A copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. A copyright can cover both published and unpublished works. A copyright protects original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation.
An author does not have to register his or her work to obtain protection under intellectual property law because a copyright exists from the moment the work is created. However, an author who wants to pursue a lawsuit for infringement can only do so for a registered work.