[quote]They're an idea, not a representation of one.[/quote]
Deets, you lost me on this.
I can represent the plot in words, I can represent the sounds with notes on a piece of paper, and I can represent the story (before there were books there were oral histories (stories) ) with letters strung into sentences, paragraphs and maybe even chapters.
These all seem very similar to me, but I am old, and stuck in my ways.
If you wrote the plot out on a piece of paper you could copyright that but you couldn't copyright the idea of the plot itself.
If someone else made a film that amounted to a character reading out your plot it would breach your copyright. If they acted out a story based on your plot, it wouldn't.
To protect an idea you need to rely on things like trade marks (you can trade mark a name or title, you can't copyright them. You can copyright the physical representation of a logo, though, as well as trade mark it); patents, design rights and, in some territories, unfair competition law such as parasitisme in France.
All these rights have done a good job at promoting invention without handcuffing creativity if you ask me. It's an incredibly difficult line.