Copyright is a form of protection (Title 17 in the U.S. Code) for the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. It is designed to balance the interests of authors, publishers and the consuming public.
Purpose of Copyright
The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but [t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts. To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art.
Feist Publication, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340, 349-50 (1991) (citations omitted).