Copyright Bite #2 – Idea and Expression
Copyright Bite #2 explores how copyright protects only the expression of ideas and not ideas themselves. The texts below help you understand a fundamental principle of copyright law: the idea-expression dichotomy.
There are many things that copyright does not protect. It does not protect information or facts, principles, concepts or ideas.
In 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.
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.
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 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 #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.
Copyright Bites: Credits and Acknowledgements