A poem, song, book, photograph, painting, movie picture film, et cetera, these are the subjects of copyright. It is important to remember, a unique work or creation is entitled copyright protection, from the instant that it is created. That is, unlike patents and trademarks, copyright is automatic and an artist is entitled copyright protections - from the time the work is put into a tangible form. The text you are reading now, by virtue of its creation alone is protected by copyright. You could not use this precise arrangement of words on your intellectual property website – of course you can discuss this topic all you like so long as you use your own words.
To improve one's position with regard to copyright protection, one may register a work at the United States Copyright office. This process is fast, easy, straightforward and fun. With a registered copyright, one has ample proof of an original creation which is difficult or impossible to contest. Those who come later to copy the work, will be unable to easily claim theirs is an original.
Once you create a work like one listed above, you are entitled to mark it with the copyright notice. You can write the word 'copyright' and the copyright symbol ©; the copyright owner's name; nad the year the work was created. At the bottom of this page, you should see: "Copyright © Integrity IP 2007" This should encourage others to refrain from copying your work. It may also reduce the possibility that a copycat might argue 'innocent copying' where he didn't know the work was copyright protected.
However, copyright protection is subject to some important exceptions. Public policy known as 'fair use' is always available as a defense for copyright infringement. In simplest terms, "fair use" permits copying for some uses deemed to be beneficial for society. For example, certain: educational uses; use for criticism; parody use, among others are 'fair' uses in which a copyright owner has no right to prevent others from using material otherwise protected under copyright.
Further, copyright is quite limited to fairly literal acts of copying. That is, if a talented architect draws a blueprint for a beautiful building and seeks protection by a copyright - she might be surprised to learn that copyright only prevents others from making a copy of the blueprint and may prevent selling that copied blueprint to others. The copyright protection does not prevent others with a photographic memory who happen to see the blueprint from constructing a building in accordance with the design contained therein. Copyright protects the blueprint - but does not protect the building design. A novel design of a building might be protected by a design patent however.