An author is the person who creates or originates a written work, such as a book or a play, and is sometimes referred to as a writer or poet in certain circles. A more general definition of an author is "the person who produced or gave birth to something," and the person who created or gave birth to something is the one who bears responsibility for what was created.
Typically, the person who produced the work, i.e. the author, is the initial owner of a copyright. It is possible to establish joint authorship when more than one individual is responsible for the work, provided that certain conditions are fulfilled. There is a need for a certain amount of flexibility in the definition of authorship under the copyright laws of different countries. In the words of the United States Copyright Office, "copyright is a type of protection granted by the laws of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) to authors of 'original works of authorship.'"
Holding the title of "author" over any "literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, [or] certain other creative works" confers rights on the person who holds the copyright, including the exclusive right to engage in or authorise the production or distribution of the work in question. To utilise intellectual property protected by copyright, any person or organisation must first get permission from the copyright holder, and in many cases, the copyright holder will charge a fee for the use of the content. An intellectual work's copyright expires after a certain period of time, at which point it becomes public domain and may be utilised without restriction. A large number of jurisdictions have amended their copyright laws on a number of occasions since their inception, mostly following the lead of the United States, where the entertainment and publishing industries wield considerable political clout. The goal has been to extend the length of time during which the work is solely controlled by the copyright holder. Copyright, on the other hand, is just the legal guarantee that one's work is one's own. According to the law, a person owns their work from the moment it is produced. Copyright has a noteworthy feature in that it may be handed on to heirs in many countries, which is an important element of authorship to note. The person who inherits the copyright is not the author, yet he or she receives the same legal protections that the original author does.
- Magill, Frank N. (1974). Cyclopedia of World Authors. vols. I, II, III (revised ed.). Inglewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Salem Press. pp. 1–1973. [A compilation of the bibliographies and short biographies of notable authors up to 1974.]