Copyright Bite #2.2

Copyright Bites. Blue robot. Author unknown. Image found by searching for ‘robots’ on Google Images. Source: Cooltan ArtsIn the video, Dick, an illustrator, decides to draw a robot. Robots are cool, thinks Dick. His idea is that the robot should be made up of simple geometric shapes, but with a mouth like a thermometer or a ruler. His robot will also wear a bow tie. Bow ties are cool, thinks Dick.


The idea for creating a robot out of simple geometric shapes is not particularly original. If you search for images of robots on the internet, it is amazing how many different toys, drawings and illustrations of robots are made up of simple geometric shapes: a rectangular head and body, two large round eyes, and so on. What is original is the way that Dick has expressed his particular idea for a robot in the drawing he created.


Dick’s drawing may be similar to thousands of other drawings of robots that already exist in the world but he has not copied any of those other drawings: Dick’s drawing is original and unique to him. It is protected by copyright.


Copyright Bites. Photos from the film Return to Oz (1985), directed by Walter Murch and produced by Walt Disney Pictures and others. This work is in copyright. Source: Vigilant Citizen

More from Bite #2

Copyright Bite #2.1

There are many things that copyright does not protect. It does not protect information or facts, principles, concepts or ideas.

Copyright Bite #2.3

Copyright protects only the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. In the UK the law also typically requires that your work is fixed in some tangible form before it can be copyright-protected.

Copyright Bite #2.4

When creating new work it is natural to be inspired by the work of others. Copyright promotes creativity by providing authors with rights in their work while allowing others to make use of that work in certain ways.

More Copyright Bites

Copyright Bite #1

Copyright Bite #1 considers how long copyright lasts and what it means to say that a work is protected by copyright or in the public domain.

Copyright Bite #2

Copyright Bite #2 explores how copyright protects only the expression of ideas and not ideas themselves.

Copyright Bite #3

Copyright Bite #3 considers how you can lawfully make use of, or borrow from, works that are still in copyright, but without having to ask for permission or make payment to the copyright owner.