For questions about the property right inherent in a creative work. Please see the tag wiki and FAQ before asking the question.
Please read our FAQ and look for previously answered questions before posting a new one on this topic.
Copyright is a suite of rights over a creative work. The specifics of which rights are included vary between countries, but generally include:
- distribution rights
- performance rights
- broadcast rights
- the right to prepare derivative works
Copyright expires after a fixed time, at which point the work enters the public domain. In rare cases, perpetual copyright applies.
In the 168 countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention, copyright is granted automatically at the time the work is fixed in a tangible medium.
Note that many questions with this tag are actually questions about fair-use. Fair use is an affirmative defense that can be raised to copyright infringement in the US. A similar (but more restricted) defense in the UK and other Commonwealth countries is known as "fair dealing."
"Compulsory" or statutory-license apply to some types of creative work.