question.jpgIn Copyrights

What works can be protected by copyright?

There are two initial requirements to protect a work as a copyright - it must be an original expression and it must be fixed in a tangible medium.

As for what types of work can be protected, the Copyright Act defines eight broad categories. These eight categories are not exclusive, and every once in a while something come up which does not fall neatly within one of these categories - when this happens, the courts will typically address the issue.

These eight categories are:

(1) Literary works;

(2) Musical works;

(3) Dramatic works;

(4) Pantomimes or choreographic works;

(5) Pictorial, graphic or sculptural works;

(6) Motion pictures or audiovisual works;

(7) Sound recordings; and

(8) Architectural works.

In addition to these eight categories, the Copyright Act also provides for the protection of compilations (which include collective works) and derivative works.

For all of these categories, the focus is on the nature of the work, not on the merit of quality of the work, in determining whether the work is protectable.