Copyright applies to both published and unpublished works, and is attached to the original work as soon as it is created. Copyright is a form of protection under Copyright Law for original works of authorship, including photos, videos, graphics, illustrations, audio and more. Copyright grants what is referred to as a “limited monopoly” on the work created, which gives creators the ability to profit from the fruits of their labor. Copyright information can be embedded directly into a photo through IPTC Metadata. (Source: U.S. Copyright Office)
For more copyright definitions and resources, check out Copyright 101: A Glossary for Marketers.