A copyright provides the creator with the exclusive right to reproduce their creative work, generally for a limited period of time. Such a work may be within the realm of performance art, visual arts, literary works, and other digital content. Essentially, a copyright protects the expression of an idea, though not the idea itself. There are a variety of different types of copyrights. Each country has its own laws on the types of copyrights that are deemed registerable.
For example, the U.S. Copyright Office is responsible for registering US copyrights in the United States. Copyrights are issued in accordance with the Berne Convention, an international agreement which dictates copyright law. When a work is created and put in some tangible medium, such as in the form of a computer file, drawing, or photograph, copyright protection exists automatically. Therefore, copyright registration is voluntary but highly recommended.
Registering a copyright provides public notice of the copyright. In the case of a lawsuit, a registered work can help recoup costs, such as attorney fees, because a registered copyright is considered prima facie evidence. Copyright registration also benefits creators as it gives them economics rights, meaning they can benefit financially from their work. Registration also gives creators moral rights, which are additional tools to preserve and protect a work.