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Small Business Guide

Patents / Trademark Help


Comprehensive Sites


  • What does copyright cover?
    • Copyright protects original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. Copyrighted works include the following categories:
      • Literary works (also includes computer software!)
      • Musical works, including any accompanying words
      • Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
      • Pantomimes and choreographic works
      • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
      • Sound recordings
      • Architectural works
  • What is not protected by copyright?
    • Works that you have not fixed in tangible form.
    • Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere listings of ingredients or contents.
    • Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices. (Some of these are patented, some trademarked…see below)
    • Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship.

Online Resources for Copyright

  • Federal Copyright Site - Information, forms, circulars, US law, FAQs and instructions on how to use the LOCIS search system for copyright.
  • Domain Names - Check out the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers for everything you ever wanted to know about registering a domain name; how to file complaints when someone has registered your business name as a domain; and a listing of accredited domain name registrars.
  • ALA site on the Teach Act.