Copyright is a right to protect original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works from copying by others.
Copyright also exists in the layout for typographical arrangements (e,g, to publish a book), recordings and broadcasts. The works need to be original in the sense of not being copies themselves, and copyright comes into existence automatically as soon as the work is created in some form. Importantly computer programs and databases are protectable as copyright works.
Copyright can be a very long lasting right (up to 70 years after the death of the author in some cases) but the need to demonstrate copying by the other party can mean that it is difficult to enforce unless the similarities are clear.