Copyright is actually a collection of legal rights, all of which protect "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression."1
Copyright can protect
• Literary works, such as screenplays, novels, magazine articles, poems
• Motion pictures, television shows, and other audiovisual works
• Musical works, including any accompanying words
• Dramatic works, such as plays, including any accompanying music
• Pantomimes and choreographic works
• Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
• Sound recordings
• Architectural works
• Other works of original authorship
Copyright is one of the easiest forms of intellectual property protection to obtain: just create an original work of authorship, write it down or record it in some way, and you automatically have a copyright in that work. Only a minimum amount of creativity is required.You don't even have to fill out a form or put a "C" in a circle to get copyright protection, but you will get more legal protections if you do. (See Copyright Registration, p. 268.)
Example: You write a screenplay. If you've written it yourself, and haven't based it upon anybody else's work, it's original to you. Because you've written it down (or saved it to your hard drive), you've recorded it. Smile—you've automatically been granted a copyright in your work without having to do anything else.
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