Copyright is the legal protection given by law to authors of various literary and artistic works, sound recordings, cinematography and performances(work). Copyright protection also covers programming codes and computer applications. So this applies to performers, artists, writers, producers, photographers, programmers and anyone in the business of creating contents for educational or entertainment uses.
So basically, what this means in essence is that where you write a poem, a book, take a picture, mix a song, write lyrics, record a video, write codes, create an app or perform live on stage, you have the exclusive right of ownership on all forms on that work and in whatever mode it has been produced into and entitled to any form of profit and recognition that may come from such work product.
There is no special thing to owning copyright in a work except the fact that the body of work must embody originality and must be fixed in a form that can be perceived by everyone and not against public policy. If you create a work, it automatically qualifies for copyright protection so long that it is original in its content, it is in a fixed form, either hard copy or soft copy and should not offend members of the public. This protection is still available even if you create your work anonymously. The copyright is yours. Situations where you won’t own the copyright is where you have been employed to create such works by someone with an agreement for payment or where you create your work in the course of employment using your employer’s resources. That is to say, as a photographer, where you have been contracted to take photographs at an event for a fee, every picture taken in the course of that event however creative and all the energy you have expended, the pictures belong to the person who contracts you to take the picture coupled with the negatives, soft copies, hard copies and whatever form the pictures might come out. So also if you have been signed by a record label, every lyric you pen down, every song you record belongs to the record label.
Any use that is inconsistent with the right of the owner and without the owner’s permission will amount to infringement of copyright. The use of someone’s photo, recording their songs without their permission and distributing it with the aim of making profits fall under infringement. If you must make use of someone’s work you have to seek their permission. The only instances where using someone’s work will not amount to infringement is where you use it for personal purposes after having acquired it legally, for educational purposes, when it is already in the public space. In all these, fair usage is key and the original owner must be acknowledged. The key to infringement is using the work of someone else to your advantage without acknowledging then, either by passing it off as yours or making profits from it.