Patents refer to an invention, whereas copyrights refer to the expression of an idea, such as an artistic work. They are governed by different rules, so it is important to know which is applicable to your works. Copyright Copyrights protect the expression of ideas. Artistic works are generally considered to be expressions of ideas – books, paintings, songs, movies, and computer programs are examples. Copyright will not protect the process through which a particular work was created or the use of information within it (instructions, etc.). Cookbooks are often used to illustrate the difference between the expression of an idea.