Copyright is the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display works of original expression. These rights accrue upon creation of the work and a copyright registration is not required to own a copyright or acquire these rights.
U.S. Copyright Act
The U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101, et seq. provides a means for registering copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office, which is a part of the Library of Congress. The Federal registration process, while simple, can take nine to twelve months to complete before any Registration Certificate issues. The Copyright Act also provides various rights and remedies for copyright infringement, including statutory damages and attorney fee recovery. However, the Act also states
[N]o civil action for infringement of the copyright … shall be instituted until … registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title.” 17 U.S.C. 411.