All intellectual property is considered to be copyrighted as soon as it is created. Intellectual property includes manuscripts, poetry, photographs, paintings, computer programs and even children's schoolwork. Unless the creator specifically sets forth circumstances under which you may copy and use their material, you are safest assuming that it is protected by copyright. If you are protecting your own intellectual property, however, you should officially register it with U.S. Copyright Office or similar entity. Plagiarism Today has a nice list of copyright basics at http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2008/02/28/10-basics-about-copyright-everyone-needs-to-know/ or you can go to the U.S. Copyright website at http://www.copyright.gov/ for full information about copyright.