1.Trade Secrets

Protections for confidential information such as formula, method, device, machine, compilation of facts or any information that is confidential and gives a business an advantage.

Period of protection: As long as information remains confidential and functions as a trade secret.

Examples: Coca‑Cola formula; special method for assembling a patented invention


Protections for literary and artistic works such as books, photos, music, recordings, fine art, graphics, videos, film, architecture, computer programs.

Period of Protection: Life of the author plus 70 years for works created by a single author.

Other works such as works made for hire, 120 years from date of creation or 95 years from first publication.

Examples: Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits (music recording, compact disc artwork and video)

  • You could post this question on the Law SE site, but the answer will still be no.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


Using the formula for Coke as an example, you could write down a detailed recipe that would be copyrighted as long as it was more than just a bare list. And you could keep the recipe secret. The added value of the copyright would not be very much. If someone reverse engineered the formula they would write it down in their own words that would not be not be the same as what you had copyrighted. Even if they accidentally wrote it down in the exact same words, it would not be a copyright violation sine it was not copied.

Also to bring a copyright suit you would need to register it which involves sending a copy to the U.S. Copyright Office - not conducive to keeping it a trade secret.

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