Copyright refers to laws that regulate the use of the work of a creator, such as an artist or author. This includes copying, distributing, altering and displaying creative, literary and other types of work. Unless otherwise stated in a contract, the author or creator of a work retains the copyright.
For a copyright to apply to a work, it must be an original idea that is put to use. The idea alone cannot be protected by copyright. It is the physical use of that idea, such as an illustration or a written novel, that is covered under copyright law.
Ralph E. Lerner and Judith Bresler. “All About Rights for Visual Artists.” Practising Law Institute, 2006.