The Copyright Act of 1790 granted creators a limited time of exclusive control to their creations.
I mean who’d want to practice, sacrifice all that time and effort to better yourself at the craft that so few succeed in, only to have your work stolen and sold or used without your permission or benefit?
Theft of intellectual property (art, product ideas, business plans) would otherwise make it impossible for inventors and artists to profit from their own creation, therefore rendering the creation process useless. Why continue to pour your blood, sweat, and tears into making music, writing lyrics, or fine-tuning a brilliant business idea when some Joe Shmoe or a shady business partner could come rob your blind?
Our forefathers had thought this was serious and important enough of an idea to include into our constitution making it illegal for anyone to copy your work for 75 years. It was no longer possible for inventors to have their works stolen from them when they registered the works with the Library of Congress.
The definition of Copyright (as taken from Copyright.gov) is as follows:
What does copyright protect?
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “What Works Are Protected.”
Can I copyright my website?
The original authorship appearing on a website may be protected by copyright. This includes writings, artwork, photographs, and other forms of authorship protected by copyright. Procedures for registering the contents of a website may be found in Circular 66, Copyright Registration for Online Works.
Can I copyright the name of my band?
No. Names are not protected by copyright law. Some names may be protected under trademark law. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov or see Circular 34 “Copyright Protection Not Available for Names, Titles, or Short Phrases“.
How do I copyright a name, title, slogan, or logo?
Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov or see Circular 34, for further information. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.
How do I protect my idea?
Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.
Does my work have to be published to be protected?
Publication is not necessary for copyright protection.
In Conclusion, copyright your work. Don’t wait until later. The price is reasonable and benefits are well worth the nominal $35-55 fee (subject to change).
And hey, when you do, someone may be out there earning you a living and not even know it.
And PS. Never steal other’s work if you’re opposed to having your work stolen.