Note: I am not an attorney. The following are generalizations only based on my study of copyright law and are not meant to be construed as legal advice. If you have a question, consult a competent attorney specializing in copyrights and intellectual property law.
A tangible medium may include committing it to paper, canvas or other ground material used as an artistic medium, photographic film, video tape, fabric, computer screen, computer disk, on-line media (newsgroups, web sites) or any other medium which has a concrete form.
In the case of a general image--say, a rose or a sunset--you may not copyright the item itself, only your *expression* of that image. Every artist who has charted a rose owns copyright to that particular expression of a rose.
You also may not copyright an idea, method, title, fact, or a short phrase.
Everything you read on the internet is also copyrighted, even though it is an easy task to download (and print). Material from newsgroups and web sites is protected. You may not use it without permission of the author. The good news is that most people are very willing to grant permission to use their words, especially for a non-commercial use (such as sharing with your stitchers' group in its newsletter). The key: ask first!
copyright 1996, Martha Beth Lewis
Contact me about reprint permission.