- What can be copyrighted?
- March 9, 2017
- Law Firm: Law Offices of Roland Tong - Irvine Office
- Copyright is governed under federal law and gives authors the right to control the use of their works for a limited period of time. In order to be copyrighted, the work must be an original work of authorship, which is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright protection is available to both published and unpublished works.
Copyrightable works include the following categories:
- literary works;
- musical works, including accompanying words;
- dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
- chorographical works;
- pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
- motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
- sound recordings; and
- architectural works.
Generally, several categories of material are not eligible for copyright protections, however other types of intellectual property may be applicable. Some of these include:
- titles, names, short phrases, and slogans (e.g. the Nike slogan "Just do it");
- familiar symbols or designs;
- ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, discoveries, or devices (e.g. the list of ingredients for recipes);
- facts, news, and research (e.g. calendars, rulers); and
- works that have not been fixed in a tangible medium of expression.