Would it lead to copyright protection if one were to record someone's speech, a speech in which the most half-baked ideas are advanced with such conviction that the general public takes them seriously?

What about a speech that someone worked so hard to give? Does that not fall under the 'expression' category?

Also, does recording a speech not constitute copyright at all?

1 Answer 1


When a speech is recorded, it has been "fixed in a tangible form" and would, if it were original, be protected by copyright. The sense or foolishness of the ideas in the speech, the degree to which people would or would not be persuaded by them, and the amount of work the speaker put into the speech are all irrelevant to whether the speech is copyrighted.

If no one had recorded the speech, and the speaker had not written it down or in some other way made a physical record of it outside his or her own mind, then it would not be protected by copyright.

The ideas in the speech would not be protected by copyright, but the particular expression used to express those words would be. That is, the sequence of words, the sentences, paragraphs, and so on would be protected.

For example Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I have a Dream" speech is protected by copyright (and his estate enforces that copyright strongly), although the idea of a world without racism or prejudice is not protected, and has been expressed by others in other ways at other times.

See Is a work copyrighted on fixation or publication? What's the difference? How is it proved?

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