Louisville, KY asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Kentucky

Q: Are ideas truly non-copyright?

In some movies vampires use sunscreen. Is this act alone worthy of copyright? Vampire using sunscreen or magical ring or is not creative enough for it?

Cause I would to use a vampire sunscreen.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Ideas themselves are not protected by copyright, but the specific expression of those ideas can be. This is a fundamental principle of copyright law.

In the case of a vampire using sunscreen, the general concept alone would not be copyrightable. The idea of a vampire protecting themselves from the sun through some means (sunscreen, a magical ring, etc.) is too broad and generic to be worthy of copyright protection on its own.

However, if an author writes a specific story or a filmmaker creates a particular scene detailing how a vampire character uses sunscreen in a unique and creative way, that specific expression of the idea could potentially be protected by copyright. It's the unique, original details and creative elements surrounding the basic idea that are copyrightable, not the broad concept itself.

So, if you want to include a vampire using sunscreen in your own creative work, you are free to do so, as long as you are not copying the specific details and unique expression of that idea from another copyrighted work. You should create your own original take on the concept, with your own characters, story, and creative details.

It's always a good idea to be cautious and do your research to ensure you're not infringing on anyone's copyrights, but in general, using a basic idea like a vampire applying sunscreen should not pose a copyright issue on its own.

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