Copyright Law grants you 6 exclusive rights over the use and distribution of your copyrighted works. To understand the benefits of copyright protection you are provided as the owner, let's take a closer look at what these rights, sometimes referred to as a "bundle of rights" or "bundle of sticks", are all about.
You created something and are protected by copyright. Cool. Now what exactly does this give you? First, let's look at a list of these 6 exclusive rights. As the holder of a copyright you have the rights to:
Ok, sounds good but...what does this all mean?
The right to reproduce the work gives the copyright holder the ability to make copies of their work and control anyone else making copies of it. This one is the basis for most infringement suits so be careful here. This is the kind of thing where you right-click/save someone's photo or you make a digital copy of printed text.
The right to create derivative works is referring to the right to make adaptations based on a copyrighted work. This includes things like the translation of a book or the sequel to a movie. The copyright owner has the ability to control the transformation of their work into new works.
The distribution right is exactly what it sounds like: the copyright owner has the right to control how their work gets distributed to others. This involves sales, leasing and rentals of the work. This means the owner can restrict unauthorized distribution of authorized copies as well as distribution of unauthorized copies (i.e., infringing works). Distributing someone's work includes things like putting someone's music into your YouTube video and posting it.
The public performance right is again, pretty straightforward. As a copyright holder, you have the right to control how your work gets performed publicly. For these purposes, "public" means (i) performed in a place open to the public, (ii) performed at a place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances are gathered, or (iii) is transmitted to multiple locations.
Similarly, the public display of work right controls how a work such as a photograph or graphic design is displayed publicly, rather than performed. This extends to posting someone else's article to your webpage or displaying a single image from a movie.
The performance by digital transmission right is like a limited public performance right that applies only to performance of a work by means of a digital audio transmission. This right only applies to sound recordings. It gives the owner the right to license their sound recordings for things like streaming services
If you are the owner of a copyright, congrats! These rights make up the "bundle of sticks" that you own. It helps to think of them as sticks because, like the owner of a bundle of (very valuable) sticks, you can divide these rights up and transfer them to others. You could transfer your right-to-create-derivative-works stick to a publisher who wants to publish a translation of your English book in French. Or to someone who is going to make a spin-off of your movie.
One final important note: keep in mind that these rights are not completely separate. What I mean is, one unauthorized work can infringe upon multiple rights. If you go on the copyright holders' website and save an image which you then post on your website, you have infringed on both their right to reproduce and their right to distribute.