"Copyright protects 'original works of authorship' that are fixed in a tangible form of expression [published or unpublished]" (United States Copyright Office, 2012).
The following are protected under U.S. Code, Title 17, Section 102:
Note: "These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most 'compilations' may be registered as 'literary works'; maps and architectural plans may be registered as 'pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works'" (United States Copyright Office, 2012).
United States Copyright Office. (2012). Copyright basics. Retrieved from http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf
Who can claim copyright?
A "work for hire" includes work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment or a work specially ordered or commissioned for use, such as:
U.S. Code, Title 17, Chapter One, Section 106: Exclusive Rights in Copyrighted Works
The physical ownership of an item, such as a book or a CD, is not the same as owning the copyright to the work embodied in that item.
Under the first sale doctrine (section 109 of the Copyright Act), ownership of a physical copy of a copyright-protected work permits lending, reselling, disposing, etc. of the item, but it does not permit reproducing the material, publicly displaying or performing it, or otherwise engaging in any of the acts reserved for the copyright holder, because the transfer of the physical copy does not include transfer of the copyright rights to the work.
Copyright Clearance Center. (2016). About copyright. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from Copyright Clearance Center, https://www.copyright.com/learn/about-copyright/