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Letter: Telephone taping

Sir: Mr Varcoe-Cocks (Letters, 4 September) is correct that copyright may exist in a sound recording. However, that copyright is owned not by the person whose words are recorded, but by the person who made the recording. So copyright cannot be used by the former to try to prevent his or her words being published.

The speaker's words themselves will attract copyright only if they constitute a literary work. Although literary merit plays no part, it is necessary that the creation of the work involved the exercise of skill, judgement, effort or labour. A carefully drafted, though unscripted, speech might qualify, but not a casual telephone conversation.

Yours faithfully,


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