What is copyright?
When a person creates something (e.g., book, music, artwork), that person has the exclusive right to
- reproduce or copy the work
- prepare derivative works
- distribute copies of the work to the public
- perform the work (e.g., music, plays)
- display the work publicly (e.g., artwork)
If the person who created the work wishes to, he or she may give or sell some or all of the rights covered by copyright to someone else (e.g., a publisher). Then that other person or entity is the copyright holder. Based on copyright, there is very little a person can do with a created work without first obtaining permission from the copyright holder. However, copyright is balanced with the idea of fair use.