A copyright is a subset of intellectual property law, and it's a formal legal protection for authorship. Copyright protects original works, including literary works, dramatic works and even technical works. Copyright law extends to everything from poetry and novels to architecture and computer software, and includes music, movies and most written works. Anything newly created, such as a research paper, music, photo, drawing, poem, is automatically copyrighted. The big "C" (©) is no longer required.