You’ve likely been there before – you have a great idea for a movie, product, or piece of artwork. However, while working out the details in your head, you discover someone else had the same idea, and now you’re kicking yourself for not acting sooner. As such, you may wonder if you have the ability to copyright your ideas to prevent this from happening again. You’ll want to keep reading to learn whether or not this is possible and how copyright infringement lawyers can assist you with any issues you may have.
Can I Register an Idea With the Copyright Office?
An idea is a non-tangible thought. As such, ideas cannot be copyrighted. Just because you have a thought does not mean you are the creator because you have not taken the steps to actually create anything. If you could copyright ideas, many would never have the chance to create something because it’s likely that another person registered their idea without ever taking the necessary steps to make it tangible.
It’s important to understand that copyright protects a number of works, from video games, translations, websites, and even selfies. However, these are all tangible creations, which is why they are protected.
You should also understand that you cannot copyright concepts, theories, or methods. For example, if you need to use Einstien’s Theory of Relativity for scientific work, you can use it without fear of copyright infringement.
How Can I Protect Ideas?
However, if you create something creative and tangible using that idea, you can then register the creation with the U.S. Copyright Office. For example, if you have a great idea for a book, you may be able to write a short excerpt of the plot and draw up character designs, those can be registered through the United States Copyright Office.
As such, you must create a tangible form to represent your work if you wish to register it. It is necessary to understand that copyright will not protect the idea itself but rather the tangible creation. Essentially, this means if you paint a picture of a river, no one can reprint your painting and sell it without permission. However, the idea of painting a river is not protected, meaning anyone else can also create artistic renditions of the scene.
Unfortunately, there are many misunderstandings surrounding copyright and ideas. As such, you’ll want to ensure you take the necessary measures to protect your ideas. After all, it only takes one idea to help you change your life and the world!
If you need assistance, CopyCat Legal, PLLC can help. Our dedicated legal team has the experience necessary to help you navigate this process to help you protect your creations. Contact us today to learn more about the measures we will take to assist you.