Q. Does a work have to be published or registered to receive copyright protection?
No, a work does not have to be published or registered with the United States Copyright Office to receive copyright protection. A work simply has to be “ fixed in a tangible medium of expression” to be copyrighted. It also only must convey a modicum of creativity to be copyrighted. Thus, even notes one takes down on a napkin in a coffee shop are instantly given copyright protection.