In the United States, copyright is a set of legal rights granted to an author or creator of an original work fixed in any tangible medium of expression.
Copyright protection covers the work the moment it is fixed in a tangible medium such as paper, computer code, film, canvas and paint, clay, analog or digital sound recordings, etc. Ideas are NOT protected; only the expression is protected.
A wide range of original works are eligible for copyright protection, including:
Works that are protected by copyright do not have to be published, do not have to bear the familiar copyright symbol, and do not have to be registered with the U.S. Register of Copyrights.
When a work is protected by U.S. copyright, the rights holder has the exclusive right to:
Copyright holders also have the exclusive right to grant other people permission to use their works in any of the ways listed above.
Note: Simply owning a book, manuscript, painting, or other work does not give the possessor the copyright. Transfer of ownership of a protected object doesn't transfer the copyright.