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Copyright categories offer broad definitions

If you're wondering what types of things can be protected by copyrights, you should know that the categories are fairly broad in some cases. The goal, overall, is to protect all original works that have been recorded in some fashion.

These recordings do need to be "fixed." This simply means the recording has to be tangible in some way.

For instance, perhaps you've come up with a story. If you write it down, it can then be copyrighted so that no one else can write and sell the same story. If you just tell it to someone else, though, you can't copyright the content.

To get a better idea of the types of things that may be covered, consider the following examples:

-- Musical works.

-- Literary works.

-- Dramatic works.

-- Sculptural works.

-- Choreographic works.

-- Audiovisual works.

-- Graphic and pictorial works.

-- Architectural works.

-- Sound recordings and audio works.

As you can see, these are all recorded in some tangible way. A literary work is written down and printed or saved electronically; a sound recording is saved on a hard drive or a tape.

When considering how broad the categories are, though, remember that things you don't often consider to be a perfect fit may still count. For instance, when you think of a literary work, you may think of a novel, but the reality is that many computer programs that are written out may actually fall into this category, as well.

Protecting intellectual property is incredibly important. Be sure you know how to do it properly so that your works belong to you alone -- and make sure you know how to proceed when someone violates your rights.

Source: FindLaw, "What May be Covered by Copyrights?," accessed June 21, 2017

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