The history of copyright starts with early privileges and monopolies granted to printers of books. The British Statute of Anne 1710, full title "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned", was the first copyright statute. Initially copyright law only applied to the copying of books. Over time other uses such as translations and derivative works were made subject to copyright and copyright now covers a wide range of works, including maps, performances, paintings, photographs, sound recordings, motion pictures and computer programs.
Today national copyright laws have been standardised to some extent through international and regional agreements such as the Berne Convention and the European copyright directives. Although there are consistencies among nations' copyright laws, each jurisdiction has separate and distinct laws and regulations about copyright. Some jurisdictions also recognize moral rights of creators, such as the right to be credited for the work.
Copyrights are exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Copyright does not protect ideas, only their expression or fixation. In most jurisdictions copyright arises upon fixation and does not need to be registered. Copyright owners have the exclusive statutory right to exercise control over copying and other exploitation of the works for a specific period of time, after which the work is said to enter the public domain. Uses which are covered under limitations and exceptions to copyright, such as fair use, do not require permission from the copyright owner. All other uses require permission and copyright owners can license or permanently transfer or assign their exclusive rights to others.