What is copyright–protected?

USU Campus

What is copyright–protected?

Items that are copyright-protected under 17 U.S.C. 102 include, but are not limited to:

  • 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
  • Computer software1.

The following is a list of items that are not usually copyright-protected.  You always have to verify copyright status. An item may appear that it is on this list but may still be copyright-protected.

  • Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (i.e., recorded or captured in print or electron form)
  • Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
  • Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation or illustration
  • Works consisting entirely of information that are natural or self-evident facts, containing no original authorship, such as the white pages of telephone books, standard calendars, height and weight charts, and tape measures and rulers
  • Works created by the U.S. Government (as previously noted)
  • Works in the public domain, including works with copyrights that have expired (generally older than 95 years).  Since a copyright notice is no longer required, the absence of the ©, especially for works published after 1978, does not necessarily mean the work is in the public domain2.

NOTE: This does not mean there may not be some other type of legal protection such as “Trademark.”

1Copyright Basics Accessed January 17, 2017


Contact Information

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Office of General Counsel
4301 Jones Bridge Road, C1094
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799

Start with your Department Chair for initial guidance

Additional Guidance may be obtained through the Learning Resource Center (LRC) to determine what USU already has licensed

For general Copyright Law questions you may be directed to the Office of General Counsel (OGC)