The article discusses current issues of legislation and law enforcement practice regarding the establishment of the possibility of copyright protection of the result of intellectual activity by the criterion of its creative origin. In the literature, the corresponding problem is known as the "threshold of originality." The authors analyze approaches to establishing the “threshold of originality” in various legal systems (Anglo-American, continental); they are exploring doctrinal approaches to defining the boundaries of protection of works of science, literature and art; they are examining the current judicial practice in this area. On this basis, they offer their own approach to understanding the “originality” of a work, corresponding to the current legal regime of intellectual property in the Russian Federation. It is concluded that the general conditions for the protection of the result of intellectual activity as an object of copyright in modern Russian law is its attribution to works of science, literature or art created by the intellectual labor of a person acting in conditions of creative freedom.