"Bring Zenas the Lawyer..."
- Titus 3:13

The Apostle Paul needed a lawyer. If you need a lawyer, contact us today.

  • Wrongful foreclosure?
  • Intellectual property question?
  • Need help filing a patent?
  • Trademark or copyright protection?

Learn more about what we do.

What Can and Can’t Be Copyrighted

A copyright is defined as “a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” Basically, a copyright gives the content originator the sole right to print, publish, perform, film, or record their material. Copyrights can be granted for both published and unpublished works that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. Some professions that most commonly utilize copyrights include writers, musicians, and artists.

What Can Be Copyrighted

In order to copyright something, three elements must be present: fixation, originality, and expression. Fixation means that a creative idea must be in a permanent state, like written on paper or recorded on tape. The expression refers to the concept that an idea itself cannot be copyrighted, but the expression of an idea can. Basically, a movie can be copyrighted, but the idea behind the movie is not eligible for copyright. Lastly, the piece of work must meet a certain level of originality in order to be eligible for a copyright. Copyrights can apply to a wide range of things, including:

  • Literary works
  • Musical work
  • Dramatic work
  • Pantomime and choreographic work
  • Pictorial, graphic and sculptural work
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual work
  • Sounds recordings
  • Architectural work

What Cannot be Copyrighted

There are, however, many things that cannot be protected by a copyright. This includes any work that has not been fixed in a tangible form, or is not considered original. Some further examples of things that cannot be considered for a copyright include:

  • Information that is commonly known
  • Lists of ingredients, such as formulas and recipes
  • An idea for a novel, book, or movie
  • Business, organization, or group names
  • Domain names
  • An individual’s pseudonym, like a pen or stage name
  • Slogans, catch phrases, and mottoes
  • Laws, including cases, constitutions, court decisions, regulations, and statutes

Contact a Copyright Attorney

If you are considering filing for a copyright, it is wise to consult with a copyright attorney who can help you through the process. The lawyers at Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. will be able to help you with any issue regarding copyrights, whether it involves registering your work, or infringement litigation. If you have any questions about the copyright act, the benefits of copyright registration, or infringement, do not hesitate to contact us. To speak with an experienced copyright lawyer, contact our offices today by calling (214) 824-1414.