A common question that I get from digital entrepreneurs and creatives alike is “what can you copyright?” This is a great question, and something that all business owners should be thinking about in order to protect their businesses. Copyright law and protection is a key in ensuring your intellectual property benefits your business, not someone else’s. Here are 50 types of works that can be copyrighted.
Can you copyright an idea?
One thing that cannot be copyrighted is an idea. General ideas and concepts are not protected under copyright law. Copyright only protects original works fixed in a tangible form or medium. An idea, inherently, is not fixed in a tangible medium, and thus cannot be protected. That’s why you see the same movie over and over (boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, they have a fight, boy goes after the girl and live happily ever after). But once an idea is fixed in a tangible form or medium (e.g. a specific script or treatment or book) then copyright protection applies.
What Can You Copyright? 50 Types of Works Copyright Law Protects
- Books: fiction or nonfiction can both be protected
- Song lyrics
- Sound recordings: think the whole song versus just the lyrics.
- Blog posts
- Graphic designs
- Your signature course: You can protect both the written course materials but also other materials like videos or audio may also be protected.
- Choreographed dance routines: Note that individual dance moves are not protected by copyright. It has to be longer routines, not singular moves.
- Scripts or treatments
- Speeches: If they are fixed in a tangible form or medium, like recorded or written down
- Podcast episodes
- Architectural works
- Television shows
- Fabric designs
- Jewelry designs
- Landing pages and sales materials: You can protect your sales materials for that course or product
- Facebook or Instagram Lives
- Fonts: Typefaces are not protected by copyright, but fonts may be protected by copyright as long as they are computer software or programs
- Album cover art
- Video games
- Online and print magazines: Periodicals get protection potentially individually and as a series.
- Newsletters: Those business newsletters your send out are protected!
- Manuscript: Writing your favorite book? You can get protection of your manuscript.
- Documentaries or docu-series
- Academic Essays
- 3-D Artwork
- Product packaging/labels
- Book cover
- Brochures and pamphlets
- Handouts and worksheets
- Favicon graphics
Works Copyright Law Protects
There are so many types of works that copyright law protects, as you can see above. This list isn’t exhaustive but it gives a pretty comprehensive look at things that you could—and should—be protecting via copyright. And the best way to do that is to make sure you are regularly registering your works. This is the best way to ensure that you can protect your works if they are infringed upon, as I detail in this post.
And, of course, Hughley Smith Law can help you with that. We have a couple of options: You can enroll in the DIY (or DWY Done With You) Copy It Right! Copyright Course, or you can retain Hughley Smith Law to assist you with protecting your intellectual property catalog. Click here to schedule a consultation!
*Nothing in this article shall be construed as legal advice, and is merely information. Nothing in this post creates an attorney-client relationship with Tyra Hughley Smith or Hughley Smith Law.