There are many laws that protect people in the world. Some of these laws are meant to protect rights covered under the Bill of Rights, and other rights are meant to protect the things we create. The eligibility for copyright protection is extended to anyone who is able to create something that is tangible.
There are international laws that provide copyright protection, and the laws for people living in the United States are covered under the doctrine of 17 USCA Section 102(a). The eligibility for copyright protection is clearly outlined in this document and business owners would fare well to spend a little bit of time reading through this doctrine because it may keep someone else from stealing the royalties of your work.
The eligibility for copyright protection extends to any tangible thought that is applied to paper. If it is still in your mind or in the development process where the idea has not been put down on paper or some other solid form, then the eligibility for copyright protection will not apply to it. Some people expect this to apply and are sorely disappointed when they are turned down at the copyright registration office.
If you want to create a novel or other literary work, then it would qualify for eligibility for copyright protection. Perhaps you are a photographer or a tourist who captured an exquisite photo of an event that is a once-in-a-life time experience. Since you placed yourself at great risk taking the photograph, you want to register the photo and copyright it so that other people can not make money from it without your approval. That photograph falls under the eligibility for copyright protection.
If you wanted to create a description of the photograph, then that description would qualify for eligibility for copyright protection as long as it is written down. The information can be stored on any means that you like such as compact disk, a computer or included as a caption underneath the picture and framed. All methods used to create the description fall under the eligibility for copyright protection.
Although a sculpture would not be considered a written work, it is still a method of expression that has a solid and tangible form to it. The sculpture falls under the auspices of eligibility for copyright protection. No further documentation is really necessary. It is real and can be held. Therefore, it is protected by copyright from the second it is created. That fact should spur the creative juices in many people who were unaware of what is covered under copyright protection.
If you have only an idea to reflect on, then that idea does not fall under the auspices of eligibility for copyright protection. The idea might be covered under a confidentiality agreement if you hire someone to take your idea and develop a product description from it, or content for your business website. When the idea becomes a mode for expression, then it maintains eligibility for copyright protection.