Sunday, 14 July 2024, 4:32 AM
Site: EIFL Virtual Learning Environment
Course: Copyright For Librarians (CFL)
Glossary: Glossary

Tangible Medium

The physical form that a copyrighted work may take.

U.S copyright law requires that a creative work be fixed in a “tangible medium” before it qualifies for copyright, in contrast with the law of some other countries, which confer copyright at the moment of conception.

The tangibility requirement has led to some problems with protection for types of works that are not normally “fixed”, such as dance, stand-up comedy, live musical performances, and more. It has also been the subject of much discussion with respect to computers, computer displays and computer memory, in terms of when a program or a program’s output is “fixed” or not. Some of these issues have been addressed with targeted legislation.

See also:

  • Fixation

Other resources:

TPM – Technological Protection Measures

Technological protection measures, or “TPM” are security measures added to digital technology and content by content providers in order to restrict and control access, and exert greater control over the uses of the content they sell.

TPM is a broader term than “DRM", which really refers only to software-encoded protections. TPM is potentially both software and hardware based. Measures could include requiring passwords, filtering software, censor chips in computers, monitoring/ surveillance technology, (semi-)autonomous software tools and more. Regionally coded DVDs and DVD players are one example of a TPM. Other examples are Microsoft’s “Trusted Computing” and the “feature” of Apple’s iTunes that permits users to transfer a song to only five different computers.

While ostensibly aimed only at infringing users, TPM techniques often have negative impact on legitimate users, both with respect to legal uses and to privacy concerns. However, under at least U.S. law, it is illegal both to circumvent any technological protection measure and to possess anything that makes circumvention possible. The potentially sweeping nature of TPMs has led some to argue that TPMs make it possible for a rights-holder to not only enforce their copyright, but to exert control over a work that exceeds the limits of what copyright law permits.

See also:

  • DRM

Other resources:

Transferability (of rights)

The feature of copyrights that makes it possible for one rightsholder to transfer ownership of the rights to another person.

One of the basic characteristics of property is that it can be transferred to others, whether by sale, gift, or something else. Copyrights are no different. While a creator initially holds copyright in his or her creative work, those rights can be transferred to another person or entity, who can then transfer them again, etc. For example, recording artists frequently transfer the copyright in their songs to a records company. Michael Jackson famously owned the rights to all of the Beatles’ music.

The various rights that “copyright” subsumes can be transferred as a block, but more often are transferred or sold one at a time, some times to different people.


The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

TRIPS is an international agreement on property rights that came into effect in 1995.

The World Trade Organization’s website describes TRIPS as “to date, the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property.” and states that:

“The areas of intellectual property that it covers are: copyright and related rights (i.e. the rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations); trademarks including service marks; geographical indications including appellations of origin; industrial designs; patents including the protection of new varieties of plants; the layout-designs of integrated circuits; and undisclosed information including trade secrets and test data.”

The three main features of TRIPS are its sections on standards, enforcement, and dispute settlement. In a way, it is an umbrella agreement, since it requires that its participants agree to and uphold the tenets of several other agreements, treaties and conventions. These are the main conventions of the WIPO, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic in their most recent versions.

See also:

  • Berne Convention
  • WIPO

Other resources: