Copyrights in the US grant the author of an original composition the right to disperse, display, and reproduce their work, or develop new works stemming from the original. One a copyright is granted, law requires credit be given to the author when reference to their work appears in another’s composition.
Copyrights protect the author by preventing the reproduction, sale, public performance and display of the work, and development of new works from the original. Those who contribute to a collaborative work can become co-owners of the copyright unless an agreement to the contrary is entered. Copyright protection can applied to both published and unpublished works, although publication can affect how long copyright lasts.
There are some things that copyright does not cover. The bounds of copyright do not encompass works that have not been recorded or expressed in concrete form, like ideas, slogans, processes, etc.