Copyright is just one form of protecting intellectual property. Patents and trademarks
also offer protection for different types of intellectual property. Copyright only
applies to qualifying works of original authorship. Here are some examples of things
that copyright protection does not apply to.
Can I copyright a business name?
The name of your business is not a work of authorship and cannot be protected by
Can I copyright a song or book title?
Like a business name, a title cannot be protected by copyright. Whether for a song,
movie or book, titles are not eligible for copyright protection.
Can I copyright a t-shirt design?
A design may be eligible for protection if it includes work of original authorship.
If the design is primarily just text or a short phrase then the design will not
be eligible for copyright protection. For more information, see our page on
Can I copyright an idea for a script (or novel, or film)?
Copyright applies to works of original authorship in tangible form. If all you have
is a general idea then no, copyright protection won’t apply. If you type up your
idea into an outline you can copyright the outline. You cannot, however, protect
the rights to the final work (the one you have the idea for) until you affix that
work in tangible form, by writing the script or novel or by creating the film.
Can I copyright my logo?
Some logos qualify for copyright protection, while others do not. The difference
is whether or not the logo contains a substantial element of original authorship,
and is not simply an arrangement of letters. For more information on copyrighting
logos, including examples, see our logo copyright
Can I copyright a website?
A website can be made up of many different things. Many components of a website
do qualify for copyright protection, but some do not.
Yes, you can copyright the design of the website as long as it is a work of original
authorship. Copyright registration for a website’s design is similar to copyright
registration for any other visual arts piece.
Yes, you can copyright the content of the website as long as it is a work of original
authorship and not content taken from another source. If you maintain a blog, for
example, you can copyright your content regularly to ensure your work is protected.
Note that in order to copyright the design and the content of a website you will
have to file two separate copyright registrations.
Some websites are powered by unique software. Software programs are eligible for
copyright protection. If you have written a program for a website you are able to
copyright that program. Typically you cannot copyright basic code (HTML, CSS) for
Website business model.
A business model for a website probably is not eligible for copyright protection.
If you have invented a new business model or system, it may be eligible for patent
protection and you should contact a patent attorney.
If your website is based on a design template, uses little original content and
does not have a unique and original software element then you may not want to try
and copyright your website. If you use the template to set up a blog, the content
of the site would be eligible for copyright protection.