Copyright provides the creators of original works of authorship with a set of limited exclusive rights, including the right to copy, distribute, and perform their works. Nearly all creative and intellectual works are protected under copyright law, regardless of copyright registration or notice. The law attempts to balance the private interests of copyright owners with the public interest and is intended, in the words of the Constitution, "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for a limited Time to Authors, and Inventors, the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
Copyright law gives copyright owners the exclusive rights to:
* reproduce a work
* prepare derivative works based on the original;
* distribute copies to the public,
* perform the work publicaly; and
* display the work publicly,
Limitations to the exclusive rights are listed in Sections 107 throught 122 of chapter 1 of the U.S. Copyright Act. These exceptions are integral to the balance of exclusive rights and productive, socially beneficial new and fair uses of works. One of the exceptions to a copyright holder's exclusive rights is the right to make a fair use of a copyrighted work. Copyright law applies to original works.