Copyright is a set of rights provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, audiovisual and certain other works, including software. The law is designed to promote the "progress of science and useful arts."
This protection is available to both published and unpublished works that are fixed in a tangible medium (written down, filmed, drawn, etc.). Works do not have to display the copyright symbol © or be registered to be protected.
Copyright law gives the owner of copyright the right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, perform the work publicly, display the work publicly, and, in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission. The owner of the copyright may transfer all or part of these rights to others.
Subject to some exceptions described in this guide, a person exercising any of these rights in another’s work without permission, the person may be liable for copyright infringement.
These are NOT protected by copyright: