313.3 (A) Ideas, Procedures, Processes, Systems, Methods of Operation, Concepts, Principles, or Discoveries
Section 102 (B) of the Copyright Act expressly excludes copyright protection for “any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.” 17 U.S.C. § 102 (B); see also 37 C.F.R. § 202.1 (B). As such, any work or portion of a work that is an idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery does not constitute copyrightable subject matter and cannot be registered.
• The idea or concept for a work of authorship.
• The idea for a character.
• Ideas, procedures, processes, or methods for doing, making, or building things.
• Scientific or technical methods or discoveries.
• Business operations or procedures.
• Mathematical principles, formulas, algorithms, or equations.
• DNA sequences and other genetic, biological, or chemical substances or compounds, regardless of whether they are man-made or produced by nature.
• An extrapolation or application of an idea or system that always produces substantially the same result, such as a computation of interest based upon a particular rate.
The Office may register a literary, musical, graphic, or artistic description, explanation, or illustration of an idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, provided that the work contains a sufficient amount of original authorship. See H.R. REP. NO. 94-1476, at 56 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. at 5669. However, the registration would be limited to the copyrightable literary, musical, graphic, or artistic aspects of the work because copyright law does not give copyright owners any exclusive rights in the ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries described in their works. As such, copyright owners do not have the right to prevent others from using the ideas, concepts, principles, or discoveries or from implementing the procedures, processes, systems, or methods of operation described in such works. See Feist, 499 U.S. at 344-45 (explaining that “[t]he most fundamental axiom of copyright law is that ‘no author may copyright his ideas or the facts he narrates.'” (quoting Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539, 556 (1985)).