I have an idea to write a story. How can I apply copyright to it after it gets written?

  • 3
    Ideas aren't protectable, written stories are protectable by copyright. Nov 10, 2020 at 17:23
  • OK, I'll edit it Nov 10, 2020 at 17:25
  • 2
    okay, this is far enough from the original question that I think it should be a different question. It also invalidates an existing answer, which you shouldn't do. Nov 10, 2020 at 17:30
  • 3
    I’m voting to close this question because this should be moved to Law stack Exchange.
    – hszmv
    Nov 10, 2020 at 18:01
  • 1
    Honestly, write it first, worry about this later Nov 10, 2020 at 23:41

2 Answers 2


Ideas are cheap. There are two important things to be aware of: (1) you can't copyright an idea and (2) no one's going to steal your idea anyway.

New writers seem to think that they've come up with some great new original idea for a plot or character or setting and everyone who comes in contact with it will want to steal it. The cold hard truth is they haven't and nobody will. What matters is the execution.

  • Down voted because Copyright exists to protect an idea that has been tangibly communicated and ideas are stolen all the time.
    – hszmv
    Nov 10, 2020 at 17:51
  • 1
    @hszmv copyright protects the expression of the idea, not the idea itself.I recommend that you not give legal advice if you're not a lawyer Nov 10, 2020 at 22:48
  • @hszmv - This is the right answer. He's not talking about copyrighting a manuscript. Once the manuscript is done that can be copyrighted. Nov 10, 2020 at 23:10

Legally speaking, there is a difference between "copyright" and "trademark" that I think you are confusing. Copyrights attach at the moment of creation/publication of a work and need not be applied for, where as a trademark must be applied for. Copyright typically protects intellectual property and ideas and the work must exist in tangible form (so the moment you write it down, boom, it's copyrighted). Trademarks are more of a brand protection. For example, the word "Nike" is not copyright protected and beyond the shoe company, it has meaning (a greek goddess of Victory, hence why a sports apperalle company took the name). The font of the lettering, the distinctive "Swoosh" symbol and the logo of "Just Do It" however are Trademark protected. You cannot slap them onto any shoe and sell them, you have to get permission from Nike to do that and good luck with that.

In the context of a written work, the cover art of a book and the words used in the book are seperately copyrighted to their owners however, the combination of both the words and the cover art are Trademarks. I can sell copies of the book "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" but I cannot go to my bookstore, buy a copy, copy it cover to cover and sell it because the company that published that particular book holds the Trademark.

Edit: It's also helpful to know which jurisdiction you're in as different nations afford different protections. For example, the U.S. has a very unique "Fair Use" standard of copyright protection that allows for use of copyrighted works by people who don't hold the copyright protection of a work under certain circumstances.

  • Regarding your edit, OP's profile lists their location as Iran.
    – F1Krazy
    Nov 10, 2020 at 17:58

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