The Legal Definition of Literary Works

The legal definition of literary works is broad and encompasses a wide range of creative expression. In general, a literary work is any work of authorship that is expressed in words, regardless of the medium in which it is fixed. This includes books, articles, poems, scripts, musical compositions, and computer software.

To be considered a literary work, the work must be original and creative. This means that it must be the product of the author’s own intellectual labor and not simply a copy of another work.

The legal definition of literary works is important because it determines the scope of copyright protection for these works. Copyright law protects original works of authorship from unauthorized copying, distribution, and other forms of exploitation. By defining literary works broadly, copyright law ensures that authors have strong legal protection for their creative works.

Here are some examples of literary works:

  • Books
  • Articles
  • Poems
  • Scripts
  • Musical compositions
  • Computer software
  • Letters
  • Diaries
  • Memoirs
  • Speeches
  • Translations
  • Adaptations
  • Compilations

Not all works of authorship are considered literary works. For example, works of pure facts, such as news articles and legal briefs, are not considered literary works. However, works that combine factual and creative elements, such as biographies and historical novels, may be considered literary works.

The legal definition of literary works is a complex and evolving area of law. As new forms of creative expression emerge, the law will need to adapt to ensure that these works are protected.

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