In UK there is no possibility of copyright law protecting an idea. However, the copyright law does extend to offering protection of the execution of an idea. In practice this could mean that if a freelance journalist telephoned a magazine editor with the idea for a feature there is nothing to stop that editor using that idea and assigning the work to another writer. However, if a writer sent in a rough draft of the idea showing how they would execute (or tackle) the treatment of the idea the editor would be constrained by the copyright law. However, it is true that there is rarely any such thing as a new idea. It is always likely that the editor may already have a similar idea going through to commission. Because this is tricky to prove some creative industries, particularly film and TV, are extremely cautious about accepting unsolicited ideas for fear of subsequent legal action.