What is not protected by copyright?

Contributed by Yasmin Thus and current to 16 April 2018

Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, styles, techniques, facts or information. For example, if you write an outline of your idea for a TV show, the written text will be protected by copyright as a dramatic work and, generally, someone wanting to reproduce the text would need your permission. However, if someone uses your idea to write their own original script, this would not be an infringement of copyright. Copyright would only be an issue if someone copied or paraphrased an important or distinctive part of your written work.

Names, titles and slogans are also not protected by copyright as they are considered too small or unoriginal to qualify as a “work”.

People and people’s images (of their face or body) also are not protected by copyright. However, you should be aware that there are other areas of law which can affect the ways you can use photos of people (eg., defamation).

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