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- A copyright is created under state laws as soon as an original work is set forth in a tangible medium, such as on paper, on a compact disk, or in computer memory. In addition, a copyright may be obtained from the US federal government by submitting copies of the work to the copyright office along with completed forms and the appropriate fees. Obtaining a federal copyright provides the copyright owner with many legal advantages if the owner expects that he or she will ever have grounds to sue another party for copying or performing the copyrighted work.