If you have ever watched a movie on disc at home, then before or after the feature presentation you will see a notice warning about the perils of copyright infringement if you make an illegal copy of the movie. But what is a copyright, exactly, and what are the penalties if you are convicted of a copyright violation?
A copyright is more than just a © symbol. It has real significance, and is meant to protect an author's or other creator's rights in his or her original work. Copyrights can exist on many different kinds of tangible media, including literary, musical and dramatic works, motion pictures and sound recordings, architectural, pictorial, graphical and sculptural works, and more. The copyright does not protect ideas, it protects their physical expressions from unauthorized duplication and includes protection of derivative as well as original works.