Protection Coverage

What types of creative work does copyright protect?

  • original -- independently created by the author.
  • creative -- some creative effort by the author
  • "fixed in a tangible medium of expression" - exists in some physical form for at least some period of time, no matter how brief.
  • For example: novels, poetry, essays, written musings, doodles, movies, CD-ROMs, video games, videos, plays, paintings, sheet music, recorded music performances, software code, sculptures, photographs, choreography, and architectural designs.

What is not protected by copyright?

  • Ideas. e.g., Copyright may protect a particular song, novel or computer game about a particular character conquering specifically depicted evildoers on a distant planet, but it cannot protect the underlying idea of good guys battling bad guys in space.
  • Facts. Any facts that an author discovers in the course of research are in the public domain, free to all. Facts are not protected even if the author spends considerable time and effort discovering things that were previously unknown, although certain compilations of facts, if original in form or idea, may be protected.

What else is not protected by copyright?

  • Works in the public domain, which include: works for which the copyright has expired;
  • works for which the copyright was lost;
  • works produced by a federal government employee produced within the scope of his/her employment;
  • works clearly and explicitly donated to the public domain;
  • works which lack sufficient originality to qualify for copyright such as standard calendars, standard ht./wt. charts, rulers, etc.