Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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920.3 How-To Books, Project Books, and Crafts-Making Books


920.3 How-To Books, Project Books, and Crafts-Making Books


A how-to book explains how to perform certain skills and techniques. These types of works generally do not contain pattern pieces or parts, because they are intended to teach a craft or technique rather than provide instructions on making a specific item.


How-to books typically contain text, photographs, and technical diagrams, which may be protected by copyright law if they are sufficiently creative. However, the “project” or “craft” as a whole – even if it is original – is merely an idea that is not copyrightable. 17 U.S.C. § 102 (B). The U.S. Copyright Office will reject nonspecific claims in project ideas or project design.


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