**The following is not legal advice. It is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon. It contains some generalizations and may not be regularly updated. Facts and situations vary widely. Upon understanding your specific situation a qualified attorney may advise as to your rights and obligations.**
What Is a copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.
The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevent others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine.
It is important in many instances to register for your copyright within three months of first publication to obtain maximum benefit under the copyright laws.