Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Laws (LLM)


While the United States requires fixation for an original work to be entitled to federal copyright protection, many other countries ignore such requirement. The difference could lead to partial copyright protection standards across jurisdictions over certain works that are not fixed. Examples of such works include extemporaneous speeches, lectures, improvisational performances, and contemporary arts that are transitory. Moreover, with today’s rapid development of arts and technologies, creative works can be presented via new media without being fixed in a traditional way. The examples include live streams of lectures and music performances, which have become part of the “new normal.” In order to tackle the issue of the necessity of fixation, this paper looks into a brief historical development of copyright law, followed by an overview of copyright legislations of civil law countries in which authors of unfixed works enjoy copyright protection. The research then examines American copyright law and its unsettled definition of fixation, which articulates how the fixation requirement could easily exclude a large quantity of creative work from copyright protection. Lastly, the paper studies the roles of registration and deposition as copyright formalities in the United States to see whether they serve the same functions as the fixation requirement does. As registration and deposition formalities can perform the fixation requirement’s tasks, in light of promoting useful arts and rewarding authors for their creativity regardless of the form of expression, the paper suggests fixation as a federal copyright prerequisite could be entirely discarded.