A copyright is the designation of intellectual property like a patent or trademark. Once the composition is put into a physical form which can be reproduced (recorded, written down, etc.), the composer is granted exclusive rights to that piece of music which includes:
- the right to reproduce it
- the right to distribute it
- the right to perform it
- the right to create derivative works
The important thing to understand here is that you don't have to get a lawyer, file paperwork or send anything to yourself to own the copyright. Once you record it or write it down, you own the copyright. Having a lawyer help you with the copyright can, however, help with other things. We will get to that later.