What is protected?
Eight categories of works are copyrightable:
NOTE: For a work to be copyrighted it must be an original work of authorship which is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” (Written down, recorded, or captured in some way.) It does not need to have the © symbol.
Examples of copyrighted works: Emails or letters written to a friend, a YouTube video, a song on Reverbnation, a photograph on a website or in a book etc...
Works created on or after January 1, 1978 are protected for a term of the life of the author plus 70 years. Works created and published prior to 1978 may be protected for different lengths of time.
This differs if the work was created by a corporate author which uses a different formula.
For more information regarding the length of a copyright, please see the copyright duration chart.
Author Mary Tyler "Molly" Ivins died January 31, 2007. Her works such as Who Let the Dogs In and Bill of Wrongs, which were all created after 1978, are protected under the copyright law until 2077.
What is not protected?
Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, and processes
Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans
Facts, news, and research are not copyrightable
Works in the public domain(work that no longer is under copyright protection or never was, like government documents)