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Section 102(a) of the 1976 Copyright Act provides that copyright protects original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Copyrightable works include the following categories:
- literary works
- musical works, including any accompanying words
- dramatic works, including any accompanying music
- pantomimes and choreographic works
- pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
- motion pictures and other audiovisual works
- sound recordings, and
- architectural works.
This list "sets out the general area of copyrightable subject matter, but with sufficient flexibility to free the courts from rigid or outmoded concepts of the scope of particular categories."
- ↑ H.R. Rep. 94-1476, at 53, reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5666.