It is a form of protection provided by law. In the United States this protection is granted to authors of original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. (from Circular of the United States Copyright Office, 6/30/2008)
Protective measures against unauthorized access to or interference with computer operating systems, telecommunications, or data structures, especially the modification, deletion, destruction, or release of data in computers. It includes methods of forestalling interference by computer viruses or so-called computer hackers aiming to compromise stored data.