What is Copyright?
Copyright is the legal protection of works created by an individual. Works may be written, artwork, photography, music - any fixed, tangible form of expression.
As soon as a person creates a work, it is copyrighted and that person holds the copyright to that work. But, if a person has been hired to create the piece of work, sometimes the employer is considered the author.
There is no need to have a copyright registered. But, you can register a work with the US Copyright office for a small fee to absolutely protect your work. You can also put the copyright symbol on the work, with the date of creation. For example,
© 2017 Nancy George
Copyright Length of Time:
For works created from 1922 and before, the works are in the public domain.
For works published from 1923-1977, the amount of time a work is copyrighted is 95 years.
For works published 1978 and later, the amount of time is life of the author + 70 years.
For works created, but not published before 1978, the amount of time is life of the author + 70 years.
For works made for hire, anonymous works and pseudonymous works (unless the author's identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
Note: Every country has its own copyright laws, but many countries belong to a copyright treaty called the Berne Convention.