apply?

LEP:  For a quick rule of thumb, think of this equation:
ORIGINAL (attributable to an author)
+ WORK OF AUTHORSHIP (falls into one of ~8 categories of works protectable by federal copyright law)
+ FIXED IN A TANGIBLE MEDIUM OF EXPRESSION (written, painted, embedded, recorded, on a computer screen for a period of ‘more than transitory duration’)


This conversation with Attorney Linda E. Plowman on copyright law will pick up in another post, when she will continue to tell us something interesting.


CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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