September 17, 1996 / Fall 1996 / Law/Ethics

What Does Copyright Protect?

Written by Idea File Staff

* Literary works
* Sound recordings
* Works of art
* Musical compositions
* Computer programs
* Architectural works

Requirements for Protection
First, the work must be original. This means that the author must have shown at least a small spark of creativity when he made the work. For example, your school’s cheerleading squad could not claim the copyright to a cheer that has been used by other schools, even if they changed words to reflect your team and school name. Second, the work must be “fixed in any tangible medium of expression.” This “fixation” requirement means that only works preserved in a tangible form (a book, a newspaper, a video, a CD-ROM disk, etc.) – as opposed to those existing entirely in an artist’s mind – will receive copyright protection.

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.