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Copyright is the exclusive legal right given to the author of original work to reproduce, distribute and create derivative works from that work. Copyright does not protect ideas, only their expression or application. The creator of a work is also called its author.

Copyright is legal protection granted to content creators to prevent others from duplicating original works without permission. In the United States and many other countries, copyright law protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works as well as sound recordings, movies and other media.

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” Congress passed the first U.S. copyright statute in 1790 — just two years after the ratification of the Constitution — but it was not until 1831 that Congress enacted a law authorizing federal courts to issue injunctions against infringement of copyrights (the so-called “copyright act”).

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