Can I copyright the name of my band?
No. Names are not protected by copyright law. Some names may be protected under trademark law. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information.
How do I copyright a name, title, slogan or logo?
Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.
How do I protect my idea?
Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.
Other Copyright quotes and information:
The idea of copyright did not exist in ancient times, when authors frequently copied other authors at length in works of non-fiction. This practice was useful, and is the only way many authors' works have survived even in part. ~Richard Stallman
2001: In 1930, there were 10,027 books published. Today, 174 of those books are still in print. Yet it would be illegal because of copyright law for Michael Hart of Project Gutenberg to take those 9,853 books not in print and make them available on the Internet for free - at least without tracking down the present owners of those copyrights and getting permission. How hard is that? Almost impossible. There is no requirement that copyright holders register. To track down the current holder of a copyright from 1930, therefore, would require first determining whether the author was alive, and if not, then which of his or her relatives were alive, and one once you found a relative, who among the relatives received the copyright at issue, and then whether they'd be willing to let this decaying book be digitized. Bottom line: without an army of lawyers, it is impossible to imagine making these books available because of the regulation of copyright. What justifies this? If the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (passed in 1998, adding 20 years to existing copyrights) had not been passed, then all work through 1943 would be now be in the public domain. Project Gutenberg, Eric Eldred's Eldritch Press, Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive could all make this stuff available to others for free or, as Dover Press does, for money. But as it is, because of the law, this stuff will fall into a black hole of legal regulation. As Brewster Kahle said in his Amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the Eldred case, we are at a point where we could put all human knowledge onto the net. Yet legal regulation stops us. Why? -- Lawrence Lessig, Slashdot interview
I saw an image on the Library of Congress website that I would like to use. Do I need to obtain permission?
With few exceptions, the Library of Congress does not own copyright in the materials in its collections and does not grant or deny permission to use the content mounted on its website. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item. To the greatest extent possible, the Library attempts to provide any known rights information about its collections. Such information can be found in the “Copyright and Other Restrictions” statements on each American Memory online collection homepage. If the image is not part of the American Memory collections, contact the Library custodial division to which the image is credited. Bibliographic records and finding aids available in each custodial division include information that may assist in assessing the copyright status. Search our catalogs through the Library's Online Catalog. To access information from the Library’s reading rooms, go to Research Centers.
I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.