Copyright protection arises automatically when an “original” work of authorship is “fixed”. Registration with the copyright office is optional. In the copyright sense, a work is original if it owes its origin to the author and was not copied from some preexisting work. A work is “fixed” when it is made “sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration.” The “originality” requirement and the “fixation” requirement are not stringent. However, a work can incorporate preexisting material and still be original.
Multimedia works are created by combining music, text, graphics, illustrations, photographs, and software that is protected under copyright law. Original multimedia works are protected by copyright. The multimedia work as a whole owes its origin to developer. The copyright on the multimedia work covers only the material created by developer. When a new work is created by copying an existing copyrighted work, the new work need not be identical to the copied work. Copyright infringement exists only if the new work is “substantially similar” to the work that was copied. Any person who violates any of the exclusive rights of a copyright owner is an infringer.