What can't be covered by copyright?

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
In order to qualify for copyright protection, something has to exist in a physical form, whether it's a printed piece or on another medium like film or a computer disk. A speech that wasn't transcribed can't be copyrighted. An idea can't be copyrighted, only the words or illustrations that present it. If the idea represents a product or manufacturing process, it could be eligible for a patent. Only creative works are eligible for copyright. Business forms, standard calendars, and charts taken from public records can't be copyrighted. Short works, titles, words, and phrases generally can't be copyrighted, but they can be protected as trademarks. Anything created by the U-S government is normally public domain, but an individual who's created an original work can assign the copyright to the government.
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