Probably the best known of intellectual property categories, copyright automatically applies to all types of original expression, including art, sculpture, literature, music, songs, choreography, crafts, poetry, flow charts, software, photography, movies, CD-ROMs, video games, videos, websites and graphic designs. The automatic protection can be enhanced by registering the work with the U.S. Copyright Office for a nominal fee.
Copyright lasts for many years. Most often it lasts for the life of the work’s creator (its author) plus 70 years. In cases where the creator is a business, the copyright lasts between 95 and 120 years. Although copyright protection is long-lived, it only applies to the literal expression, not to the ideas and concepts underlying that expression.
Most nations of the world offer copyright protection to works by U.S. citizens and nationals, and the U.S. offers its copyright protection to the citizens and nationals of these same nations.