What Can Be Copyrighted?

The definition of Copyright in a dictionary
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Copyrights protect the "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. A tangible form does not need to be directly perceptible if it can be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. For example, you need a movie projector to see a film.

Copyrightable Works Include the Following Categories

  • literary works
  • musical works, including any accompanying words
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • pantomimes and choreographic works
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • sound recordings
  • architectural works

These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most "compilations" may be registered as "literary works"; maps and architectural plans may be registered as "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works."