Copyrightable Subject Matter and Scope of Protection
The federal Copyright Act protects authors’ creative works. “Copyright protection subsists...in original works of authorship…fixed in a tangible medium of expression ….”1 Copyright automatically arises upon creation and fixation of an original work, which in the food technology industry may include food advertising and marketing materials/packaging, or secret and other materials including recipes and software.
There are limitations on the scope of copyright protection. First, while registration is not required to secure copyright protection, it is a prerequisite to litigating a copyright claim and is desirable to preserve the remedies for attorney’s fees and statutory damages. Second, “[i]n no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery….”2Third, where a “useful article” is concerned, copyright protection is...