Letter: Literary tapes

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The Independent Online
Sir: David Zeffman's little joke about the 'Dianagate' tapes not being protected by copyright, as they would not pass the required test of 'literary merit', may be amusing (letter, 2 September), but he is wrong. 'Sound recordings' are protected by copyright and the definitions include 'a recording of sounds, from which the sounds may be reproduced' and 'a recording of . . . a literary . . . work, from which sounds reproducing (it) may be produced'.

The first of these covers taped telephone conversations, but even the second definition could apply to such conversations, as the test is not whether the material has literary merit, but merely whether or not it is a literary work.

Luckily for many authors, literary style or merit is of no relevance in law to deciding whether material is a 'literary work', otherwise an enormous number of 'literary works' would have no copyright protection at all.

Yours faithfully,

MICHAEL D. VARCOE-COCKS

London, W6

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