What is protected by copyright?
Last updated: 08/06/2015
Literary and artistic worksThe Copyright Act deals with the protection of literary and artistic works. This includes, for instance, fictional or descriptive representation in writing or speech, computer programs, databases, musical and stage works, films, photographs and other pictorial art, architectural works, applied art and, generally, the products of all intellectual creativity regardless of the way in which they are expressed.
Ideas are not protectedIt is the expression of the idea that is protected and not the idea itself. People cannot be stopped from borrowing an idea or producing something similar but can be stopped from copying.
For example, if you write a novel, the text will be protected, but not the ideas or plot. Someone could write their own novel using your ideas, without necessarily infringing copyright. Similarly, if two authors independently create a similar work based on the same idea, without copying from each other or from someone else, there is no copyright infringement.