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According to the U.S. Copyright office, copyright is "a form of protection 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, and certain other intellectual works."
This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. The owner of copyright has the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
reproduce the work
prepare derivative works based upon the work
distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
perform the work publicly in person or by means of digital transmission