What Protections or Rights Do I Reserve as a Copyright Holder?
When you create a copyrighted work, there are protections laid out in US Copyright that are automatically granted. You are not required to register your copyright for these protections, but in registering you publicly establish your ownership and make it harder for anyone to dispute it. Copyright.gov is the official web site of the United States Copyright Office. It is a good resource for information about Copyright. The following excerpts were taken from their web site
Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
- to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
- to prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work
- to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
- in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
- in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
- in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of digital audio transmission."
In layperson's terms, this means that as a copyright holder you reserve the right to make and distribute sheet music and sound recordings. to create derivative works, to display and perform your work publicly, and to stream your sound recordings over the internet. Anyone else who wishes to do so will need to get permission in the form of a License.