Copyright is perhaps one of the most misunderstood terms as it relates to the ownership of intellectual property. In essence, copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted for a limited time that regulate the use or manner in which an idea or information is expressed. Put simply, copyright means “the right to copy”. In order to qualify for copyright protection, a work must be original. Obviously, you cannot obtain a copyright for someone else’s creation. Copyright applies to a wide range of creative or artistic forms or “works.” These include musical works, sound recordings, movies, dramatic works, literary works, paintings, photographs, software, live performances, and television or sound broadcasts.
Copyright law only covers the form of material expression, not the actual idea or techniques employed by the copyright work. People often confuse copyright with other forms of intellectual property such as trademarks, patents, and industrial designs. Another point of confusion is whether or not song has to be sent to the Library of Congress in order to be copyrighted. In truth it does not. A song is officially copyrighted the moment it is given material form such as in a recording or written musical chart. At that point, the copyright should be registered with the Library of Congress, which establishes a date of creation. This can be very useful evidence if someone claims to have written the song before you.