An author is anyone who contributes original expression in a work.
Initial copyright ownership vests with authors or their employers.
Identify Copyrightable Components
A first step in determining ownership of a work involves identifying
the copyrightable components in a work and the authors for each
of those contributions.
Authors for copyright purposes are only those individuals who create
the copyrightable expression. Authors in a web page or other multimedia
project are the individuals who wrote the text, took the photographs,
created the artwork, or wrote or performed the music. In a work
such as a web page, you may have many copyrightable elements and
Creative contributions such as defining the scope of a program's
functional attributes or underlying concepts, while important, are
not works of authorship.
Example: People who are not defined as authors in Copyright law
More Than One Author
When many people contribute to a work, special issues arise. The
work may be a joint work, in which case all joint authors would
jointly own the work. The work may be a compilation or derivative
work where existing works are combined in new ways or modified to
form a new work, in which case ownership may need to be clarified
through licenses or agreements.
Whether a work is a joint work, a compilation, or a derivative work is often
determined by the intentions and expectations of those involved.