For many people involved in creative pursuits, knowing how to protect the work is important. Although it may seem daunting, the good news is that it’s really a lot simpler than it might first appear.
For starters, the way in which copyright protection is secured is often misunderstood. No publication or registration or other action in the U.S. Copyright Office is required to secure a copyright. While obtaining federal copyright registration affords certain additional rights, and is a good idea, there are state common laws that can provide protection without registration.
In order to develop an understanding of the relevant law, it is important to understand what a copyright is. Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works,” including pictorial, graphic, sculptural works, both published and unpublished. The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter.