In most cases, only the author of a work can claim copyright. Once the work is completed in a fixed form, the copyright becomes property of the creating author. Fixed forms include stories written on paper, a song recorded on a CD or a computer program saved on a disk. Works in these forms are automatically protected by copyright. The author owns the right to redistribute or reproduce the work or transfer or license such rights to others.
Works made for hire are considered to be authored by the employer. For collective works or works that contain several independent tasks, authors of each independent work hold a copyright for each contribution.
Mere ownership of a book, painting or other item does not give the possessor copyright to it.
Additionally minors can claim copyrights, but state laws regulate the business dealings concerning copyrights owned by those under the age of 18. For specific issues regarding copyright ownership, consult an intellectual property lawyer.