Ok, this probably isn't the best tutorial, and I could have written it better, but it was just requested yesterday, and I wanted to get it up. So if it seems a little unorganized, get over it.

Download from: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/ PDF is 1 Meg and 252 pages....you try writing a tutorial from that....

Basics and application forms from: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html
What's protected?
literary works, musical works, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial/graphic/sculptural works, motion pictures, sound recordings, and architectural works
note....computer programs may be registered as "literary works"

As of March 1, 1989, a copyright notice is not required on anything new, although it is still beneficial.
How long does it last? For anything created after January 1, 1978, it will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

Section 107: Fair use...
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include-
1> purpose (commercial or nonprofit educational purposes)
2> nature of the work
3> amount of portion used in relation to the work as a whole
In other words, you can copy a small portion but cutting and pasting an entire article is not allowed. If you do want to cut and paste the entire thing, then you need to include a lot of criticism/comment/reporting/teaching, so that the cut and paste is not the primary part of your post.

FAQ: http://www.copyright.gov/faq.html

Another great source: http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html 10 myths...
>Even a posting on Usenet has a copyright unless the person explicitly puts that it is public domain.
Are you reproducing an article from the New York Times because you needed to in order to criticise the quality of the New York Times, or because you couldn't find time to write your own story, or didn't want your readers to have to register at the New York Times web site? The first is probably fair use, the others probably aren't.
Fair use is usually a short excerpt and almost always attributed.
In other words, don't copy more then you have to....

And just so you know, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) made the laws a LOT more powerful.

Remember, copyright is automatic now. You do NOT have to register anything. So any original work has a copyright the minute it is created. So if you want to cut and paste, either get permission, or wait 120 years... Even something written by a minor is protected.

More links:
http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellec...y/distance.htm Copyright in cyberspace
http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellec...y/cprtindx.htm Crash course in Copyright