What Works Are Protected?

Most original works expressed in a tangible medium are protected by copyright law. The U.S. Copyright Law places copyrightable works in the following categories:

  • Literary works
  • Musical works, including any accompanying words
  • Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works

You should view these categories broadly. For example, computer programs and most compilations may be categorized and registered as literary works; maps and architectural plans may be categorized and registered as pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.
 
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