Copyright law protects writers, artists, and composers. Their work does not have to be published to be protected by copyright law. The subject of a book, painting, or musical composition is not copyrightable, but a specific book, article, painting, photo, symphony, and so forth can only be reproduced by the original creator or the company with whom he or she has signed a copyright agreement. Copyright protection automatically exists upon creation, assuming that the subject matter is copyrightable, however, it is usually recommended, given the importance of the subject matter to its author, to apply to register the work with the Library of Congress.
A copyright registration gives the holder certain rights that are not afforded to one whom does not register his/her copyright. Most importantly, a copyright registration is a prerequisite for filing a law suit for copyright infringement and also allows the registration holder to obtain statutory damages which are extremely beneficial in situations where there has been a willful infringement and further provides incentive for the alleged infringer to settle any law suit that has or may be brought against them.