Copyright law applies to original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium. This includes literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished.
A copyright generally gives the owner the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to distribute copies, to perform the work, and to display it publicly. Unlike patents, copyrights protect the form of expression and not the subject matter. For example, a photograph of a new copy machine may be copyrighted, however this would only keep others from copying the photograph. To prevent people from making copies of the machine itself, the inventor would have to obtain patent protection.