Copyright is given to an author, artist, composer or programmer to exclude others from publishing or copyrighting literary, dramatic, musical, artistic or software works.

The type of works that copyright protects are:

  1. original literary works, e.g. novels, instruction manuals, computer programs, lyrics for songs, articles in newspapers, some types of databases, but not names or titles
  2. original dramatic works, including works of dance or mime
  3. original musical works
  4. original artistic works, e.g. paintings, engravings, photographs, sculptures, collages, works of architecture, technical drawings, diagrams, maps, logos
  5. published editions of works, i.e. the typographical arrangement of a publication
  6. sound recordings, which may be recordings on any medium, e.g. tape or compact disc, and may be recordings of other copyright works, e.g. musical or literary
  7. films, including videos
  8. broadcasts and cable programs

The above works are protected by copyright regardless of the medium in which they exist, and this includes the internet. You should also note that copyright does not protect ideas. It protects the way the idea is expressed in a piece of work, but it does not protect the idea itself.

There are five exclusive rights authors obtain with copyright protection:

  • the right to reproduce the work
  • the right to prepare derivative works based on the original
  • the right to distribute copies to the public
  • the right to perform the work publicly
  • the right to display the work publicly

Copyrightable Distance Learning Materials

These include:

  • Copyrightable instructional materials include (print materials such as books, texts, glossaries, bibliographies, study guides, laboratory manuals, and syllabi)
  • material performed or intended for performance such as lectures, musical or dramatic compositions and scripts;
  • visual materials such as films, filmstrips, slides, charts, and transparencies
  • video and audio recording of presentations, programs or performances
  • programmed instructional materials and computer programs
  • computer software and on-line and web-based courses and education multimedia projects incorporating various copyrighted media formats (i.e., motion media, music, text material, graphics, illustration, photographs and digital software), which are combined into an integrated presentation and developed for delivery via the distance education mechanism at a particular institution


Under current U. S. law, not all computer software may be patentable. It is, however, covered by the Copyright Act of 1976, under which computer software (as well as all other copyrightable work) is protected by Federal Statute from the moment it is “fixed” in a tangible form.

A trademark (service mark) is any symbol, such as a word, number, picture, or design, used by manufacturers or merchants to identify their own goods and distinguish them from goods made or sold by others.