What is protected by copyright?

Copyright protects ideas in their expressed forms (e.g., words and illustrations). Ideas alone are not covered. Works that are protected by copyright include novels, computer programs, plays, sheet music, and paintings, among others. Generally, the author of a copyrighted work has the right to reproduce, publish, perform, communicate and adapt their work. These exclusive rights form the bundle of rights that we call 'copyright,' which gives owners the right to control the commercial exploitation of their work.

The following may be protected under copyright law:

  • Literary works (e.g., written works, source codes of computer programs)
  • Dramatic works (e.g.,. scripts for films and dramas)
  • Musical works (e.g., melodies)
  • Artistic works (e.g., paintings, photographs)
  • Published editions of the above works
  • Sound recordings
  • Films
  • Television and radio broadcasts
  • Cable programs
  • Performances

What is not protected by copyright?

  • Ideas or concepts
  • Discoveries
  • Procedures
  • Methods
  • Works or other subject matter that has not to be made in a tangible form in a recording or writing
    Subject matter that is not of original authorship
  • Copyright and registered designs

When an artistic work, such as a drawing or a sculpture, is applied to a product and industrially produced (i.e., more than 50 copies of the products are made), copyright protection will no longer cover that artistic work. It may be protected as a registered design under the Registered Designs Act if the registration criteria are met.

If you have further copyright questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing

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