What is a copyright and how is it useful?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship.” This includes literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works as well as computer software. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. The Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to conduct and authorize various acts, including reproduction, display, distribution, public performance and making derivative works.

Copyright protection is automatically secured when a work is fixed into a tangible medium such as a book, software code, video, etc.