Language And Copyright

Ronald R. Butters

in The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199572120
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Language And Copyright


A copyright is one of four legally enforceable limitations on the general public's freedom of expression with respect to a wide variety of creative productions, legally termed ‘intellectual property’, including works of visual art, music, and language. The laws that govern intellectual property create specified, exclusive rights, which permit only specific individuals to use particular creations if those individuals can claim to have had a significant creative role in their origination; all other citizens are denied the specified uses, or, in some instances, have the right to use the material, but must pay to do so. As part of its focus on language and copyright, this article explores the legal aspects of copyright and considers other types of intellectual property. It then examines the scope of copyright protection and looks at, as well of the role of linguists with respect to, copyright infringement. The article concludes by presenting three court cases in which linguists have attempted to apply linguistic principles to copyright issues as expert consultants in litigated cases.

Keywords: language; copyright; intellectual property; copyright protection; linguists; court cases; copyright infringement

Article.  7024 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Forensic Linguistics

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