17 U.S.C. § 102
- Copyright protects only an author's "expression," but not the "idea"
- Ideas are not copyrightable, only the particular way they are expressed is
- An "original" work of authorship
- There must be some modicum of independent originality
- The work must be "fixed in a tangible medium of expression"
- This includes works such as:
- Literary;Musical;Dramatic;Pictoral;Pantomime and Choreographic;Motion Pictures; and Sound recordings
- Layouts and formats are not copyrightable
- U.S. Copyright Office has said that layouts and formats may not be registered and protected because the number of ways a picture, story, or typeface may be set are too limited for one person to have exclusive control
46 Fed. Reg. 30,651-30,653 (June 10, 1981)
Nimmer on Copyright §§2.01-2.02