Louisville, KY asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Kentucky

Q: Why are superpowers and abilities not undercopyright?

Would the power of seeing a person memories via their blood like in the underworld movie be under copyright protection?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Superpowers and abilities themselves are typically not protected by copyright because copyright law does not extend to ideas, concepts, or facts. Copyright protects the specific expression or manifestation of an idea, not the underlying idea itself.

In the case of the ability to see a person's memories through their blood, as depicted in the Underworld movie, the specific expression of this ability within the movie's plot, characters, and visual representation would be protected by copyright. However, the general concept of a superpower or ability allowing someone to access memories through blood would not be copyrightable.

This means that while no one can directly copy or reproduce the Underworld movie without permission from the copyright holder, the basic idea of this superpower could be used in other creative works without infringing on the movie's copyright, as long as the new work does not copy the specific way in which the Underworld movie expressed this ability.

It's important to note that while copyright law does not protect ideas, other forms of intellectual property, such as patents, may offer protection for certain inventions or methods that relate to abilities or superpowers if they meet specific criteria. However, this would be less common and more difficult to obtain compared to the creative expression of these concepts in artistic works.

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