The right to copy an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.
Copyright is a concept most people have some type of grasp on because it is so prevalent. Copyright protections are originally found in the U.S. Constitution. Copyright protects “original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression”. Copyright extends to works that are both published and those that have not been published. Copyright is designed to protect your original works of authoriship. Types of works protected by copyright include: literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.
With Copyright, the protection of your work begins when you take an idea out of your head and fix it in a “tangible medium”. This can be accomplished by drafting a first draft of a book or making a first sketch of a work of art.
Notice, though no longer a specific requirement for Copyright protection, is often helpful for the author and the consumer of an original work of authorship. Copyright notice (©), unlike the mark for a registered trademark (®) does not require permission from the United States Copyright Office because the rights attach when the work is created. If you want to create proper notice, the indicator must include either the “C” with a circle around it or some other indication of a claim of Copyright, the year of first publication and the name of the author. So, this blog post would be © 2013, Josh Andrews.
Make sure you make an indication of Copyright on any material you create. Typical places include your website, any white papers you create, or any special tools you use to market or with your clients that are proprietary in nature because you developed them as part of your business.